September 9, 2021. Lilac Way’s rare Rock Island park in St. Louis Park, MN is surrounded by lovely wide open green space. This open urban oasis is a habitat for many native plants and creatures, including insects, birds, deer, and wild turkeys. A favorite nature spot for residents, it may support native pollinators in decline, such as native bees (rusty patch bumblebee) and butterflies (monarch), which have been identified nearby. Scroll down to see the photo gallery.
Now it has a new lease on life.
In spring 2021, MnDOT completed an extensive maintenance project that included removal of diseased, damaged, volunteer and invasive trees and shrubs near the rock garden and in NE corner of site.
After the large equipment left, the park rebounded over a long summer. The grasses and wild flowers, bees, and butterflies are back at home.
How does the open green space about Rock Island benefit the City of St. Louis Park, MN?
- Provides habitat to native birds, insects, plants, and wildlife (both deer and turkeys have been spotted in this park)
- Enhances neighborhood livability and connectivity
- Increases community and property values
- Enhances pedestrian and bicycle access and safety
- Protects valuable surface and groundwater resources
- Adds desirable urban green space for the community
- Draws people outside and fosters social interactions
- Integrates nature into the urban environment
- Provides a revitalizing contrast to the harsh shape, color, and texture of buildings
- Stimulates the senses with simple color, sound, smell, and motions
According to the U.S. Forest Service
“Protecting and restoring wildlife habitat in our cities and suburbs is a vital component of urban sustainability and conservation efforts at a landscape scale. Urban wildlife habitat can strengthen habitat connectivity within ecological landscapes and serve as a refuge for species impacted by urbanization.
Municipal sustainability efforts, community conservation projects, and environmental stewardship at the residential level can support wildlife, improve local biodiversity, and connect our growing urban population with nature.” Source