Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mystery of the Month - November

Look up Valley Creek Rd. at Bielenberg Dr in Woodbury in Google maps to see what we're looking at!


Things may seem a little hazy in this mystery of the month photo.

The burning question – what is happening here, and why?

Can you guess what staff member(s) were caught in this Google maps image? 

You’re getting warmer…

Recently a staff member was using an on-line map service to create directions to an event, when she noticed this interesting phenomenon: the aerial image of the Valley Creek Road Infiltration Basin was taken while our contractor was conducting a prescribed burn of the 7 acre site.

We aren’t just blowing smoke – burning is an excellent way to give a prairie patch a jump start on spring. Burning a prairie removes the thatch layer and darkens the soil. This gives warm-season prairie plants a boost early in their growth cycle. Burning has other benefits as well – reduction of weeds is a prime example. Seeds of annual weeds are often damaged or destroyed, and many biennial and perennial cool-season weeds are set back by an early toasting. Nutrients locked up in dead plant material are also released by a burn.

Burning is done in the early spring (which is when this photo was taken) or in the late fall.

The Natural Resources staff at RWMWD attempts to schedule burns every 2-3 years in our restored sites. In the growing season following a prescribed burn these prairies amply demonstrate their appreciation, producing an abundance of colorful blooms and lush grasses.

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