Above the Falls River Stewards — N & NE Minneapolis

Volunteers tending the prairie along the Mississippi River at Ole Olson Park

Upstream of downtown in North and Northeast Minneapolis, the Above the Falls riverfront is an area in flux. Characterized by low banks interspersed with parks and heavy industrial use, much of this oft-neglected prairie river stretch awaits improved public access as well as restoration. However, many parks and trail improvements are in the works as part of the award-winning Minneapolis Above the Falls Master Plan, created by the Above the Falls Community Advisory Committee (of which FMR is a member). 

Above the Falls River Stewards

Through the Above the Falls River Stewards program, FMR provides opportunities for education, access and hands-on restoration to further this urban river revival.

Activities include:

To receive notices of upcoming Above the Falls educational and volunteer events, contact FMR Program Assistant Sophie Downey at sdowney@fmr.org, 651-222-2193 x27. 

Parks we work in

Volunteers planting in the raingarden at Sheridan Memorial Park. Photo by Rich Wahls


•Sheridan Memorial Park
In the summer of 2014 FMR volunteers installed numerous native plants in a strategically planned raingarden in one of Northeast Minneapolis's newest parks, Sheridan Memorial. Raingardens help to filter runoff pollution from nearby roads, parking lots and industrial sites, as well as create habitat for local butterflies and bees. FMR looks forward to watching the raingarden grow and tending to it over the years. We're also proud to partner with Sheridan Neighborhood Organization, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and other local agencies on this newly created riverfront park. (Check out the lovely event photos by Rich Wahls on our flickr album!)

•Ole Olson Park
Located just off the bike trail the demonstration prairie is home to showy flowers and grasses will not only beautify the park but provide much-needed bee, butterfly and bird habitat. The prairie plants also reduce the amount of pollution flowing into the Mississippi River thanks to their deep root systems filtering the water and holding soil in place. Although a small urban site, Ole Olson is home to a surprising diversity of landscapes, including riverfront shoreline, woodland terrace and grassland slopes. Working with the city parks department and relying on local volunteer power, we look forward to transforming the park into a habitat oasis — returning willows to the shoreline, wildflowers to the slopes and oaks to the terraces. (Check out our volunteers in action at this beautiful river-front park. Photos by Tom Reiter for FMR!) Learn more here.

•Additional locations
FMR also works with youth and neighborhood groups at Bottineau, Waite and other local parks. Thanks to our involved partners and funders we are actively growing the Above the Falls program and look forward to developing plans for further educational and hands-on restoration events at additional locations.

Youth and group events

Local church groups cleans up the river!

FMR has partnered with local teachers and youth — including students at Edison High School and in the Northeast 4-H Club — to stencil storm drains in their community, organize cleanups and participate in local habitat restoration projects such as invasive species removals. We also had the privilege of cleaning up the riverfront with First Lutheran Church, Bottineau Neighborhood Organization and Symantec corporation. If you know of a local youth, church or scout group, or a summer or after-school program in need of an active and educational outing that serves the river, please let us know!

River-Friendly Homes & Gardens workshops

Filtering pollution, one rain barrel at a time!

FMR works to support Above the Falls resident's concerns for the health of the river by offering: 

  •  •'Make & Take' rain barrel workshops, made as affordable as possible (we charge just enough to cover base costs and get supplies donated as much as we can.)
  •  Free workshops on in-home water stewardship
  •  Free workshops on river-friendly landscaping, covering everything from raingardens to planting for birds, bees and butterflies

Speak up

Your voice is essential to our efforts to protect, restore and enhance the Mississippi River – become a River Guardian and advocate for the river! River Guardians are also invited to special happy hours and other events about important legislative and metro river corridor issues.

Stay in touch!

If you'd like to be notified of future events Above the Falls in North and Northeast Minneapolis, please let us know! Contact Sophie Downey at sdowney@fmr.org, 651-222-2193 x27. Thanks and we look forward to being in touch! 


Upcoming Events

Friday, September 30, 2022 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Saturday, August 27, 2022 - 9:00am to Saturday, December 31, 2022 - 11:00am
Rice Creek Watershed District
Thursday, September 29, 2022 - 6:00pm
Nicollet Island Pavilion, Minneapolis

Educators — we’re here for you.

We provide tools and programs for youth educators year-round.