Environmental, corporate prairie partnership going strong

KASOTA, Minn. (AP) — Environmentalists and a mining company will be hosting an open house at the Kasota Prairie in Minnesota with the hopes of introducing more people to the nature area.
Environmentalists and Unimin management, now Covia Corporation, jostled for years over the stretch of grassland near the silica sand mining company’s Kasota plant, The Free Press reported. Their court battles in the 1980s gave way to a prairie restoration agreement and partnership that’s still going strong.
The Sept. 15 open house is a way to ensure the land’s future, said Eric Steinmetz, a member of the Save the Kasota Prairie group.
“Getting people to come out here and appreciate what we saved here is all part of saving the prairie,” he said. “Because when people take it for granted and people don’t even know it’s there, that’s when it’ll be in danger again.
The Prairie Ecology Bus Center, an environmental education nonprofit in Jackson County, introduces school children to the nature area annually. The bus will be at the September open house.
Steinmetz said his group is interested in adding and restoring more prairie land in the future. In the meantime the group will focus on maintaining and promoting the prairie with Covia.
“We have dreams we’ll get some more areas restored between here and Mankato,” Steinmetz said. “For now, we’ve been able to hold on to what we have here.”
The prairie covers approximately 300 acres (121 hectares) south of Kasota. It includes numerous native grasses and flower species.
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Information from: The Free Press, http://www.mankatofreepress.com

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