Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

Resolution
2020-189

Resolution that the Board Authorizes the Superintendent to Enter into a Cooperative Service Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services for Wildlife Damage Management Services from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023 in an Amount Not to Exceed $50,000.00

Information

Department:ForestrySponsors:
Category:Professional Services AgreementProjects:No Project

Item Discussion

 

Whereas, The mission of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is to permanently preserve, protect, maintain, improve, and enhance its natural resources, parkland, and recreational opportunities for current and future generations;

 

Whereas, The MPRB is the steward of the public urban forest in Minneapolis and is striving to increase tree canopy cover throughout the City;

 

Whereas, The MPRB has routinely dealt with the control of wildlife that causes damage or may cause damage to park assets and is a potential threat to human health and safety; 

 

Whereas, The MPRB has identified the destruction of trees by beavers and the potential of human injury from coyotes as two forms of wildlife that necessitate the need for control measures should they be needed;  

 

Whereas, The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services (APHIS WS) has statutory authority to cooperate with public agencies while conducting a program of wildlife services involving mammal and bird species that are a nuisance to human health and safety;

 

Whereas, The USDA APHIS WS has a standard Cooperative Services Agreement that they utilize to perform contractual services;

 

Whereas, A Cooperative Service Agreement has been created between the MPRB and USDA APHIS WS delineating the terms of the USDA services, and MPRB legal counsel has reviewed and approved the Agreement;

 

Whereas, The USDA APHIS WS has determined that the wildlife services provided in this Cooperative Service Agreement follow the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and any other applicable federal statutes;

 

Whereas, The MPRB has funds to cover the expenses of wildlife damage management with the USDA APHIS WS; and

 

Whereas, This resolution is supported by the Vision Themes 1, 2 and 4 of the MPRB 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan;

 

RESOLVED, That the Board of Commissioners authorizes the Superintendent to enter into a Cooperative Service Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services for Wildlife Damage Management from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.00; and

 

RESOLVED, That the President of the Board and Secretary to the Board are authorized to take all necessary actions to implement this resolution.

 

 

 

Body

BACKGROUND

 

This action authorizes the Superintendent to enter into a Cooperative Service Agreement (Attachment A & B) with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services for wildlife damage management services from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.00.

 

For years the Forestry Department has dealt with beaver damage to natural growing trees such as along the Mississippi River and near Nicollet Island Pavilion. Beavers are strict herbivores and their food habits depend on the season. In the spring and fall, their diet is about half woody vegetation and half non-woody vegetation. In the summer months the amount of non-woody vegetation increases to about 90 percent. In the winter months, woody vegetation makes up 100 percent of the diet. When consuming woody plants, beavers generally eat the bark and cambium layer of trees. This activity not only kills trees but causes trees to be structurally unstable thus posing a hazard to people and property (Attachment C). In addition, beaver dams have the potential of causing flooding in residential areas

 

During recent years, beaver activity has been very active at Sumner Field Park.  Due to their feeding habits, beavers have killed dozens of trees in the park.  This has caused neighbors to contact the Forestry Department asking that something be done to stop beavers from killing trees.  Beaver activity at Sumner Field Park has made it impossible to establish trees that will add to much needed canopy cover in the Sumner-Glenwood neighborhood. 

 

While beaver activity is an ongoing and reoccurring problem, coyotes are a potential risk to the public. Originally an inhabitant of open grasslands and prairies, coyotes have adapted to a wide range of habitats. Most notably, they occur in urban and suburban environments, including some of the largest cities in the United States.  Few mammals have shown such adaptability.  As coyotes have occupied more populated areas, they have become less wary of people. In recent years, attacks on people have been documented. Because coyotes are opportunistic predators, they prey on small animals which has included pets (Attachment D).

 

Recognizing the damage being caused by beavers and the potential risk posed by coyotes, MPRB staff explored available management choices.  As a result, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services (APHIS WS) was consulted about options for managing damage caused by wildlife.  The decision was reached to initiate a contract with the USDA APHIS WS for wildlife damage management.   

 

The USDA APHIS WS provides leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts for citizens, organizations, industries and government agencies. They work to resolve conflicts with wildlife to protect agriculture, property, natural resources and safeguard human health and safety.

 

Future wildlife damage management strategies that will be pursued will be those that USDA APHIS WS and MPRB staff believe are specifically viable for the MPRB.  This will include evaluating the most effective options available to manage wildlife that are causing damage to property or harm to people.  Management of beavers will address the loss of trees and the impact on canopy cover, reduction of hazardous trees and potential for flooding.  Management of coyotes will ensure the safety of park patrons and pets.  When necessary, physically removing wildlife will be according to the most appropriate and scientifically evaluated best management practices (BMPs).  These BMPs take into consideration animal welfare, efficiency, selectivity, practicality and safety (Attachments E & F). 

 

A Cooperative Service Agreement (Attachment A & B) has been created between the MPRB and USDA APHIS WS delineating the terms for the wildlife damage management services. MPRB legal counsel has reviewed and approved the agreement.  The MPRB has funds to cover the expenses of the wildlife management services with the USDA APHIS WS.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Staff recommend that the Board of Commissioners authorizes the Superintendent to enter into a Cooperative Service Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services for wildlife management services from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.00.

 

This action is supported by the following vision and goal statement in the MPRB 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan:

 

 

Vision Theme 1:              Urban Forests, Natural Areas and Waters that endure and captivate.

Goal                             Healthy boulevard trees connect all city residents to their park system”;

Goal                            People and the environment benefit from the expansion and protection of natural resources

Vision Theme 2:               Recreation that inspires personal growth, healthy lifestyles, and a sense of community

 

Goal:              Residents, visitors, and workers enjoy opportunities to improve health and fitness.

 

Vision Theme 4:              A safe place to play, recreate, contemplate and celebrate

 

              Goal:                            Intervention and communication reduce safety concerns

 

 

 

Meeting History

Apr 22, 2020 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting

Commissioner Bourn moved to Table Resolution 2020-189. Motion to Tabled Failed due to lack of a Second.

Resolution 2020-189 Approved on a Roll Call Vote.

RESULT:ADOPTED [8 TO 0]
MOVER:Meg Forney, Commissioner At Large
SECONDER:AK Hassan, Commissioner District 3
AYES:Jono Cowgill, LaTrisha Vetaw, Meg Forney, Londel French, Chris Meyer, Kale Severson, AK Hassan, Steffanie Musich
ABSTAIN:Brad Bourn