Gervais Mill Pond
Gervais Mill combines rainwater treatment with wildlife habitat in a scenic park.
Gervais Mill Pond is the last stop for Gervais Creek before it enters Gervais Lake at the upstream end of the the Phalen Chain. This system of three interconnected ponds was created near the site of the first commercial grist mill in the Minnesota Territories. The ponds are the centerpiece of an 18-acre park in Little Canada, which includes walking trails and fishing piers.
Construction of the ponds was completed in 1994, and native prairie and wetland seeds were sown at that time. As was typical at the time, no ongoing vegetation management was conducted, and invasive plants quickly dominated the park. Invasive weed control efforts, including prescribed burning, began in 1999. Since that time, the park has seen a gradual shift in the plant community to one rich in colorful native prairie and woodland species. Ongoing buckthorn removal has significantly improved the quality of the woodland surrounding the ponds.
With its rich native flora, Gervais Mill Park attracts a wide variety of urban wildlife. District staff and park patrons have captured excellent photos of egrets, herons, wood ducks, mergansers, foxes, deer, coyote and the occasional lost kitten. It is a popular evening walking spot for local neighborhood residents.