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Drainage Field Restoration

6/19/18 – If you’ve been up Sawbill Trail in the last few months, you may have noticed an exposed mound of dirt on the right side of the road before turning into our parking lot. This open space serves as the drainage field for our septic system. Soon, this sandy soil base will be a blooming amalgam of prairie grasses, sedge, and wild flowers, thanks to the help of Shoreview Natives, who have spent the last few days preparing and planting the area. Dan Schutte, who serves on Mark Dayton’s Pollinator Advisory Committee, personally locates and collects the seeds in Lake, St. Louis, and Cook Counties, ensuring that everything chosen and planted here is native to the region. He is particularly interested in helping pollinators like bees and butterflies who are facing habitat destruction farther south.

Some of the new species that will soon call Sawbill home include Purple Cone Flower, Tall Blazing Star, Bee Balm, Ox Eye Sunflower, and Swamp Milkweed, in addition to several other kinds of flowers and grasses. Though this type of planting is not technically considered prairie restoration due to the forested nature of the area, the different soil composition of the drainage field (sandier and more arid than the surrounding land) helps to support species that are more commonly found in Minnesota’s prairies. While it will ultimately take three years before the mound reaches full growth, Dan estimates that we will see wildflowers blooming later this fall. Keep your eyes open as you pull in; new plants and flowers await you with every visit!

– Katie