“Lance-leaved violet is a threatened species in Minnesota. It was designated as threatened, I believe, in the mid 1990s by state of Minnesota,” said Jason Husveth, ecologist with Critical Connections Ecological Services. He has been working with the City of Blaine for years on their natural spaces.
Just a few weeks ago, each one of these plants was carefully removed from an area in Blaine that will soon see new homes.
“We estimate that today we have salvaged approximately six to eight thousand plants.”
The plants come from developments nearby. Oakwood Ponds and Mill Pond are being built in Blaine, but before the landing grading began, the plants came out.
Jason says that developer, The Excelsior Group, helped make this happen, even though it meant more time and more cost. Working with the Anoka Conservation District, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Minnesota DNR, they were able to get the first permit of it’s kind to allow the transplanting of this plant.
“Within the Anoka Sand Plain, which is where we are working right now, it’s one of twenty-five wetland species that are listed as endangered, threatened or special concern, and all these species associate with each other- they all occur in the same habitat,” said Husveth.
Anoka County is home to many unique habitats and rare species. However, development is rapidly increasing in the county, causing fragmentation of the landscape and threatening rare plant populations. MnDNR’s Permit for the Propagation of Endangered and Threatened Plants gives more options for moving plants.
The volunteers set up at designated places throughout the sanctuary, keeping a close count on how many plants were going into each space, and replanting each violet one at a time.
“With the protection of this first population,” said Husveth, “It’s a step in the right direction of protecting biodiversity here at the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary and in the greater landscape.”