Environmental Designations for Central Park

As you will see, Central Park and the Nine Mile Creek Corridor is an ecologically important area. We all benefit when we protect these sites. The area is…

  • An MBS site of high biodiversity significance

  • A Metro Conservation Corridor

  • A Registered Natural Area

  • A Conservation Opportunity Area (as part of the Lower Minnesota River Valley)

  • Part of the Lower Minnesota River Valley Important Bird Area

  • A Regionally Significant Ecological Area

Restore the Nine believes these designations should be more than just words on paper: they should be used to protect the natural environment of the park.

Site of high biodiversity significance

The Nine Mile Creek Corridor and adjacent part of the Minnesota River Valley is a site of High biodiversity significance as determined by the Minnesota Biological Survey. The only other site with that rank in the city is Tierney’s Woods. 

Metro conservation corridor

In 1988, Minnesota’s voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The purpose of the Trust Fund is to provide a long-term, consistent, and stable source of funding for activities that protect and enhance Minnesota’s environment and natural resources for the benefit of current citizens and future generations.

One of the projects paid for by this fund was the creation of Metro Conservation Corridors (MeCC), which started in 2003.

Registered Natural Area

The DNR’s Natural Area Registry acknowledges that many of Minnesota's finest natural areas occur on public lands. The Registry is a way to recognize natural features of statewide ecological and geological significance on any public land in Minnesota. This voluntary agreement between the state and the municipality protects areas containing native plant communities, rare species and other outstanding natural features.

In 1982, the City of Bloomington entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the DNR to include a portion of Central Park on what was then called the Natural Heritage Registry to protect the rare plant, Besseya bullii, or kitten tails, that occurs there.

For more information about registered natural areas, go here.

The MOU between Bloomington and the DNR, dated 8/12/82, between Gene Kelly, Director of Parks and Recreation, and Douglas Wells of the DNR was found in the records of the Bloomington Historical Society.

October Color on Nine Mile Creek, by Robert Matheson. Used with permission.

Conservation Opportunity Area

The DNR’s Scientific and Natural Areas Strategic Land Protection Plan prioritizes lands to protect through designation as a Scientific & Natural Area (SNA). It also identifies and prioritizes areas for conserving biodiversity and rare natural resources.

The Plan describes Conservation Opportunity Areas to focus the work of the SNA Program, partners, and others in protecting biodiversity and rare features.

The entirety of Central Park is shown on the maps outlining the Lower Minnesota River Valley Conservation Opportunity Area.

For more info, go here.

For interactive map, go here.

Important Bird Area (IBA)

Audubon Important Bird Areas (IBAs) provide essential habitat breeding, wintering, and/or migrating bird species. The IBA program is designed to be science-based and works to identify, monitor and conserve the most essential habitats for birds.

The Lower Minnesota River Valley IBA is part of the Mississippi Flyway. 325 bird species and roughly 40% of shorebirds come through the Mississippi Flyway, the most-used bird migration path in North America, passing through the Twin Cities.  

The Lower Minnesota River Valley IBA regularly supports 50,000 waterfowl through spring and fall migration including 20 duck species. Over 260 species of birds have been recorded here, at least 100 of which are known to nest.

Central Park is part of this IBA.

More about Minnesota IBAs can be found here.

Regionally Significant Ecological Area (RSEA)

In 2003, the DNR conducted an assessment of the metro area to identify ecologically significant terrestrial and wetland areas. The assessment was updated in 2008. On a scale of 1 to 3, where 3 is the highest ecological ranking, Central Park is a 2-to-3. A number of rare species were also identified in the park.

For more info, go here. To see a map of all the RSEAs in the state, go here.


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