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Arboretum Wetland Restoration Project

Project Type:

Project Status: 
Boardwalk across Spring Peeper Meadow
About this project: 

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) participated in an educational research program coordinated by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The Spring Peeper Meadow Wetland Restoration project is located at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen. MCWD helped fund the restoration project. The project goals was to restore the wetland hydrology and native vegetation on the 20-acre wetland. The restored wetland includes trails and a boardwalk to provide a site for public learning, demonstrations, and research on wetland restoration. The project was completed in 1997.


The rapid growth of development in the Chanhassen, Chaska, and Victoria area has begun to create negative influences on the quality of the Arboretum, its programs, collections and gardens. Light industrial and commercial development and even intensive housing creates problems with water, air, noise and visual pollution, soil erosion, and negatively impacts the existing natural systems. To protect itself, the Arboretum developed a plan action which included purchasing of all lands within the boundaries of State Highway 5, Highway 41, 82nd Street and Bavaria Road. The highways are imposed barriers and as they are upgraded, become the logical boundaries of the Arboretum. Outside the highways the Arboretum will negotiate with the three cities to keep some visual and environmental controls on development. This project included the purchase of at least 30 acres of land within the projected Arboretum Boundary which was slated for light industrial, commercial, and high density residential development within the next year.

Educational Benefit

A model restored wetland was established for public learning experiences and on-going research into wetland restorations. It will serve as a model for anyone restoring or managing wetlands. Through the regeneration process visitors can learn about the wetland landscape; how wetlands benefit people and the environment; how people affect wetland quality, and how wetlands can be established and managed on a sustainable basis. The goals of this project are two-fold:

  1. To protect the biological and experiential quality of the Arboretum
  2. To create a model, research wetland for public display and education