Science museum

Partners in Protection Announce Conservation of Science Museum Lands

The efforts will not only preserve the land, but also support ongoing watershed research.

Spring Creek at St. Croix Watershed Research Station. (Katelin Goebel)

At the Science Museum of Minnesota’s St. Croix Watershed Research Station, groundwater bubbles up to the surface through a “boiling sand spring.” Native plant communities such as cold-water wetlands, oak forests, and restored grasslands are home to many of Minnesota’s species in greatest need of conservation. A clear, cold creek is home to brook trout, a surprising sight in Washington County. And as of March 15, Washington County and the Minnesota Land Trust entered into a conservation easement to forever protect the remarkable land found on the museum station and its surrounding property.

The project provides current and future environmental benefits to residents of Washington County and the State of Minnesota, and provides a foundation for continued Science Museum research. As Minnesota Land Trust Executive Director Kris Larson notes, this “not only protects the water resources and wildlife habitats on the property, but it will also allow the research station to continue its essential scientific work for decades to come.” to come. We salute the vision and leadership of the Science Museum; it’s a significant win-win for the people of Minnesota.

Protecting these lands helps maintain clean, healthy water. It preserves drinking water for Washington County residents and protects beautiful scenery and water recreation sites on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The property’s boiling sand spring is a vivid reminder of what’s at stake in keeping the natural land free of contaminants: this underground water source is so close to the surface that you can see it. The cold temperatures and rich biodiversity found in the spring-fed creek and wetlands on the property speaks to the quality of the water and the urgent need to protect it for plants, animals and humans. that depend on it and its connected water systems.

It also helps maintain a vital asset in the Science Museum of Minnesota‘s research program. Museum researchers use these facilities to examine data collected in Minnesota, the United States and the rest of the world to better understand and manage ecosystem threats, from invasive species such as “rock snot” (a muddy algae) in Minnesota’s waterways at climate mint.

The terrain surrounding the station is itself a valuable research resource. According to the director of the museum’s water and climate change department, Adam Heathcote, “the natural lands included in this easement will continue to function as a field laboratory for scientific research and as a reserve for native flora and fauna. who inhabit it.”

Maintaining the original quality of the territory is therefore doubly important. Heathcote continues: ‘While access to the St. Croix Catchment Research Station will continue to be reserved primarily for private research purposes, the wildlife habitat and water quality benefits of the preservation of these lands will benefit all Minnesotans who appreciate the natural beauty of the Holy Cross. Valley and want to see it protected for future generations.

This conservation easement was made possible by members of the Minnesota Land Trust and funding from Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature and recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) . Funding was also provided by the Washington County Land and Water Legacy Program, a voter-approved referendum bond for the preservation of water quality, forests, and other natural areas.