Environmental Stewardship

Mississippi Park Connection partners with the National Park Service to restore river habitat and protect our natural spaces within the park corridor and beyond. From the restoration of Coldwater Spring to the Emerald Ash Borer Impacts Study to leadership efforts with the Stop Carp Coalition, environmental stewardship is a top priority in our organization.

Plant For the Future
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area’s urban forest faces increasing pressure from invasive pests, a changing climate, and challenges with regeneration. As the park faces these challenges, Mississippi Park Connection is committed to building resilience in the urban forest through new and ongoing environmental stewardship initiatives.

Community Tree Nurseries
In front of the Science Museum of Minnesota sits a community tree nursery housing anywhere from 75 to 100 young trees at a time. The purpose of the gravel bed tree nursery is to enable the trees’ root stock volume to increase, thus increasing survival rates of the trees. As the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area faces the impending loss of its ash trees, projects like the gravel bed nursery are helping us prepare for a greener tomorrowMore information.

Emerald Ash Borer Impacts Study
In 2009 Minnesota was added to the growing list of states that have become reluctant homes to the invasive pest, Emerald Ash Borer. These larvae feed on the inner bark of white, black, and green ash trees, disrupting and eventually killing the tree. Urban Forestry Specialist, Dan Wattenhofer, is working to assess the state of the threatened ash tree population within Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, identify successful management practices, and determine the best adaptation strategies. This project will also examine the impacts of the diminishing ash tree population in terms of recreational value, carbon storage, erosion control, and wildlife habitat. More information.

Cottonwood Restoration Project
Cottonwoods are ecologically valuable for many reasons, but a recent study has shown they are not regenerating in the Mississippi River floodplain. To address this issue, Mississippi Park Connection, together with the National Park Service, spent two years studying to find a solution to this issue. More information.

Coldwater Spring Restoration
Coldwater Spring sits between Minnehaha Falls Regional Park and Fort Snelling State Park. Previously home to the Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Research Center, the National Park Service acquired responsibility for the property in 2010 and has since worked with Mississippi Park Connection to restore the area to an oak savanna prairie landscape. Over the years, our environmental stewardship efforts at Coldwater Spring have transformed the area from a former  More information.

Stop Carp Coalition
In 2011, Mississippi Park Connection funded e-DNA studies of the Mississippi River that showed that invasive carp were a threat to our river’s ecosystem. Since then, our organization has taken a lead on a public awareness campaign about the carp, specifically targeting boaters, anglers, and sportsmen. We joined the Stop Carp Coalition to work with other partners on the river to pass legislation in 2014 that closed the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock in June of 2015. To learn more about the efforts of the coalition, visit the Stop Carp Coalition website.