In response to growing concerns over water quality and the decline of pollinators, Great River Greening expanded our work in 2018 to protect Minnesota’s waterways and build diverse habitat for our pollinators.
Safeguarding ground and surface water in Greater MN
More restoration of natural areas in the watershed is planned as part of a larger effort by GRG, Trust for Public Land, and Cannon River Watershed Partnership to protect and improve the land and habitat in this fast developing area.
Volunteers worked in the Anoka Sand Plain, a unique and vulnerable ecological region that acts as a critical filter for the aquifer that provides the Twin Cities’ drinking water. They planted 210 mature trees and 7,500 wildflowers and grasses in Carlos Avery WMA and along the Rum River Shoreline that will improve filtering strength of the soil.
In Seven Mile Creek, in St. Peter, GRG continues to lead a partnership of farmers, government, business, and residents in finding environmental solutions in this agriculturally-rich region.
In 2018, we worked with a dozen landowners to use more than 2,200 acres of land to significantly reduce runoff, phosphorous, and nitrogen from their farms. Solutions included installing buffer strips and cover crops, such as rye, turnips and wheat, planted in between rows of corn or soybeans.
Creating habitat for bumble bees & other pollinators
In 20 favorite urban natural areas throughout the metro area, volunteers pulled invasive buckthorn and planted common milkweed, butterfly weed, wild white indigo, lupine and other native species that improve soil conditions and attract butterflies and other pollinators. The sites include:
- Lebanon Hills (Eagan)
- Crosby Farm (Saint Paul)
- Doyle Kennefick (Elko New Market)
- Westwood Hills Nature Center (St. Louis Park)
- Oheyawahe/Pilot Knob (Mendota Heights)
- MN River, near the MN Valley Wildlife Refuge (Bloomington)
- Minnehaha Creek (St. Louis Park)
Kicking off a Pollinator Seed Initiative
In Woodbury, 75 Volunteers planted 5,000 pollinator-friendly plants in a species-style format, on communal space nearby a school that will also feature education signage.
In Shakopee, Xcel day of service volunteers planted four acres at the Xcel Energy Blue Lake Generating Plant.
Other Initiative site partners include Dodge Nature Center, Dakota County, Xcel Energy, and Washington County. Support is from The Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation.
Connecting kids and teens to the outdoors
Students from Laura Jeffrey Academy spent an afternoon at Hidden Falls in Saint Paul as part of Field Learning for Teens, where they planted pollinator-friendly wildflowers and tested the water for healthy microvertebrates.
In our Field Learning for Teens Program, 277 teens spent the day in this outdoor classroom focused on introducing and educating youth of color about the science of restoration, green jobs, and the role they can play in caring for the environment.
FLT: Andersen Corporate Foundation, The Beim Foundation, Capitol Region Watershed District, Ecolab Foundation, Mortenson Family Foundation, Subaru of America Foundation, and Terracon Foundation
Seven Mile Creek and Agricultural Watersheds Program: Clif Bar Family Foundation, McKnight Foundation, New Belgium Brewing Company, and Rahr Corporation.
Feature photo: Doyle-Kennefick is a planned regional park located in Central Scott County that features prairie, wetland, and forest. Great River Greening is restoring it in partnership with Scott County. In 2018, 150 volunteers joined us to plant 5,000 pollinator-friendly wildflowers and grasses. (Credit: Bruce Nimmer)