Ecology and Habitat: Improve the ecological functions of the natural environment in the urban context through planning, regulation, and cooperation.
Although the Comprehensive Plan primarily focuses on the future of Minneapolis from a human perspective, the City must also plan for the community’s other inhabitants – plant, animal, and insect life. The city’s growth presents challenges and opportunities to protect, support, and increase biodiversity in our ecological habitats while restoring ecological functions. Conserving Minneapolis’ natural heritage makes the city more livable, resilient, and attractive – not only for people but for migrant bird and wildlife populations in our habitat corridors, for endangered bee pollinators in our parklands, and for native plant communities in our landscapes.
The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to improve the ecological functions of the natural environment in the urban context through planning, regulation, and cooperation.
- Discourage use of pesticides and herbicides and encourage organic practices to improve and maintain soil health and healthy habitat and ecosystems.
- Eliminate use of neonicotinoids, pesticides that are harmful to pollinator populations.
- Manage soil health and grow plants for healthy pollinator communities on public lands and promote such planting on private lands.
- Look at natural resource goals across disciplines and integrate them with planned recreation improvements, infrastructure improvements and development to reduce costs and maximize public benefit.
- Collaborate with watershed management organizations and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on land and water resource planning.
- Design and manage public lands for their highest environmental and ecosystem performance, including the mitigation of stormwater and groundwater impact.
- Strive for interconnected environmental corridors and riparian areas as habitat corridors and for flood protection and recreation, and create additional “steppingstone” areas for habitat.
- Manage natural areas in and around surface waters, as well as stormwater ponds and other stormwater treatment facilities, as areas supportive of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, habitat, and wildlife, and as flood storage areas.
- Encourage use of bird-safe glass and other building materials and features that protect and enhance natural ecologies where appropriate.
- Leverage partnerships with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, watershed management organizations, and other partner agencies to implement the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area Plan (See appendix) and to integrate and coordinate efforts to improve public and ecological functions in the river corridor.
- Leverage available land to develop small-scale certified wildlife habitats throughout the city.
- Explore dam removal to restore natural flow and wildlife habitat on the Mississippi River. Identify support for displaced recreational activities and strategies to offset the potential reduction in hydroelectric power production.
- Encourage bird houses, bat houses, and other structures that provide important and safe shelters for wildlife.