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Urban Nature Sanctuary

Urban Nature Sanctuary

The historic, sacred Carver's Cave and early Mississippi River settlement area was restored from brownfield conditions and is now known as the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. The Sanctuary includes an 870 foot groundwater-fed stream, 3 wetlands, black and tamarack seepage swamps, and 4 acres of bedrock bluff prairie. The ecological restoration was integrated with park design concepts and 1.4 trail miles were also constructed for future paving. This project required complex collaboration with park planning, historic preservation, and tribal resource protection efforts. EOR's design services included: presentations to various public and project partners, obtaining WCA wetland permits, coordinating with the contaminated area's Response Action Plan, and construction oversight.

Client Benefits

  • Project received several local, national, and historic preservation awards.
  • Eco-restoration provides areas for community environmental education initiatives.
  • Brownfield converted to a community amenity that forms the foundation for a future nature interpretive center.
  • Connects existing trail system with future trails planned, and the Trillium-Trout Brook Greenway restoration area.


  • 2014 'People's Choice' Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects-MN
  • 2005 Heritage Preservation Award from the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission
  • 2005 Take Pride in America Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior

Related Projects

  • Assessing Park Plans

    Assessed the environmental impacts for the urban-located Lake Nokomis and Lake Hiawatha Master Park Plan.
  • Athletic Field Water Reuse

    Retrofit system saves School District several thousands of dollars per year in irrigation costs while contributing to improved water quality for nearby lake.
  • County Park Master Plan

    Award-winning project features one of the 1st applications of permaculture principles to park planning on such a large scale.