Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 10.7

GreenStep City Best Practices: Land Use
Design for Natural Resource Conservation No. 10

Adopt development ordinances or processes that protect natural systems and valued community assets.

Best Practice Action 7

Support and protect wildlife through habitat rehabilitation, preservation and recognition programs.

  • The National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat program partners with cities, neighborhoods, and communities of all kinds to become healthier, greener, and more wildlife-friendly. Communities earn community-wide certification by certifying individual properties (homes, parks, schools, businesses, and others) in their community as Certified Wildlife Habitats and by doing education and outreach in their community.
  • GreenStep worked with Audubon Minnesota to create Bird City Minnesota that counts actions cities have already taken in the GreenStep program. As of 2019 the GreenStep cities of Bemidji, Hastings, Northfield, La Crescent and St. Paul are recognized as Minnesota Bird Cities.
  • Bee City USA works to galvanize communities to sustain pollinators, in particular the more than 3,600 species of native bees in this country, by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides. 
  • The goal of the Minnesota Loon Restoration Project is to reduce mortality and increase fledgling success of loons in eight northern counties: Becker, Clearwater, Beltrami, Hubbard, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, and Aitkin. The objectives include: acquire loon habitat, install artificial nesting platforms, engage community members through the  voluntary Loon-Friendly Lake Registry Program, and monitor implementation and outcomes. 
  • Preserve the ecological functions of the corridor by including lighting considerations in the design standards. Use the International Dark-Sky Association Light Pollution Effects on Wildlife and Ecosystems guide to promote reduced/smarter outdoor lighting. See the GreenStep Dark Skies best practices for more. 
1 star Report city actions that strengthen the ecology for birds, pollinators, other wildlife and for native plants; for example, replacing a dam with a spillway/rapids to restore and enhance fish passage and habitat.
2 star Register and begin work on completing actions in the Bird City MN program, Bee City USA, or/and the Community Wildlife Habitat program.
3 star Be recognized as a Bird City Minnesota, Bee City USA, or/and a certified Wildlife Habitat.

Who's doing it

Bemidji - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
On June 11th Minnesota Audubon designated Bemidji as the state’s third Bird City. A group of local organizations led by the Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society worked with the City of Bemidji to identify conservation activities which fulfill 18 specific Bird City criteria. These include taking actions to create and protect habitat; promote use of native plant species; create and protect nesting opportunities; practice conservation planning, reduce collisions with windows; increase awareness of birds in the community; educate and engage youth audiences; and promote citizen science monitoring and research. A community needs 7 to qualify. Together, Bemidji Bird City Partners are already engaged in fifteen.

Among the activities included in Bemidji’s Bird City application was an initiative called "Birds, Bees, & Butterflies - Bemidji" (BBBB). The Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society, Bemidji Monarch Committee and several other local organizations and businesses have joined together in a campaign to promote the planting of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in our community to benefit birds and pollinators. Projects in 2017 included installing demonstration gardens featuring bird and pollinator-friendly plants (library, city park, BSU, elementary school, 2 local businesses) and highlighting them with BBBB signage; hosting a Monarch Festival; development and distribution of a BBBB educational brochure and web materials; presentations to various groups; and establishing a partnership with local nurseries and garden centers to display BBBB signs and materials and help customers find native plants available in their greenhouses.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The general goal is to create broader community awareness and pride in the value of native plants to birds, pollinators and people. In 2017 the metrics that we were tracking were # volunteer hours in these activities (850); number of demonstration gardens and landscapes installed and/or highlighted around town (8); # plants planted or sold (2500); # people engaged in BBBB events and activities (400).
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Peter Buesseler (Community volunteer) | pgbues@paulbunyan.net | 218-760-3592
Partners:
Hastings - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The City of Hastings became Minnesota's Bird City on April 23rd, 2016. The Parks and Recreation Department manages 33 sites where people can get outside and enjoy bird watching.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Megan Schlei (City Staff) | MSchlei@hastingsmn.gov | 651-480-6159
Partners:
La Crescent - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
The City of La Crescent has been a designated Bird City since 2020. This program restores, protects and improves bird habitat. It also engages the community in learning about what habitats birds thrive in.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jason Ludwigson (Contractor) | JDLudwigson@gmail.com | 5073139633
Partners:
Stillwater - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
On June 15, 2021 Stillwater became a Bird City. We will continue to promote this to drive environmental tourism. Hosted Migratory Bird Festival on May 15, 2021 at Pioneer Park in Stillwater that was attended by over 150 people.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Tim Gladhill (City Staff) | tgladhill@ci.stillwater.mn.us | 6514308821
Partners:
Crosslake - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
A resolution proclaiming International Migratory Bird Day in the City of Crosslake on May 18, 2019 was approved as the first step in becoming a Bird City on September 10, 2018. The next step, an application to Audubon Minnesota to become a Bird City member, was approved on December 12, 2018.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Martha Steele (Community volunteer) | steeles@brainerd.net | 218-765-4041
Partners:
Edina - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
In 2017, improvements to Edina's Arden Park took place. This included removing a 1938 dam then present on Minnehaha Creek, which runs through the park. This was done to improve passage for paddlers and fish (including passage during critical spawning events). Additionally, more than 500 ft. of stream was added, meandering through the park and adjoining adjacent wetlands and the floodplain. New improvements will also have the potential to treat over 100 acres of regional stormwater, improve the stream's index of biological integrity (IBI) and biota rating, contribute to a more consistent creek flow, and have the ecological benefits of improved habitat quality and space for fish, birds, and other local wildlife.

In Spring of 2021, the City of Edina joined in on Bee City USA's first annual 'No Mow May' in Edina. More than 1,000 residents participated and community response was significant. The City of Edina will continue to participate in No Mow May this following Spring, in 2023 and into the foreseeable future.

Following Election Day 2022, Edina voters approved a half-percent sales tax referendum for an overall $39.3 million investment in local parks.
Of that, $17.7 million is designated for Fred Richards Park to fund the next phases of the master plan. $1.9 million will go to the Nature Bank portion of the park featuring native vegetation restoration and establishment (native pollinator gardens), wildlife habitat structures (bee and bird housing), and more ecologically-friendly features.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Minnehaha Creek dam removal and creek restoration, native habitat construction
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Grace Hancock (City Staff) | ghancock@edinamn.gov | (952)826-1621
Partners: Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Bee City USA
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1998
Implementation details:
The Fond du Lac Band’s Resource Management Division has a number of programs whose work strengthens local ecology for birds, pollinators, native plants, and other wildlife.

One such program is Fond du Lac’s Invasive Species Department, which currently manages more than 116 acres of land to mitigate the spread of non-native species to other parts of the Reservation. Seasonally, Fond du Lac’s Invasive Species Program removes terrestrial and aquatic non-native species which are harmful to native wildlife. For example, during the warm months, the department removes mystery snails and purple loosestrife from lakes and waterways; two species which harm native waterfowl. The Invasive Species program is focused on the balance and protection of native species versus the eradication of non-local ones. Therefore, the invasive program also focuses largely on monitoring strategies as a part of its population control. Additionally, the Invasive Species Program recently implemented a pollinator corridor restoration project, where native plant seeds were planted over a previously infested site to benefit Minnesota’s pollinators.

Regional wildlife is also supported by the Fond du Lac Fisheries Department. For over 20 years, the Fisheries Department has overseen a Lake Sturgeon Restoration Project on the St. Louis River. This project involves stocking Lake Sturgeon, then monitoring this unique population as these fish grow and reproduce. In 2022, 327 sturgeon fingerlings were stocked.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Anthony Mazzini (City Staff) | anthonymazzini@fdlrez.com | 2188787112
Partners:
Hallock - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The city is replacing the existing dam with a spillway.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The spillway will restore and enhance fish passage and habitat. In addition it will reduce erosion and sedimentation and support expansion of water-based activities.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Angela Grafstrom (City staff) | agrafstrom@hallockmn.org | 218-843-2737
Partners:
Hutchinson - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2008
Implementation details:
Hutchinson reconstructed its dam into a spillway/rapids that restored and enhanced fish passage and habitat. The previous dam did not allow for activities of natural restock upstream and downstream as there was no passage, this was greatly improved by the spillway. The dam was reconstructed in 2007 and was operational by 2008.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John Paulson (City staff) | jpaulson@ci.hutchinson.mn.us | 320-234-5682
Partners:
Red Lake Nation - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2008
Implementation details:
Red Lake Nation DNR has implemented a Wolf Management Plan within the Nation's boundaries. Wolves are acknowledged as a relative and coexist with Anishinaabe.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Annie Johnson (City Staff) | annemarie.johnson@redlakenation.org | 2186793350
Partners: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources