Whenever possible, we incorporate habitat restoration into our greenway projects.
This work takes different forms depending upon the location and the project. One example is the 34-acre native wildflower meadow along the Dardenne Greenway: BaratHaven in St. Charles County. Formerly a sod farm, it’s now a thriving prairie and natural floodplain for Dardenne Creek that offers valuable resources to pollinators, birds and wildlife. It’s also a picturesque landscape enjoyed by the people who walk, ride or run along the greenway
Prairie in Progress Timeline
2017- Site Preparation and Planting
In 2017, we took the first steps to transform the former sod farm into a field of native flowers and grasses to benefit the local ecology. The site was cleared of sod and weeds and seeded with native warm-season grasses. Crews maintained the site to promote root growth for the native plants while preventing annual weeds from setting seeds.
2018-2019-Native wildflower seeding & maintenance
During the winter of 2018, the entire site was seeded with a mix of native wildflowers. Our team monitored the area throughout the growing season to make sure the native plants were taking root and invasive species and annual weeds were not establishing themselves across the site.
To help keep the prairie healthy and beautiful, we completed another important step in its continued growth and establishment – a prescribed burn. In February 2020, conditions were just right for the use of a controlled fire to remove dead vegetation and eliminate undesirable invasive plants. Thanks to their deep root systems, the native plants not only survived the burn but also thrived thanks to the nutrients released into the ground by the burning process. They are also getting more sunlight than before since the covering vegetation was burned off during the fire. We’ll continue to monitor and maintain the site to help keep the native plant communities in balance and invasive weeds out.