Environmental research

An important aspect of the Three Rivers mission is to advance scientific research into various environmental issues. Here are just two examples of our commitment to responsibly manage the natural resources entrusted to us:

 

Restoration of native lake plants

xxxxx__2008.jpgThree Rivers is participating in the experimental transplantation of native aquatic vegetation in cooperation with the Minnesota DNR. Native vegetation is being harvested from lakes with no invasive species to lakes which would benefit from more native plants. Plantings recently took place in Hyland Lake and Lake Rebecca, which had been previously treated to reduce the amount of invasive curly-leaf pondweed in order to improve water quality and native plant regrowth.

To establish the most effect method of transplantation, we are testing two methods: one where the plants are tied to burlap and the other where the plants are planted individually. The species we are introducing include: flat-stem pondweed, large-leaf pondweed, water stargrass and fern-leaf pondweed. Our Water Resources team will continue to monitor the sites to determine the success of the plantings.

 

Lake turtle research

Medicine_Lake_turtles_1471989581567_5775218_ver1.0.jpgCheck out this KARE11 story on our lake turtle research! For the past two years, Three Rivers and the University of St Thomas have been following three types of lake turtles to better understand their habits: spiny softshells, painted and snappers. Among our initial findings: spiny softshell turtles are the most active, sometimes moving across the entire lake. Whereas the painted and snappers are found throughout the lake, individual turtles might only use an area the size of an average house.

Knowing these kinds of characteristics is important, because it may help determine where they nest in the early summer and lay their eggs. With changing ecologies, there isn't as much sand as there used to be, so there are concentrations of turtles nesting in certain areas, which have a good protected sand beaches.

To conduct the research, each turtle is equipped with a radio transmitter so they can be tracked. Funding for the research comes from the Minnesota Environment and the Natural Resources Trust Fund, and what we learn will be used to educate the public on such issues as how to protect nests or how homeowners can work on their shoreline to make it helpful to the wildlife in the area. Any improvements to the turtles’ habitats will help ensure healthy populations in the future. 

 

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair