Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Ecological Systems Plan

Community Advisory Committee applications sought by June 9

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) are preparing the first-ever Ecological System Plan. This plan will set a vision for making parks and public lands more friendly to the environment.

The MPRB is currently accepting applications from the general public to serve on the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the project. The 17- to 19-member CAC will include appointments from MPRB Commissioners, the MWMO Board, and other elected officials. Download an application from the project website at http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=1484

Urbanization can be a problem for natural systems. Increased pavement, vehicle traffic, higher urban temperatures, and general use can negatively impact urban waterways, green spaces, and the air. Cities, however, can help solve many of the problems they create—if managed properly.

The Ecological System Plan will seek to first understand the ecology of the city and watershed, then plan for parks and public lands management and improvements that benefit both humans and nature. It will address specific threats such as climate change, decreasing water quality, explosion of invasive species, increasing runoff, and fragmentation of habitat. It will envision a more environmentally sound way of managing the impacts of the city, so that the city can be cleaner, greener, cooler, and more efficient.

Specifically, the ecological system plan will:

•Compile, create, and illustrate city-wide ecological data;

•Craft a vision for natural resources and public lands within the watershed and city;

•Outline guiding principles for management; and

•Challenge the community to rethink the city around them—from the local neighborhood park to the Grand Rounds to backyards—in terms of ecological function, benefit, and health.

In addition to applying to become a CAC member, the public may provide input and stay informed about the project in the following ways:

• Attend CAC meetings; each meeting offers a brief public comment period at the end of the meeting. Dates for CAC meetings are not yet finalized. Subscribe at the project website to keep up to date.

• Attend any of the planned community events that will take place in the parks over the next year and a half. More details will be made available on the project website as these events are scheduled and planned.

•Sign up to receive e-mail updates by subscribing on the project website or at www.minneapolisparks.org/subscribe or, if you are already a subscriber, by adding “Ecological System Plan” to your subscription preferences.

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