Learn how to protect the environment

As we get out and make tracks, let’s remember our footprint. Three Rivers is dedicated to preserving native plant communities, wildlife diversity, and water quality throughout the region. With your help, Three Rivers will inspire a future generation of environmental stewards.

Natural Resources

The Three Rivers Park District Natural Resources Management department is responsible for restoring and protecting natural resources—such as native plant communities, wildlife diversity and water quality—in Three Rivers' park reserves and regional parks. Our Natural Resources section includes Forestry Management, Horticulture and Landscape Management, Water Resources Management, and Wildlife Management.

The Three Rivers policy for the planning and management of natural resources allows no more than 20 percent of a park reserve to be developed for active use and requires that at least 80 percent of the park reserve be restored to and retained in a natural state.

In keeping with this policy, Three Rivers is actively involved in the preservation and restoration of wildlife and plant species.

The Park District’s 27,000 acres of parkland includes 43 lakes, more than 30 miles of rivers and streams and over 8,000 acres of wetlands.

Three Rivers is committed to restoring the environment, including planting forests. Most native forests in the region were cleared for agriculture by the turn of the twentieth century. Three Rivers is working to restore these plant communities.

Three Rivers Park District is the largest manager of prairie habitat in the Twin Cities area and has restored approximately 1,600 acres in the metro area.

Three Rivers maintains wildlife populations through habitat management, reintroductions, and management of species of special concern, population control, and general monitoring.

From rain gardens, to pollinator gardens, native landscapes, to public gardens, the horticulture program contributes to the health and beautification of Park District properties and the education of park users. 

Three Rivers rapidly responds to the challenges of invasive species through early detection and prevention, guided by an Invasive Species Plan.

Environmental stewardship is a long-standing hallmark of the Three Rivers Park District’s mission. In 2009, the Board of Commissioners approved sustainability targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), waste generation, and groundwater use.

Learn how climate change is impacting wildlife, recreation and more in Three Rivers.

The Wandering Naturalist

Episodes 57–59: Farming

Learn about agriculture in Minnesota from the past to the future. Hear from a Seneca Elder, learn about the origins of the dairy industry in the Midwest, and listen as Gale Woods Farm staff discuss the future of farming.

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Foraging has become more popular as people are looking for local native plants to add to their diets for health and economic reasons. However, many public land agencies, including Three Rivers, have a variety of restrictions on foraging or collecting natural objects. Read on to learn why foraging isn't allowed in the parks and how you can help continue to protect natural resources.

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By: Erin Korsmo

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Keeping bird feeders is a rewarding experience. Read on to learn why you should consider keeping feeders and how to get started at home.

Volunteer

There are plenty of ways to volunteer in cooperation with the Three Rivers Department of Natural Resources. Put your time to good use by helping to protect and enrich our earth!

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