Minnesota's Legacy

Metro Big Rivers Phase 8

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust Inc; Friends of the Mississippi River; Great River Greening; MN Land Trust
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
In Progress
Start Date
July 2018
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2018, Ch. 208, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd 5(a)
Appropriation Language

$2,630,000 the second year is to the commissioner
of natural resources for agreements to acquire
lands in fee and permanent conservation easements
and to restore and enhance natural systems
associated with the Mississippi, Minnesota, and
St. Croix Rivers in the metropolitan area. Of this
amount, $500,000 is to Minnesota Valley National
Wildlife Refuge Trust Inc., $300,000 is to Friends
of the Mississippi River, $700,000 is to Great
River Greening, and $1,130,000 is to Minnesota
Land Trust. Up to $120,000 to Minnesota Land Trust
is to establish a monitoring and enforcement fund
as approved in the accomplishment plan and subject
to Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.056,
subdivision 17. A list of proposed land
acquisitions and permanent conservation easements
must be provided as part of the required
accomplishment plan.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

A network of natural land and riparian habitats will connect corridors for wildlife and species in greatest conservation need - Partners work together to identify priority lands using existing data and public plans, then coordinate protection, restoration and enhancement activities in those priority areas. Work builds upon prior phases and is intended to continue into the future for maximum impact. Mapping shows progress in connecting corridors. Species collections and counts measure impact of activities over time on wildlife and Species in Greatest Conservation Need..

Source of Additional Funds

Clean Water Funds, City of Rosemount, Browns Creek Watershed District, MVT funds, FMR, Local Government Partners, Foundation, Foundation, Private landowners, BWCD, MCWD, SWWD, Dakota County, Cities of Fridley, Rosemount, St. Louis Park, Mendota Heights, Andover, SWWD

Project Overview

Metro Big Rivers Phase 8 will protect 100 acres in fee title and 130 acres in permanent conservation easement, and enhance 700 acres of priority habitat in the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area. MBR partners will leverage the OHF appropriation by at least 40% with partner funds, private funds, local government contributions and Clean Water Funds, as well as landowner donations of easement value. Significant volunteer engagement will be invested in many habitat enhancement activities, although not technically counted as leverage. Another 50 acres will be acquired in fee title with leverage funds.

About the Issue

Metro Big Rivers Phase 8 will protect, restore, enhance and connect prioritized land habitats in the metropolitan area, with an emphasis on the three big rivers and their tributaries. The projects will benefit wildlife and species in greatest need of conservation (SGCN) and provide increased public access for wildlife-based recreation. The work is briefly described below. Please see the parcel list for additional detail.Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) will enhance 150 acres of forest at three sites along the Mississippi River:●William H. Houlton Conservation Area: Enhance 85 acres forest on an island in the Mississippi River.●Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park: Enhance 51 acres forest adjacent to Ravine Lake. ●Riverside Park: Enhance 14 acres forest along the Mississippi River.Great River Greening (GRG) will enhance 515 acres of prairie, oak savanna, forest and riverine habitat at 8 projects throughout the area:•Maple View Open Space: Enhance 19 acres of forest and wetland of new open space.•Springbrook Nature Center, Phase II: Enhance 31 acres of wetland.•Carrol’s Woods: Enhance 61 acres of oak forest.•Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Phase 2: Enhance 70 acres of oak savanna and woodland.•Valley Park Xcel Pollinator Corridor: Enhance 9 acres to a prairie pollinator corridor.•Minnehaha Creek Knollwood Riparian Corridor: Enhance 6 acre terrace forest.•Brown’s Creek Open Space: Enhance 13 acres of newly-acquired oak savanna complex.•Grey Cloud Slough, Phase 2: Enhance 2 miles (300 acres) of Mississippi River side channel habitat. Minnesota Land Trust (MLT) will protect through perpetual conservation easement 130 acres of priority wildlife habitat, including riparian lands, forests, wetlands and grasslands. Projects will be selected through a competitive RFP process that ranks proposals based on ecological significance and cost (criteria attached). MLT also will restore/enhance 35 acres of high quality natural communities on private lands already protected through permanent conservation easement. Properties selected are of high ecological significance, adjacent or in close proximity to public conservation investments (e.g., state parks, WMAs, streams and rivers) and owned by landowners who have a keen desire to manage these resources for conservation. Minnesota Valley Trust (MVT) will protect in fee 100 acres of river frontage, floodplain forest, wetland and upland habitat in the Minnesota River Valley to expand the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. An additional 50 acres will be acquired with other non-state funds. All prospective lands have been prioritized by the USFWS and are along or very near the Minnesota River. All lands will be restored or enhanced, then open to the public for wildlife-based recreation, including hunting and fishing.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
MN Valley Trust (Metro Big Rivers)
Street Address
3815 East American Boulevard
Zip Code
(612) 801-1935