Ann Cullen's vision for the property, detailed in the conservation easement, includes the protection of the property with a goal of preserving its key conservation values. These values are to protect the open and natural features of the property to provide important woodland, savanna, and wetland habitat, and provide opportunity for public education and passive use such as nature observation, study, and reflection.
Return of the red-headed woodpecker, a species near threatened, is a special target for the restoration efforts; Bill Cullen, son of Ann Cullen, recalls that the red-headed woodpecker was once common on the property.
"Regenerating oak savannas restores Minnetonka’s natural heritage because oak savanna was the predominant ecological community in Minnetonka prior to European settlement. Oak savannas are more resilient to over-browsing, invasive species, heat, drought, and wind, and can withstand extremes in wet and dry conditions."
2021 Natural Resources Management Plan
Invasive Plant Removal and Opening of the Tree Canopy
During the winter months and while the ground is frozen, large tree harvesting and invasive plant management equipment will be utilized to remove the undesirable plants and open up the canopy.
Prairie and Savanna Grass Seed
Next, native prairie and savanna grass seed mixes will be sown to start establishing the prairie-like vegetation.
Weed and Invasive Plant Management
After establishing native grasses and flowering plants, and allowing existing plants to respond to the increase in sunlight, contractors, during the summer, will monitor and manage any undesirable plants. This may include mowing down the vegetation and returning in autumn to herbicide any remaining invasive plants such as buckthorn regrowth.
Once dense vegetation is established that can provide enough fuel, the restoration area will be burned. Burning will help control small invasive plant seedlings and temporarily provide bare ground for sowing more seed.