Candidate for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner-At-Large

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Why a Vote for Meg is a Value-Added Vote

  • She is passionate about Parks.
  • She has proven commitment.
  • She practices public service.
  • She jumps in with both feet.
  • She finds creative solutions.
  • She is a team player.
  • She sees the big picture.
  • She listens before she acts.

It’s time for Meg Forney as your Commissioner-At-Large of our Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board!

Not a single-issue, agenda-driven advocate but one who sees tremendous opportunities, not overwhelming problems

I have steadfastly worked on civic committees and projects because I am committed to the quality of life that defines this city.

Audubon

MPRB Candidate Questionnaire

1. How would you rate the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s current efforts to preserve, protect, maintain, and enhance natural resources in the Minneapolis park system? What can the MPRB do better as a steward of our natural resources?

For an urban park system, quite good but needs greater protection. The recently formed Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Regional Park Racial Equity Matrix weighs heaviest on natural aspects to preserve and to protect. The matrix seeks to quantifiably evaluate regional parks and trails and ensure that investments are equitably targeted. The Natural Resource Asset Condition will weigh three characteristics: remnant native plant communities, tree canopy and water quality. MPRB’s priorities will be to protect those areas of highest quality before restoring new areas. Specifically the scoring will indicate presence or absence of the three characteristics. These resources and related recreation are the primary purpose of the regional park system.

The exciting aspect of the proposed matrix is the inclusion of Opportunity Facilities where there are incomplete pedestrian and bicycle connections to and between other regional parks like the Above the Falls and the Grand Rounds Missing Link. I am grateful to our staff for leading in this first ever initiative. Our staff are rock stars.

MPRB’s 2018 budget development will be set with this matrix’s lens.

2. Where do environmental concerns fit in the range of challenges facing the park system? What are your top three environmental priorities if you are elected to the MPRB?

  • MPRB shall continue to seek
  • Sustainable, renewable infrastructure installed whether new or renovated,
  • Accessibility to our natural resources for all,
  • Environmental quality of air, soil and water sustained or improved.


3. The Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park is an Important Bird Area, meaning that it’s considered very important for the conservation of bird populations. Recent projects in Wirth Park and master plans for Bde Maka Ska and Lake Harriet do not mention this status and do not provide for protecting bird habitat in these areas. As a Park Board Commissioner, what would you do to preserve and enhance bird habitat?

I am advocating for a bird-safe glass policy in conjunction with the Minneapolis Audubon Chapter. Presently, the City of Minneapolis’s only policy relevant to the bird protection is regarding any new skyways. MPRB needs to lead with a broad based policy incorporating:

  • Limiting the risk in the built environment for birds.
  • Sustaining and conserving existing site features during construction for biodiversity, viable species and richness on the site and restore the area damaged by construction to sustain water, soil and plant cover functions.
  • Reducing light pollution, improving night sky access, and reducing development impact on nocturnal environments.
  • Reducing heat islands to minimize impact to human and wildlife habitat.
  • Minimizing the development’s footprint, avoiding sites whose natural features and functions are valuable to fragile soil, water and flora/fauna.

4. Research shows that millions of birds are killed annually by building collisions in the U.S. Would you support a policy that requires bird-friendly building design in all new buildings and renovations on parkland?/

Why or why not? Yes as indicated above.

5. Do you support a transition to a pesticide-free Minneapolis Park system? Why or why not?

Yes, our integrated pest management policy has pro-actively reduced use annually. I am excited to continue the use of alternative methods like goats for invasive species control. We have 2,800 acres of the park system as natural areas, which include upland and lowland forests, woodlands, shrublands, grasslands, wetlands and lakes. In instances where non-native vegetation encroaches or crowds out native vegetation, management interventions focusing on prevention, cultural, mechanical and biological methods of control are often necessary. All parkland must as well be managed in accordance with the Minnesota Noxious Weed Law.

6. Recent research refers to a “nature deficit disorder” meaning that human beings, especially children, are spending less unstructured time outdoors, contributing to a wide range of behavioral problems. What will you do as a Park Board Commissioner to protect the remaining undeveloped natural areas that provide city residents with experiences in Nature?

I treasure my mother’s encouragement of our “unstructured” time outdoors in the woods and grieve the diminished access to natural open spaces for our growing urban youth population. Our Regional Park Racial Equity Matrix will set a course for protections of MPRB’s natural areas. MPRB’s goal to restore Hall’s Island in the Mississippi River for new habitat and restored ecological function will transform currently low habitat‐value segments of the river corridor through this island and shoreline restoration. The opportunity to reestablish this area along a major bird migration and flyway zone needs to also limit pedestrian access as a means of protecting the habitat. Attention to shoreline restoration at the Upper Harbor Terminal is equally critical in establishing a quality water habitat on, in and above the Mississippi.