How to Expand Ecological Restoration and Management in Your Park System

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Park natural resource managers share a basic challenge: how to improve the quality of natural resources with limited budget and staff. Drawing on projects in the Upper Midwest and Great Plains, we will present an approach to systemwide natural resource planning that: (1) sets realistic goals using inventory and assessment data, (2) identifies the finances needed to elevate ecological health and resilience, (3) identifies the shortfall in current capacity, (4) schedules annual expenditures that are achievable with current and potential funding, and (5) achieves related CAPRA standards. With this foundation, staff have planned, prioritized, budgeted, and communicated to leaders and constituents the ecological restoration and ongoing maintenance for a decade or more across entire park systems. A county field biologist will share why fast-growing Johnson County, Kansas, embarked on this path, the process they used, and how the plan helped secure additional funds and led to rapid implementation.

Learning Objectives
Following this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Explain the value and use of systemwide natural resource plans for park systems, including how such a plan can meet the CAPRA standard.
  2. Demonstrate the difference between park-specific natural resource restoration & management plans versus systemwide plans.
  3. Create a work plan for initiating a systemwide natural resource plan for their community.

Douglas Mensing

Senior Ecologist

Applied Ecological Services, Inc.

Matthew Garrett

Field Biologist

Johnson County Park and Recreation District

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