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Proposed DNR Fisheries project could include native decorative perennials, rain garden

The Hubbard County Master Gardeners are hoping to landscape an area by the DNR Fisheries. The landscaping would include planting perennials, installing a rain garden and planting a shade tree. The project is contingent upon receiving funds.

The Department of Natural Resources Fisheries land near Rice Park could get some sprucing up if funding comes in.

The Hubbard County Master Gardeners would like to landscape the DNR Fisheries land in Park Rapids. Kirky Otto, a Master Gardener, is heading up the project, along with fellow master gardeners Kim Strickland, Maurice Spangler and Evelyn Lindstrom.

Others from the DNR, Park Board, Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District are also involved with the project.

They hope to address several areas in their proposed landscaping project:

• To "dress up" the powerhouse building by planting native perennials along its south side, which faces the fishing pier, rather than have weeds there.

• To install low-growing native perennials in the zone between the riprap along the river and the gravel path, with the idea of growing deep-rooted plants there which can tolerate foot traffic, and which will cut down on maintenance, rather than leaving weeds there.

• To install a rain garden to keep the gravel driveway from washing out, it that's feasible.

• To add some decorative perennials around the sign at the top of the hill.

• To plant a shade tree by the picnic table.

The master gardeners work as volunteer educators under the direction of the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

Lindy Ekola, DNR Shoreline Habitat Specialist, and Shane Foley, with SWCD are providing expertise.

"We would have to apply this year by applying for grants," Otto said. "If we can't get grants for this, it will all go away."

The Park Rapids City Council gave its blessing for the project to move forward. It was required since the city owns the land, with a permanent lease to the DNR.

This summer, the master gardeners will be making detailed plans, applying for funding and preparing the site. They will be looking for funding for the plants and possibly mulch. If funding comes in, the plants could be installed in 2011.

Sally Shearer, Extension program coordinator, said the Master Gardeners have been working on several projects in the area. A recent success was a planting seminar in March.

"People are really excited about container gardens," she said. "It makes sense to have vegetables close to the house or in the screen porch to keep the deer from eating them."

The economy has caused people to rethink the way the buy food, Shearer added.

"For the cost of a few seeds, vegetables can last throughout the summer and into the winter with canning and preserving," she said.

Shearer would like to have a class available for the public about canning and preserving later in the summer or this fall.

Another project she is pursing will encompass water quality issues and education about water. This will include drinking water, ground water, lakes - all kinds of water.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561