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FMR Updates

Volunteers help scientists gather critical data about monarch butterflies

Volunteer-bred monarch

Monarchs face a complex array of threats, but volunteers are acquiring much-needed data to help the embattled species survive.

Through heat, rain and mosquitos, eight dedicated FMR volunteers surveyed a patch of milkweed plants throughout the summer, hunting for the eggs and larvae of monarch butterflies. Their efforts, combined with hundreds of others', help researchers better understand the complex ecological needs of our iconic, declining monarchs. >>

October 9

Check out our first mural for water quality!

Saint Paul's first storm-drain mural!

FMR worked closely with neighborhood groups and local artist Gustavo Lira to design St. Paul's first storm-drain mural. The koi fish represents Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, the music notes Como Dockside and the snapping turtle Como Lake.

When you think of a storm drain, what do you see? The concrete of the street, perhaps a metal grate. How about a pathway to our local lakes or the Mighty Mississippi? Or a large beautiful painting that helps illustrate this connection with our local waters?

Now you can check out such a work of art along Como Lake in St. Paul. The result of an 18-month collaborative partnership, the new mural is the first of its kind in St. Paul, possibly in the metro. >>

October 7

'Getting to Green: Saving Nature: A Bipartisan Solution'

It wasn’t that long ago that conservation and protecting the environment were bipartisan priorities at the Minnesota legislature and in Congress. Why did that change? What can we do to bring Minnesotans together around clean air, clean water and conservation?

Please join FMR and our friends at Conservation Minnesota for an evening with the author of Getting to Green: Saving Nature: A Bipartisan Solution, Frederic C. Rich. 

Ford site hearing Sept. 20 & 27 — FMR says 'yes' to density AND more parks!

Popular stormwater feature

A new stormwater "stream" is a popular feature of redevelopment plans for the Ford site (see rendering above), but we should also seize this rare opportunity to create more river bluff parkland.

Opportunities to create bluff-top parkland in the heart of a growing city only come along every two or three generations. As draft plans for the Ford site redevelopment along the Mississippi River head to the St. Paul city council, we urge city leaders to seize this opportunity for the benefit of this generation and all those to come.

September 13

Downtown St. Paul riverfront development plans fall through

West Publishing and county jail site in downtown St. Paul

After spending millions to demolish city and county-owned buildings built into and atop the bluff just west of where Wabasha bridge meets downtown, St. Paul and Ramsey County are once again looking for a developer to return the site to the tax rolls and strengthen St. Paul's riverfront.

The redevelopment of the former West Publishing and county jail site on the bluffs of the Mississippi in downtown St. Paul hit another snag recently when the landowner, Ramsey County, and the prospective developer, Cardon Development Group, decided to part ways. The county is now considering plans that call for less parking.

FMR has been closely following efforts to redevelop the site and recently served on a task force formed by the county and the city to provide guidance. >>

September 13

FMR bids farewell to longtime Conservation Director Tom Lewanski

Thank you Tom Lewanski

Bill Clinton was President, Arne Carlson was Minnesota’s governor, Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a sixth NBA championship and Google was founded in a California garage, but the big news in 1998 was that Tom Lewanski was hired as FMR's first conservation director. After more than 19 years of outstanding service to FMR and our great river — having protected or restored 2,800 acres of prairie, forest, wetlands and other natural areas — Tom is leaving. 

September 13

"25 by '25" hits the metro in its final stretch

25by25 logo

Gov. Mark Dayton's "25 by '25" initiative aims to reduce water pollution in Minnesota 25 percent by 2025.

As part of his "25 by '25" initiative to reduce water pollution in Minnesota 25 percent by 2025, Gov. Mark Dayton has been holding a series of town hall meetings across the state. Both the town hall-style meetings and the online comment period wrap up Thursday, October 5.

The final three town halls will be held in the metro September 27 in Minneapolis, October 4 in Burnsville and October 5 in Stillwater. 

While FMR water policy staff plan to attend the Minneapolis meeting, we encourage you to attend whichever meeting works best for you or contribute your thoughts online.

September 11

Judge faults DNR for allowing overpumping of White Bear Lake’s aquifer

Water levels in White Bear Lake have fallen due to excessive pumping from the aquifer underneath the lake.

In a sweeping order, Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan faulted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for authorizing unsustainable groundwater pumping; depleting the aquifer and artificially lowering water levels in White Bear Lake. The ruling could have widespread implications for groundwater management in Minnesota.

September 8

Position announcement: Conservation Director

The Mississippi is one of the world’s great rivers, a natural resource of global significance. In the Twin Cities metro, it provides recreation and a sense of place for millions of residents and visitors. Unfortunately, it still faces many threats. Do you know someone who can help us face them as our new conservation director?

August 25

Neighbors save River Heights Park

River Heights Park, Inver Grove Heights

Part of our local national park — River Heights Park in Inver Grove Heights — is no longer slated to be turned into lots for private homes.

The city of Inver Grove Heights was considering selling River Heights Park, part of our local Mississippi River national park, for housing. But neighbors stepped up to defend it, and with a little support from FMR, the park has been preserved!

Inver Grove Heights is a valued FMR habitat restoration partner and we look forward to continuing our work together.

August 11