Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area

Mississippi RiverBackground

The Mississippi River Corridor and Critical Area (MRCCA) encompasses land along the river within the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area including Fridley. The MRCCA was designated as a state critical area in 1976 in recognition of the river's natural, cultural, and scenic value. Accompanying this designation are specific zoning regulations to guide redevelopment in a manner that balances growth alongside protection of the river's resources. As the local government unit, the City of Fridley is responsible for implementing these zoning regulations within its boundaries. The MRCCA in Fridley includes all properties west of East River Road. 

MRCCA Regulations

The City administers the MRCCA zoning standards as an overlay district which guides construction of new structures, facilities, and impervious surface; land alteration; and, vegetation management. New MRCCA rules were adopted starting August 11, 2023. If your property is in the Critical Area, please read on to determine if your project needs a Critical Area permit. To apply for a permit, please apply through CitizenServe, the City's online permitting portal

Primary Conservation Areas

Special zoning regulations within the MRCCA impact properties where primary conservation areas exist. These are most commonly properties along the river or where there are steep slopes (bluffs). In determining if you will need a Critical Area permit, the following definitions may be helpful:

  • Bluff: A natural feature with an average slope exceeding 18% with a height over 25 feet over a distance of 25 feet. 
  • Bluff impact zone: Area within 20 feet of the top of a bluff. This includes properties with steep slopes
  • Floodplain: Located within the 100-year floodplain as mapped by FEMA (also covered by the City's Floodplain Overlay District).
  • Shore impact zones: 50% of the required structure setback from the river (50 feet from the ordinary high water line of the river within the River Neighborhood district and 25 feet from the ordinary high water line of the river within the Urban Mixed district). This includes properties directly along the river.
Depiction of Bluff  and Bluff Impact Zone
  • Native plant communities: Mapped plant communities identified by the Minnesota Biological Survey or other adopted agency
  • Natural drainage route: Properties along Springbrook Creek, Stonybrook Creek, Oak Glen Creek, or Rice Creek
  • Significant existing vegetation stands: Largely intact and connected plant communities along the river or natural drainage ways. This includes vegetated areas in along  the river, and along Riverview Heights Park. 
  • Water quality impact zone: Within 50 feet of the river, Natural drainage route, or wetland
  • Wetlands: Transitional areas between terrestrial and aquatic systems having the meaning given under M.S. 103G.005.
shore impact zone

A map of where these primary conservation areas are expected can be found here. Bluffs and blufflines may need to be verified using survey data. 


If you have questions about the MRCCA, please call 763-572-3594 or e-mail Rachel.Workin@FridleyMN.gov.