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restoration

Harnessing fire as a conservation tool

Crews work to carefully manage a burn at the Sand Coulee Scientific & Natural Area. Fire helps reduce invasive species while benefiting fire-adapted native prairie plants. Photo by Karen Schik

Fire was once commonplace on the American landscape. After nearly a century of suppression, it’s making a comeback. Find out why fires are on the rise, and how FMR uses fire as a tool to restore habitat on many of our restoration sites.

April 11

FMR restoration efforts emphasize pollinator health

A yellow sulphur butterfly in the bluff prairie at River Oaks park in Cottage Grove, an FMR restoration site. Photo: Joe Walton

Pollinators have had a rough go of things lately, with habitat loss and overabundant pesticide use leading to declines in many bee and butterfly species. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. These declines have sparked a renewed interest in pollinators, leading to new initiatives and funding for the conservation of these species. Find out what FMR and others are doing to protect pollinators in Minnesota.

March 7

Oh, deer. Whitetails and Minnesota's future forests

Unfortunately, deer don't enjoy munching on invasive plant species.

A healthy whitetail deer will eat around five pounds of food per day. Photo from www.northamericanwhitetail.com.

Perhaps drinking from the river or bounding through blufflands, deer are a welcome sight on any oudoor excursion. From an ecological perspective, however, an overabundance of deer are creating problems. It turns out many uncommon native plants are especially tasty. But invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard? Not so much. Compounded by earthworms and climate change, our treasured whitetails may play a large role in the future of our forests. 

January 11

Restoring prairie and savanna in an old rail yard

After a summer of planning, restoration is in full swing at Ole Olson Park. So far, the transformation at the site north of downtown Minneapolis has been dramatic. Restoration will continue in 2016 with the installation of roughly two acres of native prairie.

December 9

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

Join us for a fall hayride, hike or haul! (Heads up: Capacity is limited.)

Join us for a crisp autumn morning in the bluffs above the river Saturday, Oct. 17 in Cottage Grove or Saturday, Oct. 24 in Pine Bend Bluffs near Rosemount. Sign up for the hayride and hike, join the buckthorn hauls — or both!

After exploring and restoring river-lands not normally open to the public, we’ll celebrate our volunteer and community partners’ impact on our local wildlife and waters. Thanks to Cottage Grove partner 3M and Pine Bend partner Flint Hills Resources, there’ll be great food, raffles and other special activities. 

September 9

Restoring a blank slate at Houlton Farm

The Mississippi River runs along the southern edge of the Houlton Farm property, and the islands of the Mississippi River Islands SNA (left) already provide important protected habitat in the area.
The Mississippi River runs along the southern edge of the Houlton Farm property, and the islands of the Mississippi River Islands SNA (left) already provide important protected habitat in the area.

FMR ecologist Alex Roth is knee-deep into writing the Natural Resources Management Plan at Houlton Farm in Elk River. The property presents a variety of challenges, but is an incredible opportunity to conduct large-scale habitat restoration.

August 17

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