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Critical Area

Mississippi River Critical Area

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, 2016

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, 2016

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, 2016

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, 2016

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, 2016

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

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, 2016

Through July 6: Last chance to weigh in on new riverfront land-use rules

Riders along the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area, our local national park!

​If all goes well, new rules governing riverfront development and protections in the Mississippi River corridor, our local national park, could be in place by the end of 2016. Photo by Tom Reiter

FMR encourages all river-lovers to contact Judge Lipman by July 6, 4:30 p.m. to let him know that you support strong river development rules in our national park, tell him why the river is important to you and share what you would like to see protected or improved. Read on to learn more about the proposed rules for the metro-area stretch of the Mississippi River and how to contribute your voice.

May 10, 2016

N/NE Minneapolis riverfront regional park continues to grow

A little more green, please — for our waters and our riverfront communities. (Aerial view, from the north, above Saint Anthony Falls.) Courtesy City of Minneapolis

A little more green, please — for a healthy river and riverfront communities. (Aerial view, from the north, above Saint Anthony Falls.) Courtesy City of Minneapolis

Good news: The Minneapolis park board now owns over half the land needed to bring continuous riverfront parks and trails to the banks of the Mississippi River in north and northeast Minneapolis. FMR is continuing to advocate for and support the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s acquisition work while also investigating ways to work with north Minneapolis residents to increase and strengthen their local riverfront access.

January 11, 2016

St. Paul reveals exciting plans for river balcony park

Saint Paul River Balcony rendering from the Great River Passage Plan

A rendering of the proposed Saint Paul River Balcony from the Great River Passage Plan.

On September 24, St. Paul Mayor Coleman presented the city's latest vision to improve the connections between the Mississippi River and downtown Saint Paul while improving the parkland and connections along the river between the Science Museum and the Union Depot.

October 12, 2015

New FMR film about our local national park — Watch the trailer and sign up for the premiere!



To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, FMR is making a documentary about our very own national park, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. The film tells the story of the effort to get Congress to designate the park, explores the meaning of this legacy, and stresses the need for continued stewardship and advocacy on the park's behalf. Check it out!

October 8, 2015

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