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Prescribed Burn at Valley Crossing Elementary Helps to Restore Native Prairie Plants and Habitats

On Tuesday, May 10, the South Washington Watershed District (SWWD) and a local business conducted a prescribed burn at Valley Crossing Elementary School. A prescribed burn is one technique used to enhance the existing prairie land along the campus. 

These controlled burns benefit the prairie by reducing weed species and clearing away thatch to offer more sunlight to existing native prairie plants. The native prairie plants offer an abundant habitat for pollinators and a wide range of other species. 

During the burns, there is a small crew of people that ignite the land and then use water hoses to contain the fire to only the areas that are meant to be burned. Weather conditions also have to meet certain criteria as well. A controlled burn can only happen if it is not raining and wind speeds are low during the time of the burn. 

SWWD coordinates controlled burns to happen in the spring or fall. Valley Crossing Elementary is one of several schools in partnership with SWWD for campus greening projects. SWWD in partnership with South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo Schools) has built several outdoor classrooms that are utilized for education about the environment, conducted restoration projects at several schools and installed paths that protect plants and wetlands while also providing access to outdoor campus areas. 

To learn more about these projects and the partnership between SWWD and SoWashCo Schools visit SWWDs website at