What Makes This Site Unique?

History of the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

About 2 million years ago, glaciers advanced and retreated over the area that became the Anoka Sand Plain. This changed the landscape leaving behind soils that are characteristic of wetland ecosystems.

When settlers arrived during the late 1800s, the landscape was drained and altered to make way for agriculture. This caused Blaine’s native plants to become dormant and invasive species thrived. Restoration of wetlands is allowing native species to reemerge.

Wetlands on the Anoka Sand Plain support a high level of biodiversity. Over 300 native species have returned after the removal of invasive species. A diverse habitat works together to maintain a vibrant and healthy ecosystem, which leads to a healthier place for all to live. The preservation of rare plants can also lead to new medical discoveries and food sources.

Plants of the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

twisted-yellow-eyed-grass-250Twisted Yelloweyed Grass
(Xyris torta)

Twisted yellow-eye grass was thought to have been extinct in Minnesota, but after extensive searching, it has been found here. It is only found in the Anoka Sand Plain.

white-ragged-fringed-orchid-250Ragged Fringed Orchid
(Platanthera lacera)

Ragged fringed orchid is a native species that has emerged at this site after vegetation management. It is pollinated by many species of moths.

lance-leaved-violet-250Lance-leaved Violet
(Viola lanceolate)

Lance-leaved violets have leaves three times longer than wide. This threatened species was largely destroyed by development and is making a comeback through restoration.



Sundews attract insects with their odor, then capture them with sugary and sticky leaves, and finally digest their insect prey.

Pollinator Power

Insects and birds play a big role in nature. Without them, flowering plants would have a hard time producing fruits and seeds.



Bees are champion pollinators. Buzzing nearby are colorful, fuzzy, yellow and black striped bumblebees, metallic green sweat bees, squash bees,



Butterflies probe for nectar, their fuel for flight, and typically favor the flat, clustered flowers that provide a landing pad. Butterflies have good vision but a weak sense of smell.