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Appreciating the Minnesota River Valley

The Minnesota River Valley is one of Bloomington’s most beautiful and unique natural areas. The City-owned portion of the valley spans roughly 1,180 acres and includes wetlands, shallow lakes and flood plains. 

To enhance awareness and enjoyment of the Minnesota River Valley, the City created the Minnesota River Valley Natural and Cultural Systems Plan. It aims to ensure that City-owned land in the valley is used and managed in a manner that balances resource preservation with appropriate access and use. 

The plan identifies priority areas for resource enhancement based on six criteria staff and volunteers developed with the Sustainability Commission. A set of six management goals are also identified in the plan, including maintaining and enhancing existing accomplishments; reintroducing natural disturbances such as grazing, haying and prescribed burning; and providing education and awareness opportunities.

“How we manage the river valley today will determine whether we sustain the area’s rich natural heritage, biodiversity and ecosystem services,” Sustainability Commissioner Rob Bouta said. “While this plan is specific to the river valley, many of the goals and strategies are pertinent to all City parks and open spaces.”

The draft Minnesota River Valley Natural and Cultural Systems Plan was adopted by City Council on August 6. For more information or to read the plan, visit or contact the Planning Division at 952-563-8920 or