Our city is beautiful, naturally!
But wait, there’s more! What you may not realize is that the intentional prairie plantings found around Elk River contain many native species of grasses and wildflowers that help sustain many of our insect pollinator species, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. These plantings provide high biodiversity areas rich with food, shelter and nesting habitat that is required for wildlife species to survive and thrive.
If you look closely, you’ll see milkweed, blazing star, and purple prairie clover which provide food sources for monarch butterflies as well as nectar for honeybees. In late summer and fall, aster flowers provide the boost of nectar required for many of these insects to make their long journey south or to prepare for hibernation right here. In the fall and winter, the seeds from the flowers and grasses provide a protein-rich food source for small mammals and birds.
In addition to the wildlife benefits, the prairie plantings on Orono Parkway and 193rd Avenue provide stormwater benefits to the city. These green spaces help to eliminate impervious surfaces and allow rainwaters to soak into the soil. The deep roots of the prairie plants absorb much of this water-reducing runoff into our stormwater ponds and pipes which ultimately make their way to the Mississippi and Elk Rivers.
So, you could say, the beauty of Elk River is Powered by Nature and gives back to support our environment.