In the land of 10,000 lakes, about 40 percent of Minnesota’s waters fail to meet basic health standards according to a pair of new state water quality reports — with our namesake river, the Minnesota, among the most polluted. >>
The Lake Pepin-Mississippi watershed is among many that feel to meet water quality standards. (Photo courtesy of the MPCA)
We asked readers what inspires them to reflect upon the river and received a wide range of thoughtful and beautifully written responses. May you enjoy their poems and stories as much as we did!
This issue features works by Ellen Fee, Chelsi Kahl, Jim Larson, Christine Bronk, Linda Moua, Margie O'Laughlin, Sarah Degner Riveros, Willow Thompson and Justin Florey. >>
Illustration of Halls Island to-be
Three new destinations are beginning to take shape along the river north of St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, each with something different to offer. Coming up: a reclaimed island (image above), a destination riverfront restaurant, and one fully featured playground. >>
“It’s been three years of cancellations with high water in the river and getting rained out," said volunteer Tom Ziegler with a smile. "They [FMR] dangle this carrot when we do the buckthorn removal across the road, that if we did that job, we would get to do this event.”
Well, 2017 was finally the year. >>
Water levels in White Bear Lake have fallen due to excessive pumping of the aquifer below it.
As reported by the Star Tribune, new state agency findings are helping us understand the relationship between unsustainable groundwater use and White Bear Lake, one of many lakes known for "shrinking" in Minnesota.
Combined with a recent related ruling, we hope the new report will push us towards real progress to protect the Land of 10,000 Lakes' vital water resources. >>
A wild turkey struts his stuff.
Once on the brink of extinction in Minnesota and beyond, wild turkeys are now a common sight for Twin Cities and greater Minnesota residents alike. This November, take a minute to learn about this wild animal with an interesting history. >>
An aerial view of a prairie in progress. On the left: stubble left over from the fall soybean harvest. On the right: the half of the field worked up for broadcast seeding native prairie species.
It's not every day that FMR ecologists get to convert 180 acres of soybean and farm fields back to native prairie. Sure, we return park lawns and buckthorn thickets to prairie every year, but individual project sites rarely crack the 100-acre mark.
So we're especially excited about beginning the large-scale transformation at the William H. Houlton Conservation Area in Elk River. Check out some photos from the first steps of creating this much-needed pollinator and wildlife habitat at the confluence of the Elk and Mississippi rivers!
Annie Dubner (left) and Kala Peebles, our stellar summer 2017 intern and SuperVolunteers, about to examine milkweed plants for monarch eggs and caterpillars.
Surveying wildlife, supporting events, braving mosquitoes — Kala Peebles and Annie Dubner were indispensable and indefatigable throughout the 2017 field season. >>
Members of the Youth Conservation Corps, one of 56 groups who helped stencil storm drains in St. Paul and Minneapolis with educational messages about how they connect to the Mississippi River.
Together, they stenciled over 2,000 storm drains with educational messages, collected trash throughout Twin Cities parks, and helped not only restore habitat along the river but research the best ways to keep it healthy in the future. They are FMR's youth volunteers, and their contributions are legion. >>
Although FMR supports the overall plans for the Ford site — the 135-acre site along the Mississippi River to be transformed into a modern riverfront community — we're disappointed the city declined to add more river-bluff parkland. (Photo used with the permission of the Metropolitan Design Center. ©Regents of the University of Minnesota)
This September, the St. Paul City Council approved the zoning plan for the Ford site, giving the go-ahead to redevelop the 135-acre river-bluff site without requiring additional parkland. But our efforts to expand nearby blufftop parks and address the toxic dump in the floodplain below aren't over yet. >>