Cleaner Water Starts on the Land: Campaign for Forests and Freshwaters Update

For the next five years, Great River Greening is committed to reducing pollution by at least 20% in threatened freshwaters, improving 20,000 acres of land that are degrading targeted Minnesota watersheds, and engaging 5,000 volunteers to do the work. Thanks to you, we are beginning to make significant progress statewide. Here are some updates on the Campaign so far.

Leading partnerships to develop conservation action plans
With state and federal funds, we have already initiated three restoration projects associated with floodplain forests along the Wild and Scenic Rum River in Isanti County. This body of work, led by Great River Greening with collaboration by Minnesota DNR, Minnesota Land Trust, Minnesota Forest Resources Council and others, will improve 1,960 feet of shoreline and 52 acres within the Rum River Watershed. Targeted outreach to landowners will result in future projects, and the program as a whole is a model for other state wild and scenic rivers.

Encouraging community participation in reducing water pollution
At Savage Fen Scientific and Natural Area, near Savage, and Seminary Fen SNA near Chanhassen, more than 100 volunteers helped Great River Greening remove more than 50 acres of invasive buckthorn, enabling native vegetation to thrive and in the process protecting a rare wetland resource. More than 100 volunteers also removed various invasive species at Ike’s Creek in Bloomington, helping to improve water quality at one of the few native trout streams in the heart of the Twin Cities metro. At another site, Becklin Homestead County Park and State Wildlife Management Area near Cambridge, nearly 100 volunteers planted oak seedlings which will play an important role in buffering the water quality of the Rum River.

Altogether in 2011, Great River Greening engaged more than 2,000 volunteers – including 626 youth – in water quality and habitat protection.