- Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a green belt of large marsh areas bordered by office buildings, highways, residential areas, and grain terminals.
The Refuge is comprised of eight linear units totaling 10,514 acres that extend along 34 miles of the Minnesota River. Habitats include riverine wetlands, fens, seeps, floodplain forests, oak savannas and forest, and native grasslands.
Over 250 species of birds use the area at some time during the year. Nearly 150 birds nest in the valley including bald eagles and peregrine falcons. The avian diversity is complemented by at least 50 species of mammals and 30 species of reptiles and amphibians.
The focal point of the Refuge is the Visitor Center, which features 8000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 125-seat auditorium, two multi-purpose classrooms, a bookstore, and an observation deck. Environmental education and interpretation are conducted from this facility. Recreational activities include hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and fishing.
The Refuge also manages a 13-county wetland management district. Remnant habitats found in this area include tallgrass prairie and prairie potholes.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is located within the urban and suburban areas of the Twin Cities.