Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Chaska Unit

 

 

     
 
About
 
 

Ownership

 
 
 
     
 

Links

 
 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 
     
 

Overview

 
 

The Chaska Unit is one of eight units that make up the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It lies on the north bank of the Minnesota River in an outer Twin Cities suburb. South of the river is the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Lawrence Unit. This site is part of a much larger area that has been designated as the Lower Minnesota River Valley Important Bird Area (IBA). A hiking trail passes through riverbottom forest along the bank of the Minnesota River. A point of interest is a giant plains cottonwood next to the trail large enough to be included on the printed map.

 
     
 

History

 
 

 

 
     
 

Management

 
 

 

 
     
 

Comments

 
 

 

 
     
 
Location
 
 

Maps

 
 

Rapids Lake, Chaska and Louisville Swamp Units Trail Map

 
         
 

Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates

 
         
         
 

Size

 
 

600 acres

 
         
 

Parking

 
 

Athletic Park may be closed with a locked gate across the entrance road if there is no ball game in progress. When it is locked park in the cul-de-sac.

North Parking (Athletic Park - may be closed)
N44 46.814, W93 36.545

In Riverfront Park, park at the boat launch at the end of the park road.

South Parking (Riverfront Park)
N44 46.014, W93 37.028

 
         
 

Hours

 
 

Sunrise to Sunset for approved activities, including federal holidays

 
         
 

Fees

 
 

No fee

No National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota charges a fee

 
         
 

Driving Directions

  Area and County  
 

Get driving directions from Google Maps to this destination from any address, and send those directions to your phone.

   
          Carver County  
          Metro Area  
     
 
Activities
 
 

Hiking Trails

 
 

The Chaska Lake Trail follows an administrative road. It leads 1.7 miles from Riverfront Park at the south to Athletic Park at the north. Visitors are asked to remain on the established trails in order to protect the wildlife.

 
     
 

Hunting

 
 

No public hunting opportunities are found at Long Meadow Lake, Black Dog Units, Bloomington Ferry Unit, Upgrala Unit, Chaska Unit, or San Fransisco Unit

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Ecological Classification

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

   
  Ecological Section    

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal

   
  Ecological Subsection    

Big Woods

   
  Land Type Association    

Le Sueur Alluvial Plain

Maple Plain Moraine

   
             
 

Native Plant Communities*

   
 

Not mapped (10/11/2021)

   
  * Source: The Minnesota Biological Survey, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Ecological Resources      
         
 

Natural Features

     
 

Riverbottom silver maple forest; old field restored to floodplain forest; Chaska Lake; a slough; marsh; managed wetland areas (closed to the public); and a very large, old growth plains cottonwood.

 

 

 

 

 

           
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

South Entrance (Riverfront Park)

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit      
           
 

South Parking

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit      
           
 

Informatioon Kiosk

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit      
           
 

North Entrance (Athletic Park)

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit      
           
 

Riverbottom Forest

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit  
           
 

Minnesota River

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit      
           
 

Trail (Administrative Road)

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Chaska Unit  

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
 
     
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
     
     
     

 

Camcorder

           
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

Visits

10/5/2014                
 
 

Amphibians

 
  northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens)   northern leopard frog  
 

Birds

 
 

Ten bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here:

Threatened

Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)

Special Concern

Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens)

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Purple Martin (Progne subis)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

 
 

eBird Field Checklist

 
 

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

Hairy Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus villosus)

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)

Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)

 

Blue Jay

Canada Goose

Tundra Swan

White-breasted Nuthatch

 
 

Fungi and Lichens

 
  Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)   Oyster Mushroom  
 

Mammals

 
  eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger)   eastern fox squirrel  
 

Plants

 
 

One plant species with conservation status in Minnesota is found here:

Threatened

hooded arrowhead (Sagittaria calycina var. calycina)

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List

 
 

 

American basswood (Tilia americana var. americana)

American black currant (Ribes americanum)

American elm (Ulmus americana)

Amur maple (Acer ginnala)

Aunt Lucy (Ellisia nyctelea)

barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli)

black-seeded plantain (Plantago rugelii var. rugelii)

Blue Ridge carrionflower (Smilax lasioneura)

boxelder (Acer negundo var. negundo)

bristly greenbrier (Smilax tamnoides)

bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus)

Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis)

Canada moonseed (Menispermum canadense)

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

Canadian clearweed (Pilea pumila)

Canadian horseweed (Conyza canadensis)

Canadian woodnettle (Laportea canadensis)

common blue violet (Viola sororia)

common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale)

common plantain (Plantago major)

common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

common threeseed mercury (Acalypha rhomboidea)

cut-leaved coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata var. laciniata)

desert false indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)

eastern black nightshade (Solanum ptychanthum)

field horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

gallant soldier (Galinsoga parviflora var. parviflora)

green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

green carpetweed (Mollugo verticillata)

green foxtail (Setaria viridis var. viridis)

ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium ssp. angulata)

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

nodding bur marigold (Bidens cernua)

northern hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica)

peachleaf willow (Salix amygdaloides)

Pennsylvania smartweed (Persicaria pensylvanica)

plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera)

poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)

prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata)

prairie ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata ssp. fasciculata)

prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)

purple-stem beggarticks (Bidens connata)

quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)

red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea ssp. sericea)

redroot amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus)

rock elm (Ulmus thomasii)

rough cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica)

rough cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium)

sandbar willow (Salix interior)

shaggy soldier (Galinsoga quadriradiata)

shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)

silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

spotted lady’s thumb (Persicaria maculosa)

spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

stinging nettle (Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis)

three-lobe beggarticks (Bidens tripartita)

velvet-leaf (Abutilon theophrasti)

water smartweed (Persicaria amphibia)

white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima var. altissima)

white vervain (Verbena urticifolia)

wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

wild grape (Vitis riparia)

woodbine (Parthenocissus vitacea)

woodland horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum)

yellow foxtail (Setaria pumila ssp. pumila)

yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

 

Abutilon theophrasti (velvet-leaf)

Acalypha rhomboidea (common threeseed mercury)

Acer ginnala (Amur maple)

Acer negundo var. negundo (boxelder)

Acer saccharinum (silver maple)

Ageratina altissima var. altissima (white snakeroot)

Amaranthus retroflexus (redroot amaranth)

Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

Anemone canadensis (Canada anemone)

Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane)

Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)

Asclepias exaltata (poke milkweed)

Bidens cernua (nodding bur marigold)

Bidens connata (purple-stem beggarticks)

Bidens tripartita (three-lobe beggarticks)

Calystegia sepium. ssp. angulata (hedge bindweed)

Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd’s purse)

Celtis occidentalis (northern hackberry)

Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)

Conyza canadensis (Canadian horseweed)

Cornus sericea ssp. sericea (red osier dogwood)

Echinochloa crus-galli (barnyard grass)

Echinocystis lobata (wild cucumber)

Ellisia nyctelea (Aunt Lucy)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)

Equisetum sylvaticum (woodland horsetail)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash)

Galinsoga quadriradiata (shaggy soldier)

Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy)

Laportea canadensis (Canadian woodnettle)

Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica (ostrich fern)

Menispermum canadense (Canada moonseed)

Mollugo verticillata (green carpetweed)

Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)

Parthenocissus vitacea (woodbine)

Persicaria amphibia (water smartweed)

Persicaria maculosa (spotted lady’s thumb)

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania smartweed)

Pilea pumila (Canadian clearweed)

Plantago major (common plantain)

Plantago rugelii var. rugelii (black-seeded plantain)

Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera (plains cottonwood)

Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)

Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil)

Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)

Ribes americanum (American black currant)

Rosa arkansana (prairie rose)

Rudbeckia laciniata var. laciniata (cut-leaved coneflower)

Salix amygdaloides (peachleaf willow)

Salix interior (sandbar willow)

Setaria pumila ssp. pumila (yellow foxtail)

Setaria viridis var. viridis (green foxtail)

Sicyos angulatus (bur cucumber)

Smilax lasioneura (Blue Ridge carrionflower)

Smilax tamnoides (bristly greenbrier)

Solanum ptychanthum (eastern black nightshade)

Spartina pectinata (prairie cordgrass)

Tanacetum vulgare (common tansy)

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale (common dandelion)

Tilia americana var. americana (American basswood)

Ulmus americana (American elm)

Ulmus pumila (Siberian elm)

Ulmus thomasii (rock elm)

Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis (stinging nettle)

Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)

Vernonia fasciculata ssp. fasciculata (prairie ironweed)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Vitis riparia (wild grape)

Xanthium strumarium (rough cocklebur)

 

Amur maple

Canada anemone

common blue violet

common dandelion

common tansy

desert false indigo

ground ivy

hedge bindweed

nodding bur marigold

poke milkweed

prickly rose

rough cinquefoil

spreading dogbane

swamp smartweed

wild grape

yellow wood sorrel

American black currant

 
 

Reptiles

 
  common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)   common garter snake  

 

 

Binoculars


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