Lake Nokomis Shoreline Habitat Enhancements
MPRB requests $444,000 to improve aquatic habitat in Lake Nokomis through integrated lake management. This project will enhance 4580 linear feet of shoreline.
In 2015 the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) developed a new Master Plan for Lake Nokomis and
Lake Hiawatha area. This process took many months and was led by a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and
included several community meetings and public open house meetings to solicit feedback from the community.
The purpose was to provide a community driven vision for new long-term improvements to park facilities,
recreation, landscape, trails, and shorelines. The Master Plan studied the existing conditions of the park, assessed
community needs in relation to park use, and proposed specific improvement projects. One of the visions
established as part of the Master Plan was to create more naturalized areas around Lake Nokomis, converting turf
areas to native landscapes. Native landscapes will help stabilize segments of the shoreline, improve water quality,
and enhance native habitat.
Park Board staff engaged the community again during the design and planning process for the shoreline
restoration project. MPRB believes this helps develop a strong community understanding of the project need and
importance, lifts up community knowledge of the area, and allows projects to be successful. MPRB staff and their
team of consultants worked with stakeholder groups during the schematic design phase in an effort to develop a
successful plan. Two community open house meetings were held for the community to better understand the
reasoning for these improvements and to hear what impacts the proposed improvements would have on Lake
Nokomis and the surrounding character of the area. The open house events engaged the community in a respectful
manner, allowing the public to voice their opinions. In addition an online survey was conducted to solicit feedback
from those who could not attend either meeting.
The actual implementation of the project included three basic phases: site preparation, construction, and
maintenance. Contractors began by installing sediment control devices at the lake edge, tree protection measures
around trees to remain in the restoration area, and pedestrian control devices to ensure safe recreation in the
vicinity during construction. Many trees were trimmed to ensure good sunlight penetration, and many invasive
trees were removed. Segments of degraded bituminous pathway were also removed, to limit some pedestrian lake
access. The last element of site preparation involved the application of EPA-approved herbicides by certified
applicators to eliminate turfgrass and ground -level invasives.
Construction activities primarily involved grading, rock placement, and planting. In placed the ground was
regraded to ensure a more gradual slope from upland to submerged planting areas. Boulder riprap was installed in
certain areas along the shoreline where wave action could to the most damage to the project. Field flagging of
specific planting areas and lake access pathways (stabilized turf) guided subsequent plantings. The different zones
were planted in different ways:
-- Wetland Buffer Zone (near the shoreline): hand held seeders
-- Upland Buffer Zone (majority of project): mechanical seeding by tractor, hand installation of perennial plugs
near lake access pathways, later overseeding by both hand and mechanical means
-- Emergent Planting Zone (in water): hand placement
-- Shrubs (scattered throughout project): hand and machine planting
In all the project planted at least 49 species of native forbs, 35 species of native grasses and sedges, and 4 species of
Maintenance activities included in the construction contract and funded by OHF occurred throughout 2020 and
into the spring of 2021. Activities included the spot re-application of herbicides to control invasive weeds, hand
pulling of invasives, spot and large-scale mowing to control annual weeds and invasives, and implementation of
Integrated Pest Management plan for long term care and maintenance.
$444,000 in the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to enhance aquatic habitat on Lake Nokomis. A list of proposed enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
2 Habitat acres Enhanced.