The University of Michigan Grounds Department is partnering with Plant Wise to conduct a controlled burn on the NCRC 1600 site in the coming weeks and prepare the grounds for a Wildflower Seeding Project.
An initial herbicide treatment has already been applied to rid the grounds of invasive plants. This also included spot treatments in the areas that have a higher proportion of desired prairie species. The upcoming controlled burn will remove the dead thatch and helps to stimulate new growth. There will be several follow-up treatments on each successive wave of weeds that appear on site.
We will notify occupants as soon as we know that the weather will be favorable to conducting an effective burn, which is not likely to be more than one to two days ahead of the burn. Occupants may smell smoke in the buildings as a result of the controlled burn.
See map for location details.
The Environment, Health & Safety (EHS), the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS), as well as the Ann Arbor Fire Department will be notified in advance of the burn. We will conduct the burn during conditions that will minimize the direct effect and persistence of smoke.
The decision was made to plant a prairie on the 1600 site for multiple reasons. Since around 2006, pollinator populations, mostly bees, have decreased nationally. Specifically in the state of Michigan, decreasing bee population has a significant impact. Honeybee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to the country’s crops. The vast majority of cherry pollination in the state of Michigan is done by bees. We are trying to facilitate an environment that will attract pollinators. Another reason for the prairie installation is to enhance the survival ability of some of our own native plants. Thimbleweed, Common Milkweed and Butterfly weed are just a few of the over 30 species that will be planted in the prairie. We also would like to eradicate a few invasive species. Garlic Mustard is one of these targets that has begun to show up everywhere recently. It can get out of control quickly. A final factor for prairie installation is to lower turf maintenance costs. This is not the most critical factor for this installation area, but it is a concern.
Michigan Prescribed Fire Council's website: www.firecouncil.org.