Land Conservation Program: Restoration

Much of the landcover that existed in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area prior to European settlement has been removed or greatly altered. There are few areas that still contain the dynamic and diverse natural communities that were found here at the time of settlement. Much of this original landcover was replaced by cropland and urban development. Even the natural areas that still exist today have been altered by the introduction of exotic species, the elimination of native members of the community (prairie chickens, passenger pigeon, wolves) and the elimination of some of the natural processes such as fire.

The health of the Mississippi River is greatly influenced by the land that surrounds it. Natural Areas in the watershed filter stormwater runoff, provide flood storage, and offer habitat for both resident and migratory animals. If our goal is to increase the biological diversity of these natural areas or in many cases, totally recreate them, we must mimic or replace the natural processes. FMR has worked with many landowners to enhance existing natural areas by reintroducing fire or acting as a natural pest to control non-native and often invasive species that have become established. We have also restored many areas in which the natural communities have been totally replaced with other landcover, such as agricultural fields. The overall goal for our restoration efforts is to recreate, as much as possible, the natural communities that existed at the site as the area was being settled.

Karen Schik, Senior Ecologist and Project Manager, and Alex Roth, Ecologist and Project Manager, lead FMRs restoration and enhancement efforts. Karen and Alex develop the guiding documents, the Natural Resource Management Plan, determine the exact activities and treatments, hire contractors and monitor and evaluate these activities.

Our conservation sites

Documenting our impact, contributing to our field

Our ecological research and monitoring surveys document the connection between our habitat restoration work and the plants and animals it's meant to support. We share our findings in journals and other forums to support the advancement of habitat restoration techniques and approaches.

Learn more

Visit the following project pages:

Or to learn more about our use of herbicides, see our chemical use policy