Rochester’s Natural Areas Management Planning Process Underway – Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER – A Natural Areas Management Plan is being created by the Rochester Department of Parks and Recreation.

In partnership with RES, an ecological restoration company, the goal is to facilitate effective management of Rochester’s natural areas over the coming decades.

“Rochester Parks has more than 1,500 acres of publicly accessible natural space that needs protection, enhancement and restoration,” City Forester Jeff Haberman said in a statement announcing the effort. “In 2019, the City Forestry Division began pursuing a goal of creating a Natural Areas Management Plan. The purpose of this plan would be to provide a framework for city staff on how to prioritize and effectively carry out management activities in the city’s public natural spaces.

Data from an initial survey showed:

  • 80% of natural areas were home to invasive species.
  • 13% of the points surveyed had no invasive species.
  • 14% of surveyed points or 100% of invasive species.
  • The most common invasive species were: buckthorn, honeysuckle, Amur maple and Japanese lilac.

The Rochester Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking community feedback and ideas on the future of these resources. Public engagement, combined with previous planning work, will help define the city’s vision, goals, guiding principles and priority actions for managing natural areas.
Community members are invited to a public meeting June 23, 4:30-6 p.m., at the Quarry Hill Nature Center, 701 Silver Creek Road NE.

Community members who are unable to participate can complete an online survey at tinyurl.com/yt6e3xv5.

Following community input efforts, RES will begin field assessments and begin development of the plan, which will then be reviewed by the community.

Additional public comment will be sought as the plan is developed, and a final plan will be submitted to the City Park Board and Rochester City Council for review.

Louisa R. Loomis