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Land Conservation

Blazing blooms!

Arrowhead flowers

The blazing white flowers of the arrowhead plant (Sagittaria latifolia) seem to light up the shoreland areas where they grow.

July and August are the most flowerful months in our native prairies and wetlands. Enjoy a few of the beauties FMR ecologists have recently come across in their field work.

August 9

Endangered species recovery at FMR restoration sites

A trio of endangered species recently found at FMR conservation and restoration sites.

A trio of endangered species recently found at FMR conservation and restoration sites. Left to right: Loggerhead shrike, Blanchard's cricket frog and Henslow's sparrow. Photos by Terry Ross, Greg Schecter and Scott Krych.

Plant and animal populations decline for many reasons — habitat loss, climate change, pollution and other factors. The Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973 to prevent the decline and extinction of at-risk species and aid their recovery. At FMR, one of the ways we can best benefit endangered species is through the enhancement or restoration of native habitat. FMR’s many restoration sites do just that, providing much-needed habitat for both common and endangered plants and animals.

While the Endangered Species Act has benefitted countless species, we’d like to think our restorations have as well. We've spotted three endangered species — loggerhead shrike, Blanchard's cricket frog and Henslow's sparrow — at our sites so far this year! 

August 8

Reconnecting North Mpls to its riverfront

The desolate West Broadway bridge over I-94

For many Northsiders, this is the path to the Mississippi River: the West Broadway bridge over Interstate-94. Improvements like a barrier separating the sidewalk from cars, a safe biking space, updating the chainlink fence and adding greenery or art would make this a far more welcoming route for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling to the river.

Currently, the majority of North's residents must make their way over Interstate-94 and through a wall of industry to see and enjoy their riverfront. FMR is working to understand these barriers and identify opportunities to reconnect Northside residents to their Mississippi River. As more of this riverfront transforms from industrial use to parks and trails — changes that FMR has long advocated — we must work hard to ensure that current and future riverfront parks are accessible to area residents. 

June 9

Harnessing fire as a conservation tool

Crews work to carefully manage a burn at the Sand Coulee Scientific & Natural Area. Fire helps reduce invasive species while benefiting fire-adapted native prairie plants. Photo by Karen Schik

Fire was once commonplace on the American landscape. After nearly a century of suppression, it’s making a comeback. Find out why fires are on the rise, and how FMR uses fire as a tool to restore habitat on many of our restoration sites.

April 11

Unpredictable weather, fuzzy eaglets and great horned owls

The eaglets have hatched!

This time of transition between winter and spring can be a wishy-washy, ambivalent affair. It’s sunny and 50 degrees, then 20 and snowing. Likewise, some bald eagles are still hanging out in their winter homes or migrating along the Mississippi River, while others are nest-bound, feeding fuzzy eaglets. Another impressive hunter, the great horned owl, is also nesting these days. Luckily, there's great local spots to see all of this avian action, both outside along the Mississippi River and online.

March 4

Oh, deer. Whitetails and Minnesota's future forests

Unfortunately, deer don't enjoy munching on invasive plant species.

A healthy whitetail deer will eat around five pounds of food per day. Photo from

Perhaps drinking from the river or bounding through blufflands, deer are a welcome sight on any oudoor excursion. From an ecological perspective, however, an overabundance of deer are creating problems. It turns out many uncommon native plants are especially tasty. But invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard? Not so much. Compounded by earthworms and climate change, our treasured whitetails may play a large role in the future of our forests. 

January 11

Join us for a fall hayride, hike or haul! (Heads up: Capacity is limited.)

Join us for a crisp autumn morning in the bluffs above the river Saturday, Oct. 17 in Cottage Grove or Saturday, Oct. 24 in Pine Bend Bluffs near Rosemount. Sign up for the hayride and hike, join the buckthorn hauls — or both!

After exploring and restoring river-lands not normally open to the public, we’ll celebrate our volunteer and community partners’ impact on our local wildlife and waters. Thanks to Cottage Grove partner 3M and Pine Bend partner Flint Hills Resources, there’ll be great food, raffles and other special activities. 

September 9

Groups wanted: Get your hands dirty for the river!

It has been scientifically proven that volunteering together increases group camaraderie, especially when it's benefitting the Mississippi River.

Whether you’ve got a group of five or fifty, FMR has a fall event for you and yours. Join us to haul buckthorn and restore habitat in the beautiful river bluffs, or let us know if you'd like to set up your own St. Paul service outing.

August 19