2013 Great River Greening Accomplishments

Building Partners for Greater Stewardship

Thanks to our donors, friends and partners, in 2013, Greening increased the scope of our impact, achieving more diverse conservation results, growing our base of environmental stewards, and expanding our geography.

See and feel your impact on your community and those around you.


Each year, Great River Greening engages thousands of volunteers of all backgrounds and ages to participate in private and public restoration events in their own communities.

In 2013:
  • Great River Greening engaged 1,737 volunteers to help restore parks and recreation areas important to them.
  • Volunteers worked alongside Great River Greening ecologists, family members, friends, community groups, and colleagues from companies such as Best Buy, CenterPoint Energy, RBC, and Xcel Energy.
  • They removed 985 acres of invasive species, planted 5,385 trees and shrubs and installed 17,970 forbs and grasses, helping to restore 1,140 acres; 150 improving water quality.
Major funding from 3M Foundation, REI, and Xcel Energy Foundation, with additional support from Bailey Nurseries Foundation, Buuck Family Foundation, CenterPoint Energy, Canadian Pacific Railway, Hardenbergh Foundation, Nash Foundation, Terhuly Foundation, and the Union Pacific Foundation.

We are helping restore youth’s connection to the natural world, giving hope for a brighter future.


We help hundreds of young people every year become the stewards of tomorrow through hands-on activities in Science Area Teen Network, Summer Youth Job Corps and other service learning.

In 2013

  • 173 at-risk youth participated in our Science Area Teen Network or Summer Youth Job Corps.
  • In our Outdoor Classrooms, students worked with iPads, wildlife cameras, and GPS units and learned how technology can be used to better understand and monitor the natural world.
  • More than one quarter of the volunteers at our public events were under age 18.
Major funding from Andersen Corporate Foundation, Best Buy Children’s Foundation, Pentair Foundation, SEBA Foundation, Subaru of America Foundation and Tennant Foundation, as well as the Capitol Region Watershed District.

Take a walk through a park or green space in your neighborhood and see the impact that you and your neighbors have made.


The Metro Area program is the deepest of our conservation programs and engages the most volunteers. Over the years, tens of thousands of Individuals, families, and groups, from a large variety of Metro Area communities, join us to improve the ecological health and enhance the recreational experience of visitors to parks, natural areas, lakes and, rivers.

In 2013

  • Along with performing restoration, hundreds of volunteers took up our third Million Acorn Challenge, bringing us 137,000 acorns closer to that goal.
  • Great River Greening promoted the use of prescribed grazing as a restoration and management tool, bringing horses to Pilot Knob historic site and goats to Pine Bend Refinery’s Natural Area.  This historic practice brings prairies to life by using grazing animals to help control unwanted species.
Major funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund through the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, with additional funding from local communities.

Great River Greening is much more than Greening the Mississippi.


The Minnesota River program works at a subwatershed scale, in a collaborative, solution-oriented approach. The model facilitates local-scale action and individual farmers can see the results of this work.

In 2013 (157 acres)

  • Great River Greening and partners worked collaboratively with farmers on six different projects at Seven-Mile Creek, in Nicollet County, to implement practices to reduce impairments to water quality in the creek.
  • 157 watershed acres impacted; 49 tons of sediment and 102 pounds of phosphorous prevented from entering the stream annually.
  • Forged relationship with partners in three new agricultural watersheds.
Major funding from The McKnight Foundation, RBC Blue Water Project, and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, with additional funding from CHS Foundation, Clifbar Family Foundation, Minnesota Valley Electric, and Rahr Foundation.

We are leading major partnerships for even bigger conservation results.


The Anoka Sand Plain program is a partnership of conservation stakeholders, led by Great River Greening, with a goal to preserve this unique and valuable ecological treasure in east-central Minnesota that provides critical drinking water, unparalleled recreational opportunities, and essential habitat for nearly 100 rare plants and animals.

In 2013 (730 acres)

  • Great River Greening and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service completed Phase I of the country’s largest oak savanna restoration at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Zimmerman MN, where over the past 4 years, over 2,500 acres were restored.
  • The Anoka Sand Plain Partnership – led by Greening – concluded work associated with its first Outdoor Heritage Fund grant, restoring over 4,200 acres of critical wildlife habitat on 11 sites over the past 3 years.
Major funding from the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund through the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. Other funders include Connexus Energy, East Central Energy Trust, Great River Energy, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and National Wild Turkey Federation.

Imagine what we can do together on the ground now that our programs have grown state-wide.


The Wild & Scenic Rivers program helps protect the water quality of these most precious state-designated rivers by engaging landowners with easements along the rivers in stewardship and land management.

In 2013 (41 acres)

  • Last fall, we completed our largest riverbank restoration to date – along a 1,500 foot stretch of the Rum River in Isanti County. The project involved the installation of 275 cedar revetments to trap sediments, re-sloping the overhanging bank, and planting of 2,000 live willow stakes.
  • A second year of wild rice restoration along the Rum River resulted in the planting of 5 acres of oxbow backwaters within and adjacent to Becklin County Park and Wildlife Management Area near Cambridge.
  • Greening conducted its first restoration project on the Cannon River, holding a 75-person volunteer event and restoring 8 acres of floodplain forest near Cannon Falls.
Major funding from MN Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Shoreland Habitat Program, with additional funding from Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, ONEOK Foundation, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Private Lands Program.

Join us to do more in 2014! 

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