Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

Resolution
2015-111

Resolution Approving the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary Management Plan 2015-2025

Information

Department:Operation ServicesSponsors:
Category:PolicyProjects: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 and responsible for the management of Minneapolis park lands;

Whereas, On September 1, 2010 the MPRB Board of Commissioners approved Resolution 2010-33 authorizing MPRB staff to work with the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis (ACM), East Harriet–Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA), and Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHINC) on a Management Plan for Roberts Bird Sanctuary;

 

Whereas, MPRB staff have written a draft Management Plan for the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary, with input from Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis (ACM), East Harriet–Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA), and Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHINC);

 

Whereas, ACM, EHFNA, and LHINC provided community input on the Management Plan through community meetings and online surveys;

 

Whereas, The MPRB held a public open house at the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary on September 12, 2013, to present the draft Management Plan and accept public comments on the plan;

 

Whereas, The MPRB posted the draft Management Plan and accepted public comments on the plan through Survey Monkey on the MPRB website;

 

Whereas, This action is supported by Vision Theme 1: Urban Forests, Natural Areas, and Waters that Endure and Captivate as articulated in the MPRB 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan; and

 

Whereas, This action is supported by Vision Theme 2: Recreation that inspires personal growth, healthy lifestyles, and a sense of community, as articulated in the MPRB 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan;

 

RESOLVED, That the Board of Commissioners approve the Thomas Sadler Roberts Management Plan 2014-2024; and

 

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

 

 

 

Body

Background

In 2010, representatives of the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis, East Harriet–Farmstead Neighborhood Association and the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council approached the MPRB with the desire to revitalize the condition of the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary (Sanctuary).  This revitalization has three key components: developing a management plan, identifying and implementing volunteer stewardship projects, and developing educational opportunities.

 

On September 1, 2010, the MPRB Board of Commissioners approved Resolution 2010-33 “authorizing staff to work with the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis (ACM), East Harriet– Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA), and Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHINC) on a Management Plan for Roberts Bird Sanctuary.” As part of the community engagement process for the Management Plan development, ACM, EHFNA and LHINC developed online and paper surveys and advertised and facilitated three community meetings held August - September 2010. 

 

During the winter of 2010-2011, a cross-functional group of MPRB staff developed a draft Management Plan.  The purpose of the draft Management Plan was to inventory the existing vegetation, soils, human impacts and developments in the Sanctuary and make recommendations on how to improve the vegetation of the Sanctuary to provide better habitat for birds and increase opportunities for bird watching and environmental education.

 

Through the draft Management Plan, MPRB staff sought to identify and document information regarding important infrastructure within the Sanctuary including: storm water pipes, fencing, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) and MPRB sanitary sewer lines and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) pumping station. 

 

MPRB staff also documented in the draft Management Plan the current wetland work-permitting process in order to work in the Sanctuary wetlands and maintain the wildlife ponds. Jurisdictional roles of agencies (MN DNR and MCWD) and the wetland permitting process are documented in the draft Management Plan.

 

The condition of the existing shelter building and trail system, which was developed in 1991 to be ADA accessible, was also noted in the draft Management Plan.  Included in the draft Management Plan is an assessment of the ADA accessible portions of the trail system that was completed by a consultant hired by the MPRB for ADA compliance studies.

 

Environmental education and volunteer opportunities are currently offered in the Sanctuary by the MPRB, ACM, Minneapolis Audubon Chapter and the Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP). They are noted in the draft Management Plan as well as potential ideas for new programming.  Developing a specific plan for programming of environmental education in the Sanctuary is not a part of the draft Management Plan. 

 

Volunteer work has been implemented by many different volunteer groups over the years and is documented in the draft Management Plan.   ACM has had a Stewardship Agreement with the MPRB since 2010.  Their work in the Sanctuary and that of other volunteer groups has focused on invasive species control projects.  Future volunteer projects are suggested in the draft Management Plan and timeframe for these activities are delineated in chart form in the Plan Appendix.

 

The 2011 draft Management Plan incorporated the MPRB staff inventories and analysis of vegetation and infrastructure along with the information gathered from the 2010 ACM community meetings and surveys.  Management goals for the Sanctuary were based on this information.

 

At the request of ACM, MPRB Environmental Management staff met with designees from ACM in October 2012 to develop a vision statement, management goals and a list of needs for the Sanctuary.

 

As part of these meetings, a vision statement was developed, outlining an overall vision for the Sanctuary as articulated here:

The Thomas Sadler Robert Bird Sanctuary is a public bird sanctuary treasured by visitors as a place of beauty and quiet in the urban environment, supporting a diversity of resident and migrating birds in a natural and undeveloped setting while providing environmental education opportunities to a broad audience.
 

The partners identified several needs to improve the condition of the Sanctuary:

1.      Repair or replace the perimeter fencing;

2.      Replace the boardwalk to include sections that are ADA compliant;

3.      Develop educational resources for the visitor’s shelter that support the vision and goals of the Sanctuary;

4.      Replace existing signage at both entrances to provide important notices to visitors;

5.      Identify and implement ways to ensure uses of lands immediately adjacent to the Sanctuary boundaries that complement and support the vision and goals of the Sanctuary;

6.      Provide a trail network consistent with the Sanctuary’s vision;

7.      Improve the ecological health of the Sanctuary’s woodland and wetland areas;

8.      Implement woodland and wetland enhancements based on feasibility and funding.

 

Three management goals were developed by the partners:

1.      Protect, preserve, and enhance the bird habitat and native plants contained within the Sanctuary for present and future generations of people and wildlife;

2.      Educate and inspire people about birds and their habitats, Minnesota native plants, and the natural world;

3.      Provide a minimal infrastructure for the Sanctuary that honors the integrity of this undeveloped natural area as a bird sanctuary and a place that connects people with nature.

The vision statement, needs and management goals were incorporated into a new 2012 draft Management Plan.  On September 12, 2013, an open house was held at the Sanctuary shelter to review the draft Management Plan. The open house was advertised to a broad audience, through GovDelivery (3,540 recipients), shared through Facebook and Twitter and emailed to a targeted list of local media, neighborhood associations and stakeholders.  Additionally, the draft Management Plan was posted for public comments through Survey Monkey on the MPRB website.

 

As directed by Resolution 2010-33, staff has worked with Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis (ACM), East Harriet–Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA), and Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHINC) on a Management Plan for Roberts Bird Sanctuary and is bringing the Management Plan forward for Board adoption.

 

 

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTIONS

 

Resolution 2010-33               Authorizing staff to work with the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis (ACM), East Harriet– Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA), and Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHINC) on a Management Plan for Roberts Bird Sanctuary

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Staff recommends that the Board of Commissioners approve the Thomas Sadler Roberts Management Plan 2014-2024.

 

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

 

Vision Theme 1:              Urban forests, natural areas, and waters that endure and captivate.

Goal:              Sound management techniques provide healthy, diverse, and sustainable natural resources.

Goal:              Residents and visitors enjoy and understand the natural environment.

 

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

Goal:              People connect through parks and recreation.

Goal:              Volunteers make a vital difference to people, parks, and the community.

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting History

Jan 7, 2015 5:40 PM  Operations & Environment Committee Committee Meeting

Chair Vreeland called upon Justin Long, Assistant Superintendent for Environmental Stewardship to present the Roberts Bird Sanctuary Management Plan to the Commissioners and respond to questions.

RESULT:ADOPTED [2 TO 1]
MOVER:John Erwin, Commissioner At Large
AYES:Scott Vreeland, Steffanie Musich
NAYS:John Erwin
ABSTAIN:Meg Forney
ABSENT:Jon Olson, Annie Young
Jan 21, 2015 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting
RESULT:ADOPTED [6 TO 1]
MOVER:Scott Vreeland, Vice President, Commissioner District 3
SECONDER:Jon Olson, Commissioner District 2
AYES:Liz Wielinski, Scott Vreeland, John Erwin, Meg Forney, Steffanie Musich, Jon Olson
NAYS:Brad Bourn
ABSENT:Anita Tabb, Annie Young