Flint Hills Resources holds annual cleanup along Mississippi River

More than 80 volunteers from Flint Hills Resources, Friends of the Mississippi River, and Great River Greening continued restoration efforts on Nov. 3 along a section of the Mississippi River bluffs that is owned by Flint Hills Resources in Rosemount.

The volunteers removed buckthorn brush and opened and connected prairies on the bluffs, continuing the work that the three organizations have collaborated on since 2000. The goal of the annual event is to restore and reconstruct natural areas on the property.

Known as the Pine Bend Bluffs Natural Area, the 1,300 acres of natural prairie, savanna, and oak woodland provide critical habitat for both resident and migratory animals. Since the restoration project began, volunteers have worked to eliminate invasive plants and reclaim important habitat for the Mississippi River flyway, a migration corridor for millions of songbirds and 40 percent of North America’s waterfowl and shorebirds. Staff members from Flint Hills also monitor artificial bluebird nesting structures at the bluffs each year. This summer, 89 young bluebirds left their nests at Flint Hills, a company record.