Ecological Restoration Training

Ecological Restoration header image - green field, trees and cloudy sky

The Ecological Restoration Training Cooperative (ERTC) provides training opportunities for professionals and community members who would like to advance their restoration skills and knowledge. Training opportunities include online courses, a certificate program, webinars, and a virtual library of restoration resources. Learn site assessment, native seeding, ecological monitoring, vegetation management and restoration design best practices in the online courses offered through ERTC. The purpose of the training cooperative is to share the best available knowledge from research and practice to support restoration across the Upper Midwest. Whether a citizen embarking on a first restoration project or a seasoned practitioner, ERTC has ideas, resources, and opportunities for you.

Sponsored by

College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences 

College of Continuing and Professional Studies

 

 

 

 

Certificate in Ecological Restoration

The Ecological Restoration certificate is a 150-hour program comprising five required courses, The certificate is designed to provide early career professionals with the skills necessary to undertake the most common kinds of Midwestern restorations, including revegetation of prairies, wetlands, lakeshores, forests, and savannas.

These courses were developed in partnership with staff from several Minnesota state agencies who identified a critical need to train more restoration professionals to meet the growing demand for these skills. These courses provide practical skills and knowledge to succeed at restoration.

*Returning This Year 

The Wetland Delineator Certification Program has awarded 6 Direct Continuing Education Hours for each completed course.

This required introductory course will simulate the initial steps of planning a restoration project, from gathering background information to collecting relevant data, then using the information gathered to formulate restoration goals. This course is a prerequisite to each of the other four courses. The registration fee is $375.

Course Dates

August 21−September 24, 2017
January 2−February 4, 2018

    This Course Covers How To:

    • Gather and analyze data needed for assessing the ecological conditions of degraded sites
    • Diagnose the restoration needs of a site prior to restoration
    • Plan meaningful project goals

    What Is a Site Assessment?

    Site assessments range from basic rapid assessments of the restoration site to complex quantitative and comprehensive evaluations, yet all assessments have several components in common. This course is organized to introduce you to these assessment components, which are critical to successful site assessment and clear goal setting. Components of a site assessment that will be discussed include topography, soil, land use, hydrology, vegetation and biodiversity, and setting restoration goals.

    Many ecological restoration projects rely on revegetation from seed. This course discusses successful steps for designing and implementing a seed mix, from choosing appropriate species to preparing the planting site. This course will cover important steps such as assessing the need to seed, seed biology, designing seed mixes, acquiring and storing seeds, preparing to seed, seeding, and post-seeding management. The registration fee is $375.

    Course Dates

    September 25−November 5, 2017
    February 5−March 18, 2018

    This Course Covers How To:

    • Evaluate whether there are seed sources on site or in the landscape that could contribute to revegetation
    • Design seed mixes so restored vegetation supports ecosystem functions and project goals
    • Obtain adequate supplies of seed and how to handle this seed so it maintains its viability
    • Prepare a site to be sowed
    • Install native seed
    • Manage sites following sowing to promote native seed establishment

    Textbook Required

    The Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Prairie Restoration in the Upper Midwest (2010)
    Daryl Smith, Dave Williams, Greg Houseal, Kirk Henderson

    ISBN-13: 978-1-58729-916-2

    Purchase

    University of Iowa Press (paperback copy or eBook)

    Amazon 

    Ecological restorations of small sites often rely on installing young plants to create the desired natural vegetation. Even large sites, which are typically seeded, may be supplemented with plantings. This course discusses successful steps for designing, installing, and managing a native species planting project. This course acts as a guide to making sound decisions for each of these critical steps. This course will cover important steps including deciding to plant, selecting species, choosing planting stock, creating a planting plan, preparing to plant, planting, and post-planting management. The registration fee is $375.

    Course Dates

    November 6−December 17, 2017
    March 19−April 29, 2018

    This Course Covers How To:

    • Evaluate whether there are sources of plants on the site or in the landscape that could contribute to revegetation
    • Determine which species will be best suited for a restoration planting
    • Select and acquire the optimal kinds of planting stock for site conditions and project goals
    • Develop a planting plan
    • Prepare a site to be planted
    • Install large numbers of plants on a site as part of planned events
    • Manage sites following planting to promote vegetation establishment

    Monitoring is necessary for evaluating the effectiveness of restoration actions. Monitoring is systematically collecting data to determine whether a site is responding in a positive way to the restoration actions. For every restoration project, there are many more things that could be monitored than there are time and resources, so this course considers how to design an efficient and effective monitoring program that yields information helpful for ongoing restoration management decisions and problem solving. This course will focus on how to develop project-specific monitoring protocols that take into account site and landscape conditions, restoration goals, and selected methods. The registration fee is $375.

    Course Dates

    September 25−November 5, 2017
    February 5−March 18, 2018

     

    This Course Covers How To

    • Select parameters for monitoring

    • Develop monitoring protocols
    • Implement monitoring protocols and quality control procedures
    • Effectively summarize data in graphs and tables
    • Analyze monitoring data to make practical decisions
    • Create and maintain records needed for ongoing restoration decision making.

    Restored and degraded ecosystems may take many years to recover. During that time, they need ongoing management because most restorations receive continuous pressure from invasive species; additionally, natural disturbance events like fire, floods, or bison grazing no longer happen as they once did.

    Techniques used in two broad categories of management strategies, reestablishing natural disturbances and controlling invasive species, are presented in this course. These management strategies are useful for managing the vegetation in restored ecosystems after initial establishment and in ecosystems that can be restored solely by implementing management practices, e.g., restoring natural communities that do not require planting or seeding. The registration fee is $375.

    Course Dates

    November 6−December 17, 2017
    March 19−April 29, 2018

    This Course Covers How To:

    • Determine the kinds of natural disturbances that may need to be reestablished on a site and the invasive species that may require management
    • Use nonchemical management techniques to control invasive species and promote a self-regenerating native plant community
    • Use chemical management (herbicides) to control invasive species in natural and restored ecosystems
    • Develop strategies for sites with many vegetation challenges that require the use of multiple methods.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Who Should Enroll In These Courses?

    These courses are targeted at early career professionals. This course does not assume a technical background in any particular field and there are no prerequisites for the course; however, this course does require basic computer and internet skills (such as word processing, browsing the web, uploading and downloading files).

    What is the course format?

    To get an idea of the what to expect in the courses, watch this short video.

    Time Commitment

    It takes most students about 30 hours, including reviewing resource materials and completing assignments. All requirements must be completed by the last day of the registration period to receive continuing education credit.

    Course Deadlines

    The courses include recommended deadlines for submitting assignments. If you submit your assignments by the recommended deadline, you’ll know which questions you didn’t answer correctly in time to try again.

    Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

    Participants who successfully complete each course will receive 3.0 CEUs and a Certificate of Completion.

    One CEU is defined as 10 contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education program. A CEU certificate will be sent to each participant after the conference. A permanent record of CEUs earned will be maintained by the University of Minnesota.

    How to Access Your Course

    Browser Configuration

    Moodle recommends using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome as your browser, as some features will not work properly in other browsers.

    Log In to the Online Course

    1. Visit moodle.umn.edu.
    2. In the upper-right-hand corner, click "Login" and login with your internet ID (use the email address and password that you set up to register for the course online).
    3. Your course will appear in the body of the page. Click the course name to enter the modules.

    Restoration Resources

    Ecological Restoration Training Center Webinars

    Learning by Doing: Why Restoration Records Matter

    View the recorded webinar

    Maintaining project records is essential for keeping long-term restorations on track. In this webinar, Mark and Karen will discuss the importance of reviewing records of past management actions and inputs in order to guide ongoing decision making and ensure that restorations achieve the desired outcomes despite staff turnover and other challenges of long-term restoration.

    Presenters: 
    Karen Schik, Senior Ecologist, Friends of the Mississippi River
    Mark Cleveland, Natural Resource Program Coordinator, DNR SNA Program
    Susan Galatowitsch, University of Minnesota
    Moderator: Julia Bohnen, University of Minnesota

    Presented on Tuesday March 29, 2016

    Planning to Avoid Pitfalls: The Key to Restoration Success

    View the recorded webinar

    No manager wants to lose a restoration project to planting failure or adverse conditions. Join our panel as they discuss how project planning can minimize restoration risk. In this webinar, we will explore how stating specific restoration outcomes, factoring in contingencies, and selecting the management actions best suited to achieving desired outcomes can help managers avoid pitfalls that can hinder restoration success.

    Presenters:
    Wiley Buck, Program Manager, Great River Greening
    Dan Shaw, Senior Ecologist/Vegetation Specialist, Board of Water and Soil Resources
    Susan Galatowitsch, University of Minnesota
    Moderator: Julia Bohnen, University of Minnesota

    Presented Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    Biocontrol for Ecological Restoration in Minnesota: Looking Back and Looking Forward

    View the recorded presentation

    Biocontrol has proven to be an effective tool for the control of some invasive species in Minnesota. This webinar will look back to review some of the successful biocontrol agents that have been developed and deployed for ecological restoration. Looking forward, the webinar speakers will discuss the use of existing, approved biocontrol agents and the development of new agents.

    Presenters

    Laura Van Riper, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
    Monika Chandler, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
    Moderator: Susan Galatowitsch, University of Minnesota 

    Resource from the Webinar

    Biological Control of Invasive Plants in Minnesota

    Presented on Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    Interseeding Prairies to Enhance Diversity

    Due to technical difficulties, the webinar was not recorded. You may view and print the PDF of the presentation. Please know that we are researching new software applications for our next webinar.

      Interseeding to enhance native diversity in degraded, restored, and exotic-dominated prairies is an important but poorly understood technique, often yielding variable and unclear outcomes. This webinar will address situations for which interseeding may be appropriate; outline effective strategies for site preparation, seeding, and management specific to interseeding; and explore ways of assessing interseeding results. This webinar is designed to stimulate discussion and knowledge-sharing among practitioners, ultimately resulting in a better understanding of the factors that most strongly influence interseeding outcomes.

      Presenters

      Paul Bockenstedt, Stantec
      Dave Williams, Tallgrass Prairie Center – University of Northern Iowa 
      Moderator: Laura Phillips-Mao, University of Minnesota 

      Handouts for the webinar

      Presented on Thursday, February 21, 2013

      Selecting Seed Sources to “Future-Proof” Restored Plant Communities

      View the recorded session

      Selecting seed sources for restoration projects, so plant communities are well-suited to both current and future conditions, often seems uncertain or even arbitrary. This webinar will explain factors that give rise to plant genetic variation across landscapes, introduce Minnesota DNR’s draft seed zone maps and guidelines, and provide an interactive format to help answer project-specific questions.

      Presenters

      Ruth Shaw, University of Minnesota
      Jason Garms, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
      Moderator: Susan Galatowitsch, University of Minnesota

      Presented Thursday, November 29, 2012

      Ten Things to Know About Planting Wet Areas

      View the recorded session

      Wet areas such as wetlands, shorelines, and stormwater projects are prone to environmental forces that can make them challenging to restore. This webinar will address key considerations for restoring these areas and provide an interactive format to help answer project specific questions.

      Presenters

      Dan Shaw, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
      Greg Berg, Shoreland Specialist, Stearns Soil and Water Conservation District
      Moderator: Susan Galatowitsch, University of Minnesota

      Presented on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

      Building Better Native Seed Mixes

      View the recorded session

      Learn how to make the State of Minnesota’s new seed mix system work for you!

        Presenters

        Peter MacDonagh, Kestrel Design Group
        Susan Galatowitsch, University of Minnesota
        Moderator: Ken Graeve, Minnesota Department of Transportation

        Resources from the Webinar:

        Presented on Tuesday, November 15, 2011

        Virtual Library

        Field Guide to Wetland & Buffer Plant Seedlings, Bockenstedt, P., Bonestroo, St. Paul, MN. 

        Going Native: A Prairie Restoration Handbook for Minnesota Landowners, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN, 2000. 

        Handbook for Collecting Vegetation Plot Data in Minnesota: The Relevé Method, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 2013.

        Managing and Restoring Riparian Environments, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN.

        Managing and Restoring Woodland and Forest Communities, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN.

        Managing, Restoring, and Re-establishing Prairie and Savanna Communities, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN.

        Measuring & Monitoring Plant Populations, Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby, US Dept. of the Interior, BLM. Denver, CO, 1998.

        Minnesota Wetland Restoration Guide, Vegetation Establishment Section, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, St. Paul, MN.

        Mn/DOT Seeding Manual, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Environmental Services, Erosion Control Engineering Unit, St. Paul, MN, 2014.

        State of Minnesota 2016 Wetland Plant List, United States Army Corp of Engineers, National Wetland Plant List, 2016.

        Native Seed Mix Design for Roadsides, MacDonagh, P. and N. Hallyn, Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul, MN, 2010.

        Native Vegetation Establishment and Enhancement Guidelines, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, St. Paul, MN, 2016.

        Prairie Seedling and Seeding Evaluation Guide, Bockenstedt, P., Bonestroo, St. Paul, MN.

        Prairie Moon Nursery 2016 Catalog and Cultural Guide, Prairie Moon Nursery, Winona, MN.

        Restoration and Management of Declining Habitats - Tallgrass Prairie (643), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of Minnesota, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC., 2005.

        Species Lists for Terrestrial and Palustrine Native Plant Communities in East-Central Minnesota, Dunevitz-Texler, H. and C. Lane, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and Great River Greening, St. Paul, MN, 2007.

        Central Region Seedling ID Guide for Native Prairie Plants, USDA-NRCS, 2005.

        Field Guide to the Native Plant Communities of Minnesota: The Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN, 2005.

        Field Guide to the Native Plant Communities of Minnesota: The Laurentian Mixed Forest Province, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN, 2003.

        Field Guide to the Native Plant Communities of Minnesota: The Prairie Parkland and Tallgrass Aspen Parklands Provinces, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN, 2005.

        Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges: An Introduction to the Genus Carex (Cyperaceae), Hipp, A. L., The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, 2008.

        Flora of the Great Plains, Barkley, T. (Ed.), University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1986.

        Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality, Henderson, C.L., C.J. Dindorf and F.J. Rozumalski, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN, 1998.

        Michigan Flora: Part 1 Gymnosperms and Monocots, Voss, E.G., Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1972.

        Michigan Flora: Part 2 Dicots, Voss, E.G., Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1985.

        Michigan Flora: Part 3 Dicots Concluded, Voss, E.G., Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1996.

        Minnesota Flora: An Illustrated Guide to Vascular Plants of Minnesota. Chadde, S.W., A Bogman Guide, 2013.

        Minnesota Invasive Non-native Terrestrial Plants: An Identification Guide for Resource Managers, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Trails & Waterways, St. Paul, MN, 2002.

        Minnesota's Saint Croix River Valley and the Anoka Sandplain: A Guide to Native Habitats, Wovcha, D.S., B.C. Delaney and G.E. Nordquist, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 1995.

        Northland Wildflowers: the Comprehensive Guide to the Minnesota Region, Moyle, J.B., University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2001.

        Plants for Stormwater Design: Species Selection for the Upper Midwest, Shaw, D and R. Schmidt, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St. Paul, MN, 2003.

        Restoring the Tallgrass Prairie: An Illustrated Manual for Iowa and the Upper Midwest, Shirley, S., Bur Oak Book, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, IA, 1994.

        Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Prairie Restoration, in the Upper Midwest (The), Smith, D., D. Williams, G. Houseal, and K. Henderson, Tallgrass Prairie Center, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, IA, 2010.

        Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Seed and Seedling Identification (The), Williams, D. and B. Butler, Tallgrass Prairie Center, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, IA, 2010.

        Tallgrass Restoration Handbook for Prairies, Savannas, and Woodlands (The), Packard, S. and C. Mutel, Island Press, Covelo, CA, 1997.

        Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota: The Complete Guide to Species Identification, Smith, W.R., University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2008.

        Vascular Plants of Minnesota: A Checklist and Atlas, Ownbey, G.B. and T. Morley, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 1991.

        Vegetation of Wisconsin: An Ordination of Plant Communities, Curtis, J.T., University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, 1959.

        Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin, Eggers, S.D. and D.M. Reed, US Army Corps of Engineers, Saint Paul District, St. Paul, MN, 1987.

        Funders and Partners

        Funded by

        Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

        The Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the citizens of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.

        Project Partners

        Contact Us

        For Questions About Registration: 
        Zack McGough or Katherine Hagberg

        College of Continuing and Professional Studies, University of Minnesota
        612-624-4230ccapsconf3@umn.edu

        For Questions About the Program and Courses: Susan Galatowitsch
        Ecological Restoration Training Cooperative Project Manager
        College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota
        612-624-3242galat001@umn.edu