Situated at the convergence of four prominent river systems, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area is blessed with a rich array of natural areas, parklands and riverways. These provide residents and visitors with major recreational opportunities, wildlife with essential migratory corridors and habitat, and state and local communities with economic vibrancy. For many, it is these public lands and waters that provide the only natural habitat they regularly encounter.
Great River Greening has its origins in the Twin Cities Metro Area and it is here that our roots run deepest, partnership base is strongest, and body of accomplishments most pronounced. Greening works in partnership with a large variety of conservation partners throughout the Metro – municipalities, counties, non-governmental organizations, federal and state agencies, corporations and private landowners – to restore ecological health to critical natural areas, parks and open spaces, brownfields and neglected areas, and lakes and streams. Through two major conservation partnerships (Metro Big Rivers Partnership and Metro Conservation Corridors; see below), we secure resources to protect, restore and enhance priority habitat for wildlife and the public.
- Protect and improve the health of native plant and wildlife populations and the forests, prairies and waters that support them.
- Improve water quality within waters of the Twin Cities Metro Area through practices to reduce erosion, stormwater runoff, and pollution.
- Enhance the recreational experience of visitors to Metro Area parks, natural areas, lakes and rivers.
- Through the Metro Conservation Corridors Partnership, Greening has restored 1,100 acres across 45 different sites
- Through the Metro Big Rivers Partnership, Greening has restored >300 acres since 2010.
- Nearly 30,000 volunteers have been engaged in restoration throughout the Metro region since 1995.
Andover: Martin’s Meadow Open Space
Bloomington: Ike’s Creek
Bloomington: Pond Dakota Mission Park
Fridley: Springbrook Nature Center
Inver Grove Heights: Heritage Village Park
Maplewood: Fish Creek Open Space
Mendota Heights: Valley Park
Mendota Heights: Pilot Knob
New Prague: Cedar Lake Regional Park
Oak Grove: Cedar Creek Conservation Area
Prior Lake: Spring Lake Regional Park
Shorewood: Freeman Park
Saint Paul: Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary
Savage: Hidden Valley Park
Woodbury: Woodbury Conservation Corridor
Program partners include a broad suite of local, state, and federal units of government with whom we collaborate on individual projects. In addition, we collaborate on securing resources to protect, restore and enhance priority habitat for wildlife and the public through two major partnerships:
Metro Big Rivers Partnership
A partnership of five experienced nonprofit conservation organizations – Friends of the Mississippi River, Great River Greening, Minnesota Land Trust, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc. and Trust for Public Land – the Metro Big Rivers Partnership (established in 2009) protects, restores and enhances high priority wildlife habitat within the three big river corridors in the Twin Cities metro area – the Minnesota, Mississippi and St. Croix.
Metro Conservation Corridors Partnership
Established in 2003, the Metro Conservation Corridors Partnership accelerates protection and restoration of remaining high-quality natural lands in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area by strategically coordinating and focusing conservation efforts within a connected network of critical lands. To date, the Partnership has protected and restored over 10,000 acres and 8,000 acres within the Twin Cities Metro Area, respectively.
Major Funding to support Twin Cities Metro Program activities has been provided by Board of Soil and Water Resources; Minnesota DNR Shorelands Program; Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund (as recommended by the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources); and Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund (as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council).