The Empire Wastewater Treatment Plant is situated on a 400-property bordering the Vermillion River near Farmington, Minnesota, at the intersection of two important riparian wildlife corridors. A 50-acre degraded wet meadow at the site, drained for agriculture in the early 1900s, presented an excellent opportunity for a wetland restoration that would improve stormwater management and also create wetland credits for deposit in the Minnesota Wetland Bank.
With funding from the Metropolitan Council, the Friends of the Mississippi River hired AES’ consulting and field services to design and restore the site. To restore degraded wetland areas dominated by invasive reed canary grass, AES designed subtle berms and basins to cost-effectively restore the wetland’s hydrology and wetland character while facilitating enhanced filtration and infiltration of stormwater runoff before it reaches the Vermillion River. As part of this effort, AES staff implemented a large-scale native seeding initiative that involved local cooperatives and subcontractors.
Today, this high quality restored upland mesic prairie and wetland together provide habitat for a wide variety of species. These include the secretive and relatively uncommon sora (a marsh species) and dickcissel (a grassland species). A 2005 finalist in the land use category for the Minnesota Environmental Initiative Awards, the restoration is currently managed and maintained by AES using selective herbicide treatment, woody species removal, and prescribed burning.
- Restoration Planning and Management
- Wetland Restoration
- Invasive Plant Control
- Prescribed Burning
Empire Wetland Restoration
Empire Township, Minnesota