Roseville undertakes aggressive parks restoration program

Roseville has begun efforts to remove invasive plant species in 22 of the city’s 30 parks.
Roseville has begun efforts to remove invasive plant species in 22 of the city’s 30 parks. Acorn Park, pictured here, hosted an informational meeting last weekend about the city’s $1.5 million Natural Resources Renewal program. (Linda E. Andersen/Review)

As part of Roseville's far-reaching Parks Renewal program, the city's parks and recreation department has undertaken a project aimed at eliminating invasive plant species at the majority of municipal parks.

The $1.5 million Natural Resources Renewal program will remove non-native plants from 22 of the city's 30 parks, affecting a total of 376 acres of park land over the next three years.

The program was identified as a top priority when the city updated its master plan in 2010, parks and recreation director Lonnie Brokke said.

Several different types of land will be subject to eco-restoration efforts, including prairie/savanna, wetland and shoreline restoration and management. Interpretive signage will be installed in several areas.

Invasive plants are detrimental to the growth of native plants, as they block access to nutrients in the soil, sunlight and water. However, the project will reverse this effect, instead causing the native plants to regrow and eventually "choke out" the invasives, Brokke explained.

"It's a process. This whole thing is a planned approach system-wide over the next few years in an attempt to restore the native forests," Brokke said. "It's really a very interesting program."

The most common invasive plant to be removed is buckthorn, Brokke said, warning residents that the vegetation in the parks will likely look quite sparse after the "abundant" non-native plants are removed.

"What people seem to relate to is the buckthorn. A substantial amount of buckthorn will be removed from the parks—when this happens, there's going to be a huge aesthetic change. You see all that gone, and you say, 'Oh my gosh.' But that is the planned approach. Over the next couple years, it'll fill in with native brush."

After the buckthorn is pulled, the stump is treated so it doesn't grow back, and the majority of the removed plants are chipped on site.

Work has already begun at Langton Lake, Villa Park and Acorn Park, and could continue throughout winter, Brokke said. Periodic trail closures may be necessary as crews remove plants, but no full park closures are expected.

Additionally, the department has also applied for a couple grants to augment the scale of the program to include a few more parks or fund additional "non-core" projects—those that are not immediately necessary.

Brokke added the program will require a great deal of assistance from volunteers. For more information about volunteering, contact Kelly O'Brien, the city's volunteer coordinator at 651-792-7028 or visit

For more information about the project, visit

Johanna Holub can be reached at or 651-748-7813. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.


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