The Spring Lake Wetland went up in smoke during a prescribed burn on Wednesday afternoon.
The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District and Applied Ecological Services (AES) partnered up to start a controlled fire at the wetland, located at the southeast corner of County Road 12 and County Road 17, across the road from Sailer’s Greenhouse. These regular burns are part of an ongoing effort to expunge invasive species and restore local wetlands.
Maggie Karschnia of the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District said that Prior Lake and Scott County have been working together on restoring the wetland since 2014. There are still quite a few invasive species in the area, she said, that the fire will help to suppress.
“A lot of the native plants like fire, so it will encourage those native species to thrive,” she said.
This was a relatively small burn, but in larger prescribed prairie burns, flames can reach up to 50 feet.
Prescribed burns are one of the management tools that are being used at the Spring Lake Wetland to maintain the native plantings. Fire is an important aspect of vegetation management because it helps suppress non-native, undesirable plants, and is needed by many native plants that require fire for ideal growth. The prescribed burn is being used in combination with mowing, herbicide application, biological control and native planting/seeding to successfully restore the site.