Latest News

New FMR film about our local national park — Watch the trailer and sign up for the premiere!

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, FMR is making a documentary about our very own national park, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. The film tells the story of the effort to get Congress to designate the park, explores the meaning of this legacy, and stresses the need for continued stewardship and advocacy on the park's behalf. Check it out!

October 8

World's largest cellulosic ethanol plant opens in Iowa

DuPont's 30-million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa

DuPont's 30-million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. Source:

DuPont recently announced the opening of the world's largest cellulosic biofuel facility in Nevada, Iowa. The plant, which uses corn stover (the stems, stalks, leaves and husks of the corn plant) to produce ethanol, aims to produce approximately 30 million gallons of fuel per year. And it might not be good news.

November 10

FMR to file amicus brief in favor of pollution lawsuit

The "Big Five" Wastewater Treatment Plants included in proposed pollution permit

The "Big Five" Wastewater Treatment Plants in the metro area are included in a single "umbrella" pollution permit currently being challenged in court for failing to properly protect the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin.

FMR, along with our friends at Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) and the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, will soon file an amicus brief in support of a recent lawsuit charging the state with failing to adequately control pollution to the Mississippi River. The lawsuit, filed by the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), faults the state for doing too little to protect the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin, and calls into question the state's plan to allow the "big five" metro-area wastewater treatment plants to increase their phosphorus pollution into the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin by 35%.

November 10

A record year for river volunteers!

Friends of the Mississippi River volunteers help protect water quality and wildlife habitat

As the outdoor volunteer season comes to a close, we stand in awe of our river stewards' accomplishments. In 2015, some 3,637 people — individuals, families, church, school and neighborhood groups — came together from throughout the metro area to help the Mississippi River at 135 FMR volunteer events. Together they stenciled over 3,000 storm drains with educational messages helping residents connect their yards and streets to our local waters, removed over a thousand bags of invasive species from local parks and natural areas, removed litter from over 20 riverfront sites and installed native prairies and raingardens at six riverfront parks. At the end of our busiest restoration season on record, our community's ability to act on behalf of our local waters and wildlife continues to amaze us.

November 10

More development coming to Saint Paul's West Side

Architect rendition of the planned West Side Flats phase 3 development.  Image source: Sherman Associates

An exciting new riverfront development project planned for Saint Paul's West Side Flats will add commercial space with a strong pedestrian connection to the river esplanade, plus market rate and affordable housing.

November 9

Whose view? From where? — November 2015

This month's view was taken from one of the most heavily visited regional parks in the metropolitan area, but many of the helpful landmarks have been cropped out.  Are you up for the challenge?

The green amidst the gray: the distinctive phenology of non-native shrubs

A layer of green on an otherwise gray and brown backdrop is evidence of buckthorn’s distinctive phenology.

A layer of green on an otherwise gray and brown backdrop is evidence of buckthorn’s distinctive phenology.

It’s finally (or already!) November and the leaves have fallen from the trees. Well, not quite all of them. If you take a close look at a nearby forest, you’ll likely notice a dense layer of green still present in the shrub layer. What are these shrubs and why are they still green when other species have all dropped their leaves? In and around the Twin Cities, it’s a good bet that these shrubs are either common buckthorn or one of a few species of bush honeysuckles, and their “distinctive phenology” actually plays a large part in their success in Minnesota’s forest ecosystems.

November 9

Stenciling ... That's a wrap, folks

A group of storm drain stencilers stands at an overlook to Downtown St. Paul.

Groups of all ages can stencil with FMR! Here Metro State Upward Bound students stenciled in an area with a great view of downtown Saint Paul. 

Thank you to all of our wonderful 2015 stenciling volunteers! Stenciling is an effective way to spread the message that anything that goes down that storm drain ends up in the Mississippi River. Thanks to our volunteers of all ages who helped stencil, from public and corporate groups to middle schoolers, we have exceeded our goals for the year. 

October 13

How will Minnesota implement the new buffer law?

Buffers of perennial vegetation help protect Minnesota's land, water, and wildlife

One of FMR's top priorities during this year's legislative session was passage of Governor Dayton's much-discussed Buffer Initiative. While a substantially revised (and watered-down) version of Governor Dayton's proposal did become law, implementation of the law will be critical to its success.

October 12