New video showcases why habitat corridors are critical

by Alex Roth

Our latest video created by Mike Durenberger gives a bird's eye view of the Vermillion River corridor as it flows into the Mississippi River in Hastings.

One of the main goals of FMR's land protection and restoration work is to create and sustain corridors of habitat. The more land we can protect and restore, and the more connected those sites are, the greater their benefits for wildlife and important plant species.  

When we build habitat corridors along rivers, streams and other bodies of water, they are of exceptionally high value — these corridors are natural pathways for migrating animals, including many species stressed by climate change. And when they include or are surrounded by native habitat, we not only improve the migration potential of the area but we protect water quality and public access while we're at it. 

Featured here: Vermillion River corridor

This video highlights one such corridor: the lower Vermillion River as it flows into the Mississippi.

This section of the Vermillion River in Hastings includes six FMR restoration sites: Vermillion River Linear Park, Vermillion Falls Park, Old Mill Park, Hastings Scientific and Natural Area, Hastings River Flats, and Gores Pool Wildlife Management Area. 

For over a decade, we've been working with landowner partners like the City of Hastings and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, funders like the Outdoor Heritage Fund and United Way of Hastings, and community partners like Hastings High School and the Hastings Environmental Protectors, all in the name of corridor-building in this area.

This impressive stretch of habitat flows through the heart of Hastings, providing critical wildlife habitat, improved water quality, and bountiful recreation opportunities.

Look closer

Much of our restoration work at these sites is ongoing. For example, at 0:13 in the video, you can see our newest phase of restoration at Vermillion River Linear Park: a 27-acre degraded grassland that we're transforming to diverse native prairie. And at 1:03, the video showcases our efforts to restore floodplain forest to former pastureland at Gores Pool Wildlife Management Area.

Many FMR volunteers have aided in these restoration sites through the Vermillion River Stewards program, co-sponsored by the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization.

We're grateful for the support of our volunteers, members and community partners. Thanks to you we plan to build upon these efforts and expand these corridors throughout the metro.

See you here?

Sign up for the Mississippi Messages to receive volunteer event notifications and updates on our protection and restoration work throughout the Twin Cities metro.

If you'd like email invitations specific to the area featured in the video, email Sophie Downey at volunteer@fmr.org to sign up for the Vermillion Stewards email list.