Members in Action: Paul Bockenstedt
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Posted by: Laura Capponi
Since 2000, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the City of Roseville, Minnesota on park and natural area inventories, Natural Resources Management Plans (NRMPs) for City-owned parks as well as implementation of on-the-ground restoration projects within Roseville. The natural resources work really took off during a confluence of City staff, elected officials, and public enthusiasm, resulting in a multi-million-dollar Park Renewal Program that included natural resources restoration. In 2014, my team and I were selected to implement the $1.5 million natural resources restoration component of the Park Renewal Program. This involves restoration of quality remnant areas, reconstruction of natural areas, and interpretive signage.
The NRMPs focused on natural areas within the City’s five key destination park/open space sites. Stantec subsequently inventoried all parks (built/open space) and developed a comprehensive evaluation of where system-wide restoration, enhancement, lake restoration, alternative stormwater treatment, and environmental education could occur throughout the park system. We then used the data from our evaluation to craft a set of management priorities and cost estimates for restoration projects.
Getting the money to make these projects a reality can be challenging for a municipality. I really enjoy working with our clients to help identify and secure funding so they can see their vision come to life. The kind of work we do as environmental professionals leaves a legacy to be enjoyed for many generations to come. It’s important we do everything we can to help make these projects happen. To-date, I’ve written more than $645,000 in successful grants to help fund the City’s restoration projects.
My favorite part about this long-term partnership with the City is all the passionate and enthusiastic community members I’ve met along the way. When the program kicked off, we helped the City build a Volunteer Stewardship Network for natural resources management within the park system. The program includes citizen-scientist wildlife monitoring, monthly volunteer events, and educational opportunities. It’s been very gratifying to see volunteers go from learning new activities for the first time to leading volunteer groups and teaching others about restoration and monitoring techniques.
What’s also cool is the collaboration that’s occurred with universities. Teaming with academia, we conduct wildlife monitoring in the parks and partner on research initiatives to analyze various restoration techniques. It’s been incredibly rewarding to work with University of Minnesota researchers on innovative invasive brush management and woodland restoration methods.
It’s exciting to help Roseville and other communities that I work for realize the full potential of their open spaces as amenities for residents and to sustain quality natural areas and wildlife habitat. Working with dedicated City staff and enthusiastic volunteers as well as seeing on-the-ground habitat improvements motivates me to continually help take these efforts to the next level.