Celebrating World Wetlands Day at Coldwater Spring

Alora K. Jones, Marketing and Communications Associate, Mississippi Park Connection

After last summer’s BioBlitz event, we all know that the wetlands at Coldwater Spring are faring much better than they once were. But how do they compare to others in the metro area?

Volunteers take samples from the reservoir at Coldwater Spring

Thanks to Hennepin County’s Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP), we now have some answers. An ongoing project for the last twenty or so years, WHEP has worked with citizen scientists to collect data about the different organisms living in wetlands across the county. Made possible by over 90 volunteers who donated more than a thousand hours to the project, comparative data is now available! So here’s what we learned:

Of the eight natural wetlands at Coldwater Spring, two were included in the study: one adjacent to the springhouse and reservoir, the other just east of there toward the Mississippi River Trail. Both are doing great!

The first had shown the highest ranking in invertebrate score among those surveyed, meaning this wetland demonstrated a greater diversity of invertebrates, which is a key indicator for wetland health. The second, where the old library used to be circa Bureau of Mines, tied only with one wetland in Eden Prairie for highest vegetation score, meaning greater diversity in plant species.

Volunteer holding a specimen from a dragonfly survey

Of course, conservation is not a contest. But it’s worth celebrating the fact that efforts to restore Coldwater Spring to its natural state have produced such results in just five short years. And we think that’s kind of a big deal.

Volunteers in front of the spring house at Coldwater Spring

Want to get involved with restoration at Coldwater Spring? Contact our volunteer coordinator for more information!

Mary Hammes