Willow Reserve is a 23-acre bird and wildlife reserve located off Maryland Avenue between Arundel and Virginia Streets in Saint Paul that is owned and managed by the City of Saint Paul.

Willow Reserve is particularly critical for migratory birds following the Mississippi River Flyway. Thirty-six bird species were identified in the 2007 natural resource inventory and habitat assessment. The diversity of bird species at the site is relatively high however plant diversity is not. Much of the site is overgrown with invasive, fast growing plants and trees. The Reserve includes 16 acres of wetland area and one-third upland area this is inundated with shallow water flowing from CRWD’s Trout Brook Storm Sewer Interceptor (TBI). The connection between TBI and the Reserve was made in the early 1990s to divert stormwater during heavy precipitation events to provide flood protection for nearby neighborhoods and resiliency to climate change.

Restoration Plan

CRWD, Saint Paul and District 6 Planning Council have developed an ecological restoration plan for Willow Reserve, which was adopted by CRWD’s Board of Managers in winter 2016. The plan was developed to guide partner efforts to achieve the following goals:

  • restore the Reserve’s ecological integrity
  • maximize urban wildlife
  • maximize native, non-invasive vegetative species diversity
  • improve pond water quality
  • maintain its natural and passive setting

The vision of the plan is to restore Willow Reserve and improve its ecological integrity and functionality by removing invasive trees and plants and creating native, and more diverse plant communities. This will help create a wildlife-rich forest and wetland reserve for a variety of birds, amphibians and insects.

Information taken from Capitol Region Watershed District