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Published on Jul 19, 2013
As part of a long-term prairie reconstruction effort at Pilot Knob Hill in Mendota Heights, Great River Greening introduced horses and ponies for conservation grazing on a warm, sunny morning in July.
Conservation grazing is a restoration technique that introduces grazing livestock to feed on nonnative grasses as a means to increase the biodiversity of the native landscape.
In addition to conservation grazing, other efforts, including prescribed burning, mowing, and removal of buckthorn and sumac invasive species, have been implemented throughout the year. This combination of conservation efforts is carefully planned for native species to thrive and nonnative species to be eliminated from the area.
The city of Mendota Heights is funding this event through a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
About Pilot Knob
Pilot Knob is a sacred, spiritual site and burial ground for the Dakota people, known to them as Oheyawahi, "the hill much visited." It is also the signature site of the Treaty of 1851, where millions of acres of Dakota land were ceded to the United States. And, it is a historic navigational marker. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota has identified Pilot Knob as one of Minnesota's 10 most endangered historic places.
Located on a high, prominent hill on the east bank of the Minnesota River near where it meets the Mississippi River, Pilot Knob provides sweeping views of both, as well as Fort Snelling State Park, and downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. It attracts numerous uncommon and rare bird species and provides critical habitat for native grassland wildlife that includes eagles, migrating raptors and songbirds, long-eared owls, wild turkeys, and whitetail deer.
Prairie Restoration and Community Stewardship
Much of the rich biodiversity at Pilot Knob is due to a 10-year prairie restoration project Great River Greening began in 2007, under contract with the City of Mendota Heights, with a goal to bring back the native prairie and savanna habitats that were present in the mid-1800s, before the land was settled by Europeans. A great deal of the work has involved volunteers, an integral component in Greening's mission to secure the legacy of Minnesota lands and waters through community-based restoration, stewardship, and partnership.
About Great River Greening
Restoring the Land, Renewing Communities. Since 1995, Great River Greening has worked to secure the legacy of Minnesota land and water through community restoration, stewardship and partnerships. We have ecological expertise in natural resource and water quality management, and in community building. We work in collaboration at a grassroots level so partners, landowners and volunteers feel connected to an area, understand the power of working together, and are protective of the legacy that we pass on to future generations. www.greatrivergreening.org