Restoration & Stewardship

Maplewood has a long tradition of restoration and environmental stewardship. In the 1980s, naturalists at the Maplewood Nature Center, saw the need for stewardship of Jim's Prairie and the Fire Department helped them burn the prairie. In the 1990s, the city developed its system of Neighborhood Preserves and adopted a vision to restore the preserves to native plant communities. By the early 2000s, invasive species had become a key concern throughout the area and the city and homeowners spent energy and countless hours managing invasive plants such as buckthorn.

Stewardship on Public Lands

The city believes that natural landscapes in urban areas need to be managed. They are too small and too heavily impacted to function as intact ecosystems. Natural processes have been disrupted and human activities have removed fire and grazing from the landscape, altered waterways, introduced invasive plants and animals, and added pollutants.

Restoration and management are expensive so Maplewood prioritizes activities as follows:

  • Ensure that the sites with highest ecological quality do not degrade.
  • Restore and enhance other areas as funding is available, prioritized as follows:
    • Areas with diverse native plants and manageable populations of invasive species
    • Areas that are part of larger natural areas
    • Areas that are important for education or have lots of visibility
    • Other areas

Smaller restoration and management projects are covered by city operating budgets. Larger projects usually require grants and Capital Improvement Project funding. Learn about the types of restoration activities the city undertakes.

Stewardship on Private Lands

Maplewood encourages homeowners to adopt sustainable landscaping practices, and where lots are large enough to maintain part of the yard in a natural state. The city supports these efforts by providing educational programs and by offering programs such as curbside buckthorn pickup.

Our local watershed districts have cost-share programs for to help homeowners make landscape improvements that help protect water quality, such as installing rain gardens or native plantings, or restoring wetland and shoreline buffers to native plants. To learn more about those programs, click on the link below for watershed districts.

Sustainable Landscaping at Home

If you're interested in sustainable landscaping or caring for a backyard natural area, you'll want to learn about native plants and restoration methods. There are many ways to learn about these:

  • Attend a class. Maplewood Nature Center offers classes to the public. Other groups such as Blue Thumb also have programs on environmentally-friendly landscaping.
  • Join a club. Groups such as The Wild Ones and Minnesota Native Plant Society provide on-going education for their members.
  • Read books, articles, and web information. Maplewood Nature Center has a library you can browse.
  • Visit native gardens and explore natural areas. If you've never been to Maplewood Nature Center, that's a great place to start.
  • Volunteer. This is a great way to learn about sustainable gardening, natural resources management, and to develop new skills. Maplewood Nature Center offers many volunteer opportunities.