Members and Friends of the Saint Paul Audubon Society,
It has recently come to light that we might lose to development, two county-owned properties near Battle Creek Park. One of the properties, 77 acres in size, is directly adjacent to the park. The properties have great environmental value, especially for grassland birds. Please take action ASAP.
Julian Sellers, Conservation Committee Member Saint Paul Audubon Society
The city of Maplewood has initiated plans to develop the two large parcels of land in the southeastern part of the county shown in this map as Site A and Site B (Maplewood’s terminology).
Site A is 77 acres bounded by Battle Creek Regional Park (on two sides), and by Century Avenue, and by the correctional facility on Lower Afton Road;
Site B is The Ponds At Battle Creek golf course, 88 acres, bounded by Lower Afton Road on the north and Century Avenue on the east. The county has decided to cease operations of the golf course at the end of 2020.
Both properties are still owned by Ramsey County, but the existence of Maplewood’s planning process suggests that the city expects them to be sold soon. You can track Maplewood’s planning process at https://maplewoodmn.gov/Ponds .
Both properties provide wildlife habitat, water infiltration, climate regulation, and opportunities for passive recreation and nature study.
The 77-acre tract is especially valuable as grassland habitat for birds. It has been farmed in the past, but the portion that is visible from Battle Creek Park has remained undisturbed for the last decade or so. It harbors bird species that are in steep decline in Minnesota and North America. An oak woodland in Battle Creek Regional Park extends into part of the tract.
As it happens, this issue has come to light near the end of the 30-day comment period for the new master plan for Battle Creek Regional Park. That comment period ends on November 30. Therefore, Please send comments by November 30 (but send comments even if that date has passed.
Here are some of the bird species documented in the grassland tract (Site A) during the 2019 and 2020 nesting seasons. The percentage by which those species have declined in Minnesota since 1967 is documented by the USGS Breeding Bird Survey.[i]