Organization restoring Nicollet Island habitat

The Friends of the Mississippi River is working to restore native prairie and forest and remove invasive species on Nicollet Island.

The organization is planning to improve habitat on more than 7 acres of open space and natural area on the 48-acre island, according to the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, which is funding the project.

Nicollet Island contains several undeveloped natural areas, across which invasive species such as buckthorn have spread, according to the MWMO. That spread has hastened erosion problems along the shoreline and has degraded the island’s ecology.

Restoring the lands will provide a healthier and more diverse habitat, improved recreation opportunities and better stormwater retention and infiltration, according to the MWMO.

A Friends of the Mississippi River ecologist will lead contractors in removing the invasive species and replacing them with native grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs, according to the MWMO. Those native species will provide better groundcover and stabilize the soil.

The agencies will also repair areas with damage from erosion and work with volunteers on ongoing management of the restoration areas.

The Friends of the Mississippi River received two grants from the MWMO for the work, including a $50,000 grant to implement the project. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board owns the project area.

MWMO project lead Marcy Bean said this project presented a good opportunity to restore the habitat and improve water quality. She noted that native plants have deeper root structures, which help stabilize soils.

Visit mwmo.org/projects/nicollet-island-restoration to learn about the project.

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