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Land Conservation

River Heights Park saved, restoration begins!

Residents and River Guardians helped save this park!

Inver Grove Heights residents, including many FMR River Guardians, helped save this park!

After hearing from dozens of community members (including many FMR River Guardians), the Inver Grove Heights city council unanimously voted to save River Heights Park on Monday, May 14. 

The council had been considering carving up and selling the 7.5-acre undeveloped natural area as three 2.5-acre lots for housing developers. Instead, the city, FMR and neighbors are going to work together to make the park more accessible — adding a park sign and bench, with details to be determined — while keeping it a natural area and restoring important bird habitat. >>

September 19

Goldenrod vs. ragweed: Which causes allergies and which benefits pollinators?

A field of showy golden flowers is a common site in late summer, but is goldenrod to blame for our allergies?

A field of showy golden flowers is a common site in late summer, but is goldenrod to blame for our allergies?

Each year, we get questions about whether goldenrod is contributing to our late-summer allergies. The short answer: Most likely not, it's actually ragweed that's to blame.

In fact, goldenrod plays a role in habitat restoration and is sometimes planted by FMR ecologists. >>

August 13

Special Places: Local prairie wonderlands

Blazing star with monarch at Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

The contrasting colors or purple blazing star and yellow goldenrod are eye-candy for both humans and bees.

A prairie for every season and (metro) location! We list a few of our favorite prairie sites from Elk River to Hastings, including both restored prairies and native remnants. Some of our favorite finds at each site are listed, and a good time to visit. >>

August 10

Nicollet Island

FMR is embarking on restoration of the natural areas on Nicollet Island. Restoration will encompass roughly 5.8 acres of land on the northeast side of the island and a band of an additional 1.3 acres of land on the island’s west side. The island itself is a 48-acre landmass located in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. The acres in question are all owned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Burn, baby, burn...but only when we say so!

An April prescribed burn rolls through a blufftop prairie at the Flint Hills Pind Bend Bluffs property.

A prescribed burn rolls through a blufftop prairie at the Flint Hills Pind Bend Bluffs restoration site. (Photo by Karen Schik.)

Spring has officially sprung, and with it comes those familiar signs of life: plants begin to green, flowers bloom, migrating birds return, and fires burn through the prairies at FMR restoration sites!

Learn more about how we use fire to restore wildlife habitat, and the impact of a recent unplanned fire on an FMR restoration site. >>

May 7

Introducing the FMR Conservation Map!

Although our policy and advocacy work tends to make the most headlines, many FMR supporters, members and volunteers highly value the natural areas we protect, restore and enhance throughout the metro area.  But even the longest-standing FMR members and volunteers wonder where, exactly, we work.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for folks to see all of FMR’s 37 active restoration sites in one place? Perhaps some kind of…map? >>

April 9

What's the best way to control buckthorn and protect native plants? FMR investigates.

A native ladyslipper plant, a mowed stretch of forest, a glossy buckthorn plant and a bobcat/forestry mower

We set up a new research project in Hampton Woods (top left) to control buckthorn (top right) and see how different methods (such as the forestry mower, bottom right) best protect and encourage native plants (like the yellow ladyslipper, bottom left).

What pops to mind when you think of restoring a forest? Perhaps people planting trees? ...How about bobcat-like machines busily eating up small trees and spitting out the splinters?

If you'd visited Hampton Woods this spring, this is exactly the scene you would have come across. The machines were forestry mowers, consuming invasive European buckthorn.

Not only were the mowers benefiting the long-term health of the forest, but they're part of a new FMR research project to compare and contrast the effectiveness of different methods to both control buckthorn and support the growth of native plants and habitat. >>

April 5

Cheers to Flannery & her award-winning earthworm research with FMR!

Flannery Enneking-Norton stands with her award-winning project at this month's Twin Cities Regional Science Fair.

Three cheers to Flannery Enneking-Norton and her first-place finish at the Twin Cities Regional Science Fair. Her project "Confirming the facilitative relationship between Lumbricidae and Rhamnus cathartica" also earned honors from the USDA and Minnesota Horticultural Society.

In 11th grade, Flannery Enneking-Norton went on a field trip with her class and FMR staff to Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul. Their task? To identify and count certain plant and insect species, including invasive earthworms. As they wriggled from the ground, Enneking-Norton was smitten. 

Since then, the St. Paul Academy high-schooler has been working hard to help FMR better understand the relationship between earthworms and their fellow invasive species, European buckthorn, at our habitat restoration sites.

The result? An interesting finding regarding the worst worm invader of all — nightcrawlers — and a first-place win for Enneking-Norton in the Twin Cities Regional Science Fair! Not to mention awards from the US Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Horticultural Society. >>

March 12

Special Places: Minneapolis' riverfront Above the Falls

View of downtown Mpls from the Lowry bridge

View from the Lowry Bridge in North and Northeast Minneapolis looking south towards downtown.

To celebrate our 25th year, each month in 2018 FMR staff will profile places along the metro Mississippi River that are near and dear to us, places that connect to FMR but that we also enjoy in our own downtime. By the end of our silver year, we'll have built a map of 25 special river places for you and yours to learn about, visit and enjoy.

This month: Minneapolis’s riverfront Above the Falls.

The Minneapolis riverfront north of St. Anthony Falls is an interesting juxtaposition of the natural, urban and industrial. Here you can enjoy bike and pedestrian trails, or rent a kayak to see a heron rookery, restored prairie, riverfront raingarden parks and sculptures, as well as industrial relics. You'll also want to visit often over the next decade to experience the changing riverfront, as more industrial sites are converted into public parklands.

February 12

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