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Critical Area

Mississippi River Critical Area

South St. Paul stands strong to preserve open space

South St. Paul City Council

Cheers to the South St. Paul City Council! (Photo courtesy

FMR would like to thank the South St. Paul City Council and celebrate their recent decision to preserve a city-owned 5-acre site as open space. The site is located near the Mississippi River and adjacent to the Mississippi River Trail scheduled to be constructed in 2017. The council rejected a push to change the largely tree-covered site into a paved industrial railroad storage area.

This is a big win that maintains the city’s commitment to a more public and green riverfront for future generations!

October 27

Crown Hydro is back, but can it stand up to a new and exciting civic proposal?

The newly proposed Falls Park and Visitor Center

A new proposal for the downtown Minneapolis riverfront, the Falls Park and Visitor Center (above) seems to be gathering momentum. However, a 20-plus-years-old effort to build a hydroelectric power plant in this area has re-emerged. Image courtesy of VJAA.

Amidst strong community opposition, Crown Hydro continues to pursue its proposal for a new hydroelectric plant near the Stone Arch Bridge. One group is fighting back with an alternative idea to use the now-closed St. Anthony Falls Lock as an interpretive center and meeting space.

October 19

South St. Paul seeks to replace trees with industry along Mississippi River Trail

As you grab your bike and enjoy the Mississippi River Trail in the coming years, what would you prefer: views of the river through a grove of trees or a long tall fence and a railroad storage yard? The South St. Paul planning commission faced that very question in early September and voted five to one to preserve the trees. But now the question is moving to the South St. Paul City Council.

September 12

DNR supports key FMR-sought protections for metro river corridor

New land-use and development rules will better protect the Twin Cities stretch of the Mississippi River, our local national park.  

During the final phase of developing updated rules for the Mississippi River Critical Area, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommended a number of positive changes in response to comments from FMR staff and advocates.

September 12

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

(Video) 'Rebirth: The Mississippi's National Park'

Produced for FMR by award-winning local filmmakers John Kaul and Tom Reiter, and narrated by Minnesota Public Radio's Steve Seel, this 30-minute documentary tells the story of how one man’s vision — combined with smart citizen advocacy and effective political leadership — created the Mississippi River's first and only national park right here in the Twin Cities. Enjoy the film online, request a copy for your local library, school or organization. 

May 27