U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

Minnesota Valley
National Wildlife Refuge

male wood duck on the water
3815 American Blvd. East
Bloomington, MN   55425
E-mail: minnesotavalley@fws.gov
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.
Gray horizontal line
Continued . . .

Some ten thousand years ago, the wide-spanning glaciers of the Ice Age melted into torrential rivers, the largest being the impressive River Warren. River Warren, now long gone, was replaced by the Minnesota River, a mere stream by comparison. The Minnesota, which meanders through the enormous trenches left behind by the ancestral River Warren, spans the entire state before converging into the Mississippi.

The luxurious valley of the Minnesota River shares its history with the Dakotah Indians, whose villages were once scattered along her banks. Later, trading posts and farms sprang up along the river and, all too soon, more settlers arrived, creating towns and cities along her route. Mercifully, the floodplain remained almost untouched by development.

In 1934, Theodore Wirth, recognizing this verdant treasure, helped launch a plan to preserve a large expanse of the lower Minnesota River Valley. However, World War II interrupted this initiative, and it was not until the 1970s that a group of citizens picked up the banner for the preservation of the valley, then threatened by development. Through these citizens' efforts, legislation was enacted in 1976 to establish the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

This urban refuge is built along a 99-mile corridor of the Minnesota River, much of it running through the metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The refuge uniquely affords a large metropolitan populace wide expanses of marshes and floodplain forests offering superb birding, wildlife viewing and outdoor education and recreation experiences.

- Back -