Barr worked with the City of Bloomington to create a Parks Natural Areas Management Plan to prioritize areas of restoration and management, as well as to establish restoration strategies within top ranked parks.
Bloomington is fortunate to have an extensive park system with significant natural areas. In the past, natural areas received little maintenance. Now, external forces such as invasive species, heavy use by people, and climate change have prompted the City of Bloomington to create a long-term strategy for restoration of these precious park resources.
Barr created a detailed matrix to prioritize natural communities for restoration and management. The matrix accounted for ecological attributes for prioritization such as the ecological quality of natural areas, size of natural areas, if the area is located within a MN DNR conservation corridor, and presence of rare natural features. The matrix also included prioritization based on social attributes such as if the park is located within a vulnerable population area, public access and use, and volunteer participation. Ranking in this matrix prioritized ecological and social values of park spaces—a higher ranking correlated to areas of highest importance. As part of this project, Barr also developed restoration plans for the top nine priority parks.
With a clear path forward, the City of Bloomington was able to leverage this plan to receive increased budget from City Council and to back grant applications to support park natural areas.