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Flint Hills prairie restoration effort takes place this weekend

About 60 volunteers from Flint Hills Resources and the surrounding community will work from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 30 to continue restoration efforts on a section of the Mississippi River bluffs that is owned by Flint Hills Resources. The volunteers will haul and stack buckthorn and open and connect prairies on the bluffs, continuing the work that Flint Hills Resources, Friends of the Mississippi River, and Great River Greening have collaborated on for the past 11 years. 

Known as the Pine Bend Bluffs Natural Area, the 1,300-acre parcel includes oak forest, black ash swamp, oak savanna, and rare sand-gravel prairie plant communities. Since the restoration project began, volunteers have worked to eliminate invasive plants and reclaim important habitat for the Mississippi River flyway, a migration corridor for millions of songbirds and 40 percent of North America's waterfowl and shorebirds.  In addition to the restoration work, the Pine Bend Bluffs Natural Area is used to educate area students about the environment and importance of restoring and preserving natural habitats.

"It's been incredible to watch the transformation of the Pine Bend Bluffs over the past 11 years," said Scott Lindemann, vice president and manufacturing manager for Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend, which owns and manages about 700 acres of the Pine Bend Bluffs.  "Thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers, including many of our employees, the natural habitat around the bluffs is well on its way to being restored to conditions that precede the modern settlement of our state.  This is a legacy project Flint Hills Resources is very proud of."