Natural Areas Management

The city aims to prepare and execute restoration and management plans for its unique natural areas, especially for forested areas and prairies. The main purpose of a restoration and management plan is to provide alternative management prescriptions based on an assessment of the site that takes into account current and historical vegetation, habitat classification, topography, hydrology, wildlife, and public uses. The plan will identify specific operations, a maintenance schedule, and resources for completion of a management prescription. It will also set forth long range goals for the management and maintenance of the site.

Prairies / Savannas


Every year a few select public prairies and grasslands undergo prescribed burning to increase plant diversity, control invading woody plants, release nutrients into the soil, and improve space and light conditions for native plants.

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    Gorman Wayside forest mowing

Forested Areas


Nobel Woods


In 2005, staff prepared the Nobel Woods Forestry Management Plan. As a part of the implementation of this plan, volunteer Jeremy Hecht has been removing garlic mustard, buckthorn, box elder, black locust, and other invasive plants in an effort to restore the oak-hickory forest. This will be his fifth year doing restoration at Nobel Woods and he needs your help!  For more information check out the Nobel Woods Work Day information.

McGaw Park


The Friends of McGaw Park have helped to maintain the woods by removing honeysuckle and other invasive species along trails. At a visioning session for the park, citizens recommended additional management of the forest. Staff will be creating a forest management plan with the input of the public.

Oak Savanna


Gorman Wayside


In 2010, this area underwent forest mowing to remove invasive weeds and undesirable woody plants in an effort to restore the oak savanna.