Spring Lake Park Reserve is a scenic 1,200-acre park overlooking the Mississippi River in Dakota County, Minnesota, characterized by steep north-facing bluffs, expansive woodlands, and river terraces that support rare ecological communities. Over time, however, impacts from agriculture and climate change have contributed to deterioration of the park’s natural landscape, including increased stress on native plants and animals, active erosion of ravines, and invasive species encroachment.
Barr assisted Dakota County in developing a natural resources management plan to help staff ecologists and park planners determine priorities for ecological protection and regeneration. These included restoring native plant communities, regenerating soil and stabilizing steep ravines, and resolving human use conflicts. We also facilitated constituent engagement, provided detailed cost estimates, and identified grant funding sources.
The natural resources management plan has been praised for its clear, direct communication and helpful graphics, which allowed the County Board and Planning Commission to understand ecological issues and opportunities. This helped them to further prioritize and fund natural resources improvement in Spring Lake Park Reserve.