Vadnais-Sucker Park Habitat Restoration

Quick Facts:

  • Great River Greening is leading this restoration effort with essential support from project partners.
  • Sucker and East Vadnais Lakes are drinking water reservoirs for the Saint Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS). This restoration project is made possible with SPRWS partnership as the landowners of the park.
  • Plants that have been spotted in the park include Tamarack, Bluebead Lily, Pink Ladyslipper, and a variety of native ferns. (Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas/U of M Bell Museum)
  • River otters are also documented using the area lakes and wetlands. Visit our Otter Spotter and Remote Camera StoryMaps for more info.
  • Habitats in the park include forested and open rich peatland, marsh, mesic and wet forest, and wet meadow-carr.
  • Ramsey County Parks is restoring a woodland area nearby including the removal of ash trees infected with emerald ash borer.
  • Past efforts at the Vadnais-Sucker Lake Regional Park include a Sucker Channel restoration, tracking of trumpeter swan deaths due to lead poisoning, and a lead drop box partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Ramsey County.
  • Wetlands in general are often linked to other surface water and groundwater systems.


Funding for this project is provided by the MN DNR Outdoor Heritage Fund. Great River Greening received the grant and is the lead for the restoration. VLAWMO, Saint Paul Regional Water Services, Ramsey County Parks and Recreation, and Minnesota Native Landscapes (MNL) also serve as local project partners.

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Reason for Project:

Wetland connections between waterways are important for treating water and improving water quality in lakes. Areas of the wetland system within Vadnais-Sucker Lake Regional Park are a priority because they are identified by the MN DNR as containing pre-European settlement plant communities, which are important for Minnesota’s natural and cultural history.

Invasive buckthorn encroaches into the park’s wetlands, limiting ecosystem function. Buckthorn is widely established in the Vadnais-Sucker Lake Regional Park. Buckthorn creates dense, heavily shaded stands that crowd out native vegetation and chemically alter the soil composition. As the dense shade and changes to soil chemistry expose an open ground layer, the soil becomes more susceptible to erosion, particularly during rain events and spring snowmelt.


Project began in winter, 2023.

The restoration is conducted in phases:

  • Removal and treatment of invasive common and glossy buckthorn
  • Follow-up treatment of buckthorn regrowth
  • Reseeding and planting of ecologically appropriate species
  • Continuing with monitoring and maintenance
  • Note that restoration activities may temporarily impact trail access in the park during times when contractors are active on the site


Restoration will support native plant communities, improve habitat quality, and increase climate resiliency in the local area.

Sense of Place: 

A series of education signs are placed on-site at the park for late summer and fall, 2023. The signs cover the importance of the restoration effort, wetlands, watersheds, and also include local history of the park and the region from pre-European settlement. The series concludes with an invite to contribute to the community reflection with our Sense of Place survey. VLAWMO will share these findings on its social media (Facebook, Instagram @VLAWMO) at the end of 2023. 

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Birch Lake Aquatic Invasive Species Efforts

Efforts to remove Eurasian Watermilfoil and Curly-leaf Pondweed

4th and Otter Woodland Restoration

A woodland restoration at a key location adjacent to Birch Lake in White Bear Lake.

Birch Lake Sand-Iron Stormwater Filter

An iron-enhanced sand filter at the intersection of 4th St. and Otter Lake Road. The filter helps reduce nutrients entering Birch Lake with stormwater runoff.

Birch Lake North Shoreline Restoration

A 150 foot stretch of lakeshore on Birch Lake, in White Bear Lake was improved in the summer of 2010. In 2011-2012, an additional 700 feet of shoreline was restored on either side of the original planting area.

Charley Lake Channel Restoration

The channel between Charley Lake and Pleasant Lake in North Oaks was showing signs of serious erosion.

Deep Lake Channel Restoration

This project will restore approximately 125 feet of shoreline in the Deep Lake Channel, just before it enters Pleasant Lake. The project will be completed in Fall 2015.
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