Marketable products from industrial waste materials... Restoring harvested peatlands to their nutrient-rich, soggy glory… Studying the effects of non-native earthworms on hardwood forests... These are just a few of the wide variety of projects that helps NRRI meet its mission of fostering economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment. In 1985, the Natural Resources Research Institute opened its doors in an abandoned Air Force building. The 20-foot ceilings and cavernous concrete spaces were filled with science laboratories and industrial-sized equipment. Over the past 20-plus years, NRRI has earned the respect of industry leaders, the academic community, and environmental watchdogs. Its reach is felt throughout the state and beyond. 

NRRI operates a minerals research laboratory in Coleraine on Minnesota’s Iron Range providing research for mining industries, a diatoms research lab in Ely, Minn., that focuses on water quality issues, and a Fens Research Facility in Zim, Minn., to study peatland restoration.