Effective plant selection, establishment and management plays an essential role in the success of conservation projects. BWSR's Native Vegetation Establishment and Enhancement Guidelines and related technical documents have been developed to help ensure project success.

BWSR has developed and refined these guidelines, beginning in 2010, to assist resource professionals and landowners across Minnesota in meeting state vegetation policies and standards and to guide the successful planting and management of restoration and other conservation projects. The Guidelines are also designed to:

purple wildflowers in wet meadow

  • Develop consistency among state programs;
  • Avoid the use or introduction of invasive species; and
  • Ensure that plantings function at a high level and meet project goals.

These guidelines apply to all BWSR programs that have vegetation restoration components, as well as other state programs that have adopted or reference the guidelines. Environmentally suitable native annual, biennial and perennial plant species (following the source selection criteria included in the guidelines) are required for projects to meet legislative requirements and provide multiple landscape benefits.

The Guidelines include topics such as seed and plant source requirements, planting dates, diversity levels, and planting guidance by project type.

The Guidelines are updated periodically as new research and field experience become available. This 2022 edition adopts a web-based format for easier use and updating: each section or project type factsheet can be individually downloaded and saved or printed. 

This latest edition of the Guidelines was reviewed by local partners and technical staff in Fall 2022 to ensure that the Guidelines were clear, understandable, and consistent with BWSR grant, easement and wetlands programs and other related policies. Comments and suggestions have been incorporated into the chapters and factsheets in the drop-downs below. Individual project type factsheets will also be updated periodically as new information becomes available. Further comments and suggestions are always welcome.

    Section 1: Purpose and Applicability

    Summarizes the applicability of the guidelines to specific BWSR programs and to related state and federal standards, as well as a summary of the benefits of native vegetation and guiding principles for restoring resilient landscapes.

    Section 1: Purpose and Applicability (pdf)

    Section 2: General Planning Considerations

    Considerations for seed and plant source, diversity levels, cultivar use, protecting plant communities, preventing the introduction of invasive species and planting and management strategies for climate change.  

    Section 2: General Planning Considerations (pdf)

    Section 3: Project Site Preparation, Planting and Maintenance

    Key considerations for each phase of the vegetation establishment process.

    Section 3: Project Site Preparation, Planting and Maintenance (pdf)

    Section 4: Standards and Guidance by Project Type

    Factsheets summarizing plant selection, planting and management considerations for different project types.

    Agricultural Conservation Practices (pdf)

    Agricultural Forestry Practices (pdf)

    Forest Establishment and Management Practices (pdf)

    Lakeshores (pdf)

    Native Prairie Reconstruction (pdf)

    Remnant Prairie and Savanna Restoration (pdf)

    Pollinator Habitat (pdf)

    Raingardens, Biofiltration and Vegetated Swales (pdf)

    Ravine Stabilization (pdf)

    River and Stream Bank Stabilization (pdf)

    Roadside Habitat (pdf)

    Stormwater Ponds (pdf)

    Temporary Cover for Restoration (pdf)

    Urban Forest Establishment and Management Practices (pdf)

    Wetland Restoration for Conservation Programs (pdf)

    Wetland Restoration for Mitigation (pdf)

    Section 5: Appendices

    Appendix A: Preventing Palmer Amaranth and Other Noxious Weeds in Conservation Plantings

    Appendix B: Definitions

    Appendix C: Literature Cited



    Dan Shaw
    Senior Ecologist/Vegetation Specialist