Flying Cloud Drive Project Wins Environmental Excellence Award

Congratulations to Hennepin County and project partners for receiving an Environmental Excellence Award for the Flying Cloud Drive (CSAH 61) Reconstruction project. A team that included the County, American Indian Tribes, and 106 Group was recognized by the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) for NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and Planning Integration. The project was selected from over 40 nominations from across the U.S.

Flying Cloud Drive is a multimodal thoroughfare situated within the Minnesota River flood plain near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The project reconstructed a portion of County Road 61 to raise the road above a flood plain, improve safety, and add a trail.

Some remarkable archaeological sites were studied that shed light on our knowledge of American Indian settlement in the Minnesota River Valley. 106 Group served as the project’s cultural resources consultant and identified nineteen archaeological sites that represented use of the area for more than 1,000 years. Early input was sought from the Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and Elders of four Dakota tribes with ancestral connections to the area. Tribal representatives helped guide and inform the archaeological data recovery, interpretation, and the telling of stories about the place, the people who lived here, and their connection to descendants who live in the area today.

The project previously received an Environmental Stewardship award at the 2019 MnDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) Environmental Stewardship Conference.

We want to express our thanks to all the partners involved in this project and the NAEP for their selection. To learn more about this this project, check out our case study and video.