Wildflowers in the boulevard on Main Street

The city’s Urban Forestry and Naturalization Coordinator has been analyzing and improving current green infrastructure through sustainable methods with the goal of reducing the city’s environmental footprint and operational costs.

We’re starting to convert certain areas throughout the city into naturalized spaces, making them into Prairie grass ecosystems that better support pollinators and other species.

A starting example is the northmost boulevard on Main Street.
A portion of that boulevard was naturalized into a wildflowers boulevard in 2020. While it’s taking some time to become established, the results should pay off soon.

In 2022, right next to the wildflower boulevard, the city planted three different varieties of clover that will be monitored to see the viability of establishing no mow zones along the city’s medians.

Most recently, the city added another wildflower test plot south of the existing one on north Main Street and will remove the existing turf grass and plant a mix of wildflowers, clover and salt-tolerant grasses from seed. Three more projects have been cultivated in a row in Selkirk Park –  about 5,000 square feet will be used for wildflower meadow, tall grass prairie and organic sports turf test plots. The wildflower meadow will consist of two plots and will be used to determine the viability of converting underutilized turf spaces into wildflower meadows that contain a mix of short prairie grasses and wildflowers that won’t exceed three feet in height. Learn more here. 

The first trial is a mix of existing grass, white and red clover mix; the second is white and red clover and the third is a micro clover. The red and white clover are a taller variety than the micro, which looks more similar to mowed grass. Red and white clover are about four or five inches when established, while micro is about two inches.

Boulevard naturalization project sign with wildflowers in the background on North Main

Naturalized areas require far less watering, are drought tolerant, and do not require mowing – all of which is better for the environment and frees up city staff to focus on other core functions. The city currently spends approximately 300 hours per week cutting grass – naturalizing these areas would eventually drastically reduce that time.

Selkirk’s Strategic Plan calls for the city to be environmental stewards by improving city practices and services, encouraging water conservation and protecting natural features and resources. Those actions paired with others like planting drought-resistant plants all help in preparation both for future droughts and climate change. The city’s award-winning Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is being integrated into day-to-day operations and has led the city to be recognized as a leader in climate adaptation nationally.