The northward-flowing Red River serves as the
border between North Dakota and Minnesota. The entire river corridor should be
considered to be an Important Bird Area because the associated woodland
provides a migratory corridor and nesting habitat for birds that have woodland
affinities. However it is within cities such as Grand Forks and Fargo that the
necessary data is available to support an IBA.
Three to four pairs of Red-headed Woodpeckers
nest along the Greenway each year, using dead cottonwoods at river’s edge as
nest sites. Pileated Woodpeckers also nest within the Greenway. Although not
presently nesting within the Greater Grand Forks Greenway as defined, a pair of
Bald Eagles has nested just 1 mile north of East Grand Forks since the year
2000. As a result, Bald Eagles are now seen flying along the Greenway year-round.
Before the disastrous flood of 1997, private landowners in many cases owned the land to the riverbank. Following the floods, the Cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks acquired the land in order to install a dike/floodwall that would protect the city from at least a 100-year flood. The space between the dikes is now operated as a Greenway that is open for use by the public.A map of the Greenway can be accessed at <a href="http://www.grandforksgov.com/greenway/Attachments%20&%20links/Maps/F...
The areas on the river side of the Greenway are managed as public space and are open to a variety of non-motorized activities including hiking, biking, birding, and skiing. Regular mowing occurs along the hard-surfaced bike paths, and within the parks, and the dikes per se are also mowed. Generally the paths are located far enough from the river that they are not inundated during minor flooding. Areas along the river banks and for some distance toward the dikes is being allowed to revegetate with volunteer trees, while within the mowed areas, some tree planting has occurred using a variety of native and ornamental trees. The unmowed areas will continue to undergo plant succession with time. Following dike construction, large areas were reseeded using native grasses including little bluestem, side-oats gramma, and blue gramma. Significant patches of native forest are found, most notable bur oak in Riverside Park and the old Lincoln Park area, and a variety of trees just north of the Elmwood Entrance and south of 47th Ave S.Cottonwood trees are found along the river banks in many areas. Those that die have been allowed to stand and provide nesting and roost sites for Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers. Along with dike construction, a series of stormwater retention ponds were created to serve as settling basins for stormwater. These attract a variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, and green herons.
In addition to the types of uses checked, other significant uses include adventure ecotourism, Frisbee golfing, roller blading, competitive fishing (Catfish Days) and cross-country skiing.