Oak Savanna Park
Oak Savannas are one of the rarest plant communities in the world. Any effort made to restore or enhance these endangered ecosystems is highly critical. Fortunately, there are significant efforts to restore oak savannas right here in central Minnesota.
Recently, Natural Resource Services had the opportunity to partner with Sherburne Count Parks on a substantial project in Oak Savanna Park near Becker, MN. After collaborating with the county on the optimal restoration strategy, work began in earnest in January of 2020.
The primary goal of the project was to thin out all non bur oak and white oak trees, leaving behind a more balanced plant community. Red cedar and invasive species such as buckthorn and honeysuckle were the main targets of removal. NRS partnered with Mike’s Tree Service who utilized a forestry feller-buncher to remove the larger trees. Chainsaws and brushsaws were used to cut unwanted invasive species in close proximity to the desirable trees. All removal work occurred on frozen ground in order to minimize any disturbance to the soil. The project area encompassed approximately 100 acres and the work took approximately 8 weeks to complete.
As a part of the overall project, NRS crews will continue to control re-emerging invasive species such as buckthorn and will conduct prescribed burns in the park and at the nearby Sherburne County History Center.
Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the Outdoor Heritage Fund.