National Wildlife Refuge
|3815 American Blvd. East
Bloomington, MN 55425
Phone Number: 952-854-5900
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|The refuge's wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl, such as this male wood duck.|
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is located within the urban and suburban areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is a green belt of large marsh areas bordered by office buildings, highways, residential areas, and grain terminals. The refuge is comprised of fourteen linear units totaling approximately 14,000 acres, spanning 99 miles of the Minnesota River.
The focal point of the refuge is the visitor center, which features 8,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 125-seat auditorium, two multi-purpose classrooms, a bookstore, an art gallery, and an observation deck. Environmental education and interpretation are conducted from this facility. Additional interpretive programs conducted by Park Rangers and volunteer naturalists are offered on numerous refuge unites. Recreational activities include hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and fishing.
"Refuge Friends Group, a non-profit organization, assists the Refuge with accomplishing it's mission."
Getting There . . .
From Interstate 494, exit 34th Avenue and head south. Proceed east on American Blvd East for 1/4 mile to the entrance on the right.
Metro Transit: Hiawatha Light Rail - Depart at the American Blvd/34th Avenue Station. Proceed east on American Blvd East for 1/4 mile to the entrance on the right.
Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:
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The refuge's Comprehensive Conservation Plan, completed in 2004, promotes "native species and natural processes." Wherever possible, refuge staff restore native species and mimic natural processes using periodic fire, flooding, and water draw-downs.
Former croplands in upland areas are seeded to native grasses and wildflowers. Periodic controlled burns deter invading trees and shrubs and reinvigorate native species. Refuge staff are restoring approximately 700 acres of historic oak savanna by removing shrubs and non-native trees to open the canopy and restoring the grassland component through prescribed burning.
The refuge contains approximately 2,300 acres of either existing or potential floodplain forest. Restoration activities are concentrated on former croplands, where natural regeneration of woody species is allowed to occur. Of particular importance is the regrowth of cottonwoods, which will provide nesting and roosting areas for bald eagles and other birds of prey 30-50 years from now.
The refuge also restores previously drained wetlands and manages water levels of marshes via water control structures. Periodic water draw-downs reduce populations of rough fish and reestablish favorable aquatic vegetation.