Landowner stewards key to preserving our natural legacy


Bruce and Linda Mickelson

Bruce and Linda Mickelson’s family owns several acres of agricultural land just north of Cambridge with a conservation easement on the Rum River. Their support is furthering Greening’s effort to protect the ecological health of one of Minnesota’s premier rivers.

Distinguished by its free-flowing conditions, water quality, and outstanding scenic values, the Rum River is a treasure to protect. Since 2010, Greening has worked to restore native plant communities, eroding riverbanks and wild rice populations along a critical stretch of the Rum, much of the activity occurring on privately-owned land; securing conservation partnerships with key landowners is critical for success.

Enter the Mickelsons.

Engaged and committed land stewards, Bruce and Linda responded to an invitation to participate in a private lands program run jointly by Greening and the MN DNR. That at led to last fall’s volunteer effort to plant 500 floodplain forest trees on their easement. Wild rice was also reintroduced to the river’s backwaters and this spring, Greening will be restoring 1,400 feet of seriously eroding riverbank on the property.

The Rum River is a statedesignated Wild and Scenic River that runs 89 miles from its source at Mille Lacs Lake before entering the Mississippi River at Anoka. Although it is a river with relatively clear waters, land use activities and invasive plant species are dramatically altering the landscape and pose a signifi cant risk to the “outstanding and remarkable values” for which the river was originally designated.

Along with support from Bruce and Linda Mickelson, the Rum River Program is made possible by the MN DNR Wild and Scenic Rivers Program; MN DNR Shorelands Program; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Centerpoint Energy; Connexus Energy; East Central Energy; ONEOK Partners; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by LCCMR,