Crow-Hassan Prairie Complex Restoration and Enhancement
The Crow-Hassan Prairie Complex Restoration and Enhancement restored 246 acres of prairie, 28 acres of forest and enhanced 500 acres of prairie within a larger prairie complex totalling 1200 acres. This is the largest prairie complex in the metro area. It will provide excellent breeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl, grassland birds, and other wildlife.
The Crow-Hassan Prairie, where restoration was initiated in 1969, is the oldest, largest, and best restored grassland in the Metro region. It currently covers approximately 850 acres of prairie, fire managed woodlands, and wetlands. This project will convert an additional 246 acres of old field into prairie and tie in 28 more acres of woodlands into the burn plan. When completed the project will create a fire managed habitat complex in excess of 1200 acres, which includes over 200 acres of shallow lakes and wetlands.
The complex will provide excellent nesting habitat for waterfowl, sandhill cranes, Trumpeter Swans, grassland birds, many of which are SGCNs, as well as, numerous species of mammals and reptiles, including state T&E species. The forb diversity on the existing and proposed restorations will provide excellent habitat for native pollinators.
While the site is not open for general hunting, it does host special permit archery hunts and the adjacent Crow River provides a variety of fishing opportunities. There are also several lakes open for waterfowl hunting within 1 mile of the Crow Hassan Prairie.
The project included planting 246 acres of prairie that required site prep (burn, spray, brush removal, plowing), seeding, and maintenance spraying and mowing. We also added selected forb and grass species to 500 acres of existing prairie. The 28 acres of woodlands were brushed and burned to stimulate savanna habitat.
$370,000 in the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Three Rivers Park District to restore and enhance prairie habitat within the Crow-Hassen Park Reserve. A restoration and enhancement plan and a list of proposed land restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
A network of natural land and riparian habitats will connect corridors for wildlife and species in greatest conservation need - The core area size, # of connections to other habitats will be mapped, # of SGCN, overall plant diversity.Game lakes are significant contributors of waterfowl, due to efforts to protect uplands adjacent to game lakes - # of waterfowl broods on the 11 basins within the prairie complex will be counted.Core areas protected with highly biologically diverse wetlands and plant communities, including native prairie, Big Woods, and oak savanna - # of plant species in prairie will be counted and monitored.