The natural history of Minnesota covers many plant and animal species in the U. S. state of Minnesota. The continental climate and location of Minnesota at the physiographic intersection of the Laurentian and the Interior Plains influences its plant and animal life. Three of North America's biomes converge in Minnesota: prairie grasslands in the southwestern and western parts of the state, the eastern temperate deciduous forests in the east-central and the southeast and the coniferous forest in the north-central and northeast. An ecoregion is an area uniquely defined by natural features. Ecoregions in Minnesota were influenced by the unique glacial history, soil type, land use, climate of the state; the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, World Wildlife Fund maintain separate classifications of the state's ecoregions. Although different, they agree on delineating between the coniferous forest in the north-central portion and the Arrowhead, a temperate deciduous forest in the central and southeast, the tallgrass prairie in the southern and western portions of the state.
The northern coniferous forests are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce trees mixed with patchy stands of birch and poplar. Much of Minnesota's northern forest has been logged, leaving only a few patches of old-growth forest today in areas such as in the Chippewa National Forest and the Superior National Forest where the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has some 400,000 acres of unlogged land. Although logging continues, regrowth keeps about one third of the state forested. Flora listed as threatened on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service list of endangered species include the Prairie bush-clover, the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid, Leedy's roseroot. Dwarf trout lily is listed as endangered. While loss of habitat and over harvest has affected native animals such as the pine marten, elk and the boreal woodland caribou whitetail deer and bobcat thrive; the state has the nation's largest population of timber wolves outside Alaska, supports healthy populations of black bear and moose.
Located on the Mississippi Flyway, Minnesota hosts migratory waterfowl such as geese and ducks, game birds such as grouse and turkeys. It is home to birds of prey including the bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, snowy owl; the lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye and largemouth bass and northern pike, streams in the southeast are populated by brook and rainbow trout
The Red River Valley is a region in central North America, drained by the Red River of the North. Forming the border between Minnesota and North Dakota when these territories were admitted as states in the United States, this fertile valley has been important to the economies of these states and to Manitoba, Canada; the population centers of Moorhead, Minnesota and Grand Forks, North Dakota, Winnipeg, Manitoba developed in the valley as settlement by ethnic Europeans increased in the late nineteenth century. Completion of major railroads, availability of cheap lands, extinguishing of Indian land claims attracted many new settlers; some developed large-scale agricultural operations known as bonanza farms, which concentrated on wheat commodity crops. Paleogeographic Lake Agassiz laid down the Red River Valley Silts; the valley was long an area of habitation by various indigenous cultures, including the historic Ojibwe and Métis peoples. The river flows north through a wide ancient lake plain to Lake Winnipeg.
The geography and seasonal conditions can produce devastating floods, with several recorded since the mid-20th century. French fur traders had relations with First Nations and Native Americans throughout the Great Lakes region, they lived with the tribes and married or had relations with native women. By the mid-17th century, the Métis, descendants of these Frenchmen and Cree tribes people, settled in the Red River valley; the Métis established an ethnicity and culture, as many continued a tradition as hunters and traders involved in the fur trade. They were farmers in this area; the British took over French territory east of the Mississippi River following its victory in the Seven Years' War. In the early 19th century, the lucrative fur trade attracted continuing interest, Lord Selkirk established the Red River Colony. In 1803 the United States acquired former French territory west of the Mississippi River in the Louisiana Purchase from France; this included some of the Red River Valley. The U.
S. government uses the term Red River Valley to describe the sections of northwestern Minnesota and northeastern North Dakota to which it secured title following the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 that settled the northern boundary of the US and Canada. This land became part as the second article of the 1818 treaty declared the 49th parallel to be the official border between the U. S. and Canada up to the Rocky Mountains. The land acquired under the treaty had an area of 29,066,880 acres, comprising 1.3 percent of total U. S. land area. Centered on the Red River of the North, these lands had been under the control of Great Britain. West of the Red River Valley, the territory of the Louisiana Purchase, which the US acquired from France, extends north of the 49th parallel; the US ceded this to Britain in exchange for gaining the Red River Valley. These northernmost parts of the Louisiana Purchase are one of the few North American territories ceded by the United States to a foreign power; the four factors make the Red River Valley so prone to flooding: Synchrony of Discharge with Spring Thaw: The Red River flows northward.
The spring thaw proceeds northward. As a result, runoff from the southern portion of the valley joins the fresh melt-off waters from northerly areas along the Red River. In the northern part of the Valley, this can result in devastating floods if the effects occur at the same time. Ice Jams: These are produced because of the northward-flowing river system. Ice is moving from the southern Valley and freshly-broken ice is moving from the central and northern Valley; these two meet steadily. Glacial Lake Plain: The floor of Glacial Lake Agassiz is one of the flattest expanses of land in the world. Here, the Red River has cut a winding valley; as a result of this, when the river floods on this plain, a devastating event can occur. The areal coverage of the waters can become dramatic. Being 9,300 years old, the Red River has not yet carved a large valley-floodplain system on the surrounding geography. Thus, the large lake plain becomes the floodplain to this river. Decrease in Gradient Downstream: The gradient, or slope, of the Red River averages 5 inches per mile of length.
In the region of Drayton-Pembina, the gradient is only 1.5 inches per mile. The water tends to pool in this area during flood season; the region can become a shallow lake. Treaty of 1818 Pembina Region Red River Colony Sheyenne River Shellmouth Reservoir Portage Diversion Red River Floodway Old Crossing Treaty Métis people RiverWatchOnline: Red River History
The Boundary Waters called the Quetico-Superior country, is a region of wilderness straddling the Canada–United States border between Ontario and Minnesota, in the region just west of Lake Superior. This region is part of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota, in Canada it includes La Verendrye and Quetico Provincial Parks in Ontario. Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota may be considered part of the Boundary Waters; the name "Boundary Waters" is used in the U. S. to refer to the U. S. Wilderness Area protecting its southern extent, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; the Boundary Waters region is characterized by a vast network of waterways and bogs within a glacially-carved landscape of Precambrian bedrock covered in thin soils and boreal forests. The Boundary Waters is a popular destination for recreationalists pursuing camping and fishing as well as for those looking for natural scenery and relaxation; the area is one of several distinct regions of Minnesota. The following communities are located anywhere from two to twenty miles from the boundary waters: Ely, Grand Marais, Tofte in Minnesota and Atikokan in Ontario.
Protected areas in the Boundary Waters region in Minnesota include Superior National Forest, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park and Grand Portage National Monument. Protected areas in Ontario include La Verendrye provincial parks. International Boundary Waters Treaty Sigurd F. Olson Calvin Rustrum Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Boundary Waters History Boundary Waters travel guide from Wikivoyage
Central Minnesota is the region consisting of the central portion of the state of Minnesota. Although no specific boundaries of the region exist, most definitions of what makes up the region would consist of the vast swath of land north of Interstate 94, east of U. S. Highway 59, south of U. S. Highway 2, west of U. S. Highway 169; the northern portion of the region contains many softwood forests, including the expansive Chippewa National Forest. The western and southern portions of the region, are dotted with rolling prairie, as such, contain the largest agricultural operations in the region; the eastern part of the region contains a great deal of both hardwood and softwood forests, once had rich iron ore deposits. The now-depleted Cuyuna Range, which formed the southwestern border of the large Iron Range region of Minnesota, was located near Crosby and Ironton at the eastern edge of the region. One thing the entire region of central Minnesota has in common, however, is its abundance of lakes.
Indeed, many of the lakes that make Minnesota the "land of 10,000 lakes" can be found in the central part of the state. A typical image conjured up of central Minnesota is to include the many large and small lakes that surround the central Minnesota cities of St. Cloud, Alexandria and Grand Rapids. Two lakes situated within the region, Mille Lacs Lake, with an area of 206 mi², Leech Lake, with an area of 175 mi², are the second and third largest lakes located within Minnesota; the Mississippi River winds extensively through the region from its source at Lake Itasca. Area high school athletic conferences acknowledge the region's location and natural geography with names including Central Lakes, Granite Ridge, Great River, Heart O'Lakes, Mid-State, Pine to Prairie; the economy of central Minnesota, like that of the United States as a whole, has shifted from agriculture and mining to industry and service in recent years. Agriculture is still important in the region, however in the southern and western part of the region, where the land and soil is conducive to growing crops such as corn and soybeans.
Dairy farms dot the region in areas where crops cannot be grown, but their numbers have been drastically dwindling in recent years. Paper companies own expansive amounts of land in the forested eastern and northern parts of the region, though the peak of logging activity has long passed. Paper production mills still continue to be operated, however, in the towns of Brainerd, Grand Rapids, Sartell. Tourism has become a important industry in the region in the last few decades, fueled by the enormous number of lakes in the area. Many of the region’s cities see their populations swell in the summer, when people from the larger metropolitan areas of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Duluth and Grand Forks come to enjoy fishing and other outdoor activities on the region’s lakes; the cluster of lakes around Brainerd, which have made the area known as the "Brainerd Lakes Area" are the most well known, thanks in part to the many residents of the Twin Cities who own cabins or land either on or near the area’s biggest lakes.
In addition, several esteemed resorts are located on the area’s large Gull Lake. The ethnic makeup of central Minnesota is representative of the first settlers who came to the region. People of German and Scandinavian heritage by far make up the majority of the region’s residents, though there is a sizable Native American population. Two of the state’s largest reservations, the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and the White Earth Indian Reservation, are located within the boundaries of central Minnesota. In addition, the small Mille Lacs Indian Reservation is located within the region, along the southshores of Mille Lacs Lake, from near the city of Garrison to Isle. Although the 1996 film Fargo and its television series are set in the region’s cities of Brainerd and Bemidji, the accents of those living in central Minnesota are not nearly as pronounced as those in the franchise; the central Minnesotan dialect can be said to be analogous to that of the entire Upper Midwest. Central Minnesota is home to one MSA and one μSA.
St. Cloud MSA Saint Cloud Sartell Sauk Rapids Waite Park St. Joseph St. Augusta Brainerd μSA Brainerd Baxter Other Central Minnesota cities include: Bemidji Fergus Falls Alexandria Detroit Lakes Little Falls Central Minnesota is home to the following colleges and universities: Four-year colleges Bemidji State University College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University St. Cloud State UniversityTwo-year colleges Alexandria Technical and Community College Central Lakes College Minnesota State Community and Technical College Northwest Technical College St. Cloud Technical and Community College Notable people who hail from central Minnesota, with the names of cities they grew up in listed in parentheses, include: Judy Garland Brian Kobilka Charles Lindbergh Sinclair Lewis Eugene McCarthy Gig Young Lesley J. McNair Exploreminnesota.com guide to cities in central portion of state Charles Lindbergh State Historic Site Judy Garland Museum Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers Alexandria Convention and Visitors Bureau Bemidji Convention and Visitors Bureau Brainerd Convention and Visitors Bureau Detroit Lakes Convention and Visi
The Coteau des Prairies is a plateau 200 miles in length and 100 miles in width, rising from the prairie flatlands in eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa in the United States. The southeast portion of the Coteau comprises one of the distinct regions of Minnesota, known as Buffalo Ridge; the flatiron-shaped plateau was named by early French explorers from New France, coteau meaning "hill" in French. The plateau is composed of thick glacial deposits, the remnants of many repeated glaciations, reaching a composite thickness of 900 feet, they are underlain by a small ridge of resistant Cretaceous shale. During the last Ice Age, two lobes of the Laurentide glacier, the James lobe on the west and the Des Moines lobe on the east, appear to have parted around the pre-existing plateau and further deepened the lowlands flanking the plateau; the plateau has numerous small glacial lakes and is drained by the Big Sioux River in South Dakota and the Cottonwood River in Minnesota.
Pipestone deposits on the plateau have been quarried for hundreds of years by Native Americans, who use the prized, brownish-red mineral to make their sacred ceremonial pipes. The quarries are located at Pipestone National Monument in the southwest corner of Minnesota and in adjacent Minnehaha County, South Dakota. Numerous wind farms have been built on the area to take advantage of the high average wind speeds. Missouri Plateau USGS Site on the Coteau des Prairies Glacial History of Coteau des Prairies
Apple Valley is a city in northwestern Dakota County in the State of Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 49,084, making it the 18th most populous city in Minnesota. In 2013, Money Magazine named Apple Valley the 17th best place to live in the United States, up from 20th in 2010, 24th in 2008 and 28th in 2007. Apple Valley was founded in 1969, was named Lebanon Township. Orin Thompson, a real estate developer, was responsible for the city's early development, he contracted a company to determine. It was one-half of a mile from County Road Cedar Avenue. Thompson bought the first houses and streets from the Brobacks, who built the city's first four houses; the firm that selected this area was in Apple Valley, California, so Thompson took that name for the development. An alternate explanation for the name change exists, however. According to local developer Henry Broback, Lebanon Township was renamed Apple Valley because "...when you drive east on 42 and turn to enter Lebanon, it reminded them of Apple Valley, a nice community."
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.57 square miles, of which 16.86 square miles is land and 0.71 square miles is water. The city's geography is rolling, with elevation from the lowest to the highest points in the city varying by a hundred feet or more; the downtown area and its adjacent residential district are in a shallow valley. A lot of the area around Apple Valley contains large quarries. Apple Valley is in Minnesota's 2nd congressional district, represented by a Democrat. Apple Valley is represented in the Minnesota Legislature by State Senator Greg Clausen, Representative Robert Bierman, Representative John Huot; as of the census of 2010, there were 49,084 people, 18,875 households, 13,382 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,911.3 inhabitants per square mile. There were 19,600 housing units at an average density of 1,162.5 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 83.8% White, 5.5% African American, 0.4% Native American, 5.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.0% from other races, 3.0% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.9% of the population. There were 18,875 households of which 35.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, 29.1% were non-families. 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.07. The median age in the city was 37.9 years. 25.4% of residents were under the age of 18. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female. As of the census of 2000, there were 45,527 people, 16,344 households, 12,405 families residing in the city; the population density was 2,625.5 people per square mile. There were 16,536 housing units at an average density of 953.6 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 91.81% White, 1.91% African American, 0.29% Native American, 3.39% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.88% from other races, 1.69% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.00% of the population. There were 16,344 households out of which 42.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.7% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 24.1% were non-families. 19.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.0% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.21. In the city, the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, 5.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males. For several years, the city's population was among the fastest growing in Minnesota, but it has exhausted the amount of additional buildable land within city limits, so its growth has slowed since 1990; the median income for a household in the city was $69,752, the median income for a family was $79,335.
Males had a median income of $50,636 versus $33,315 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,477. About 1.1% of families and 2.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.0% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over. According to Apple Valley's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are: Apple valley hosts an annual July 4 festival called "Apple Valley Freedom Days" Festivities include one of the areas biggest parades that features local marching bands, service organizations, many local businesses. There is a carnival and a fireworks display during the event. In the February the city hosts the Apple Valley Winter Carnival. Events include ice skating, a medallion hunt and children events. Apple Valley is home to the Minnesota Zoo, a nationally recognized zoological garden that houses hundreds of animals from several disti
The Northwest Angle, known as the Angle by locals, coextensive with Angle Township, is a part of northern Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota. Except for minor surveying errors, it is the only place in the United States outside Alaska, north of the 49th parallel, which forms the border between the U. S. and Canada from the Northwest Angle westward to the Strait of Georgia. The land area of the Angle is separated from the rest of Minnesota by Lake of the Woods, but shares a land border with Canada, it is one of only six non-island locations in the 48 contiguous states that are practical exclaves of the U. S, it is the northernmost township in Minnesota and contains the northernmost point in the contiguous 48 states. The unincorporated community of Angle Inlet is located in the Northwest Angle. Seventy percent of the land of the Angle is held in trust by the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Although the Angle is listed as one of several distinct regions of Minnesota, its total population was 119 at the 2010 census.
The area is water and the land is forest. Angle Township was designated as territory of the United States because negotiators of the initial Canada–US border misunderstood the geography of the area. Benjamin Franklin and British representatives relied on the Mitchell Map of colonial American geographer John Mitchell, which did not indicate the source of the Mississippi River—thought to lie some distance to the northwest—or the true shape of Lake of the Woods, instead shown as oval; the 1783 Treaty of Paris thus stated that the boundary between U. S. territory and the British possessions to the north would run "...through the Lake of the Woods to the northwestern-most point thereof, from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi..." But the source of the Mississippi River, Lake Itasca, lies due south of Lake of the Woods, rather than north and west of it. Additionally, the irregular actual shape of the lake made the identification of its northwest corner difficult. A survey team led by David Thompson in 1824, mapped the lake and found four possibilities, but did not conclusively declare one location.
In 1825, German astronomer in British service,Dr. Johann Ludwig Tiarks, surveyed the lake. Tiarks identified two possibilities for the northwesternmost point on the lake, based on Thompson's maps: the Angle Inlet and Rat Portage. To determine which point was the most northwestern, he drew a line from each point in the southwest-northeast direction. If the line intersected the lake at any point, it was not the most northwestern point, as shown in the example diagram here. Tiarks determined that the only such line that did not intersect the lake was at the edge of a pond on the Angle Inlet. A 1940 academic study documents this point as being in the immediate vicinity of 49°23′51.324″N 95°9′12.20783″W. In the Anglo-American Convention of 1818, the error regarding the Mississippi River was awkwardly corrected by having the boundary continue due south from the northwest point of the lake, but only to the 49th parallel and westward along it; the Webster–Ashburton Treaty of 1842 reaffirmed this border.
However, the placement of the northwestern corner and shape of the lake meant that this north–south line cut off a section of U. S. territory to its east, now known as the Northwest Angle. According to the United States Census Bureau, Angle Township has a total area of 596.3 square miles of which 123.09 square miles is land and 473.2 square miles is water. The land includes several islands, including Oak Island, two small capes that are below the 49th parallel north in the extreme southwest part of the township, one of, known as Elm Point, south of the southeast corner of Manitoba, not far from the northeast corner of Roseau County. Of the 2000 census population of 152, there were 118 living on the mainland, 34 persons on the islands in Lake of the Woods. All of the populated islands are north of the 49th parallel; the mainland portion of the township north of the 49th parallel has an area of 116.632 square miles. The total land area of all islands is 6.303 square miles, the two capes total 100 acres.
The township has the last one-room public school in the state. Elm Point, in Lake of the Woods County, is a small cape southwest of the Northwest Angle, it borders Canada and is, together with a similar smaller cape to the west, separated by land from the continental United States. The Angle is accessible from the rest of Minnesota by one of two ways: The Angle can be reached without crossing the international border by crossing the Lake of the Woods; this can be done by boat when the lake is free of ice, by ice road in the winter or by flying over it in a plane. No automobile ferries operate on the lake, so vehicles coming from the rest of Minnesota can reach the Angle without crossing the border only in winter. While the ice is forming in late autumn and breaking up in the spring, the lake's surface cannot be crossed safely – at these times domestic access to the Angle is possible only by air. To reach the Angle by land, travelers take Minnesota State Highway 313 northbound across the Warroad-Sprague Border Crossing connecting to Manitoba Highway 12 at the border to Provincial Road 308, to Provincial Road 525 finally crossing back into the United States in the Northwest Angle south of Angle Inlet, Minnesota.