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FMR Updates

A shocking, long-awaited outing — The 2017 volunteer trout survey

“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. >>

November 14

State studies confirm: 40 percent of MN lakes and rivers are polluted

Lake Pepin along the Mississippi River, impaired for excess nutrients

The Lake Pepin-Mississippi watershed is among many that feel to meet water quality standards. (Photo courtesy of the MPCA)

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. >>

November 13

Nature Notes: Let's talk turkeys

A wild turkey displaying its feathers

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. >>

November 13

A big new prairie is on the way!

The farm field at the William H Houlton Conservation Area about to be turned into prairie

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! 

November 13

Thank you, Kala and Annie!

 Annie Dubner and Kala Peebles

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. >>

November 9

Thank you, young river stewards!

Stenciling drains for the Mississippi River!

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. ​ >>

November 7

St. Paul approves Ford site plans without additional parkland

Ford site

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. >> 

October 15

Oct. 18 get 20% off and learn about river-conscious shopping at Patagonia!

Come out to Patagonia’s St. Paul location and enjoy a special 20-percent discount extended to our valued FMR members. 

In addition to enjoying storewide savings, learn more about Patagonia’s emerging research, efforts and products to help reduce water pollution from tiny fibers, which often originate from synthetic textiles. Learn what you can do to reduce microplastics in our waterways and make eco-conscious decisions as we begin the holiday shopping season.

If you're not a member yet, you can contribute at any giving level to help protect, restore and enhance the Mississippi River and enjoy our member benefits throughout the year ahead. 

What's it like to walk to the river in north Minneapolis?

The river is just a few blocks away but it may as well be miles. But community members, FMR and our Northside partners are working to change that. (Photo courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield.)

What's it like to walk to the river along Dowling Avenue North in Minneapolis? Harsh, inspiring and beautiful are all words that were used when we joined neighbors in lacing up our walking shoes and heading to the river on two warm September evenings.

With great change on the horizon for where Dowling meets the Mississippi (new riverfront parkland!), we walked and talked and imagined the possibilities. We'd hoped that bringing people to these spaces would spark interest in advocating for improved public access to the riverfront and we were not disappointed. We hope you'll join us too! >>

October 10

Nature Notes: Fall is for the squirrels

Gray squirrel feeding on a tree branch

'Tis the season for gray squirrels to fatten up.

Each year, the cool fall weather is accompanied by a flurry of wildlife activity. Most species are busy preparing for the winter — gathering and storing food, prepping their nests and burrows, and putting on a few extra pounds. In the Twin Cities, no animal is a better example of this than the gray squirrel.

While many residents consider them a bit of a nuisance — chattering from the trees, darting across streets, and leaving piles of chewed food on decks and sidewalks — these smart little critters have an interesting history and impressive adaptations that allow them to flourish in our human-dominated landscape. >>

October 9