The great blue heron rookery on Peltier Lake in Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve is one of at least nine in the Twin Cities metro area. Several are on the Mississippi River — in St. Paul, Fridley and near the Coon Rapids Dam — and two others are on the St. Croix River above Stillwater.
"The fact we have so many [rookeries] is an indicator of good lake management and good fish populations," said Carrol Henderson, nongame wildlife supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Herons "are a symbol of clean water and good lake resources."
The DNR monitors heron and other water fowl colonies around the state, and found "hardly any had abandonment" like that at Peltier Lake in the mid-2000s. Henderson said great blue herons, a federally protected migratory species, with no hunting season, are stable and seem to be doing well in Minnesota.