Native plants and food waste part of sustainability discussion in Sioux Falls

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Native plants and grasses on lawns and composting of food waste could be in Sioux Falls’ future.

The two practices are some of the goals in the city’s proposed new sustainability plan. They were also popular topics discussed at the Oct. 21 open house on that plan.

“A lot of the comments I heard there was a desire for more native prairie landscaped lawns,” said Holly Meier, the sustainability coordinator for the city of Sioux Falls. People wanted to know how to develop a native prairie lawn and what resources might be available in the city, Meier said.

The city of Sioux Falls has ordinances on boulevard and parking strip ordinances as to type and height of plants. Housing subdivision may also have rules.

A goal and explanation of survey results and other material on natural systems. Graphic from the city of Sioux Falls sustainability office.

The city has its own Native Prairie Project, which includes the planting of native prairie buffer strips in Dunham Park and Legacy Park.

Native prairie plants provide biodiversity of vegetation to support pollinators and other wildlife, filter water such as rainfall and provide other benefits, Meier said.

Another frequent comment was a desire to have community compost site or program in the city.

Open house attendees want a place to dispose of their food waste so it will compost and be used as fodder to grow more plants, Meier said.

“(That) is where we want to be going,” Meier said of a compost program. “We’d like to develop a pilot compost project.”

Meier said there are members of the community ready to move forward with more sustainable practices.

“People believe the time is right for this (type) of work. There is a real desire for us to be doing more,” Meier said.

A sustainability goal graphic explains materials and waste management goals. Other information is included. Graphic is from the city of Sioux Falls sustainability office.

“The big take away for me was that people are interested in the issues and they have a desire to be volunteers. It was wonderful (to hear),” Meier said.

As of now, the sustainability office does not have a volunteer pathway, she said. But one possible option is for volunteers to become sustainability ambassadors much like the USDA extension office master gardener programs, Meier said.

The sustainability office is still taking public input on the proposed plan through its website link. Comments will be accepted through Nov. 4

The feedback will be organized and analyzed as the final draft version of the sustainability plan is completed. The goal is to complete a version for review in early 2022, Meier said.

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