Accelerated Shallow Lakes and Wetland Enhancement Phase VI
Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. Recent tiling and ditching have accelerated this situation. Through this program, shallow lakes and wetlands were designed, constructed, and intensively managed to benefit wetland wildlife and Minnesota residents. Habitat accomplishments from this proposal have enhanced 19,365 acres of wetlands and shallow lakes to benefit waterfowl and wetland wildlife. Work was accomplish through constructed infrastructure, cattail control, and a significant prescribed wetland burn.
Approximately 30 species of waterfowl are regular migrants through Minnesota. More than a dozen breed and nest in Minnesota. While each of these species has its own particular habitat needs the common bond is a dependence on wetland habitat for survival. Meeting the needs of these waterfowl requires a complex of wetland sizes and types ranging from temporary and seasonal wetlands to large permanent shallow lakes. Habitat work accomplished with this OHF appropriation contributes to the needs of these waterfowl and other wetland-associated wildlife.
Five wetland/shallow lake infrastructure projects were designed and completed (Carlos Avery WMA, Anoka County; Joe River WMA, Kittson County; Cornish Flowage, Aitkin County; Mille Lacs WMA, Mille Lacs County; and Dry Sand WMA, Cass County). These projects improved or replaced dikes and water level control structures. These projects enhanced 3,079 acres of wetland habitat. In addition to these design and construct projects, another four projects were design only. Because of the complexity of many shallow lake and wetland infrastructure projects, we sometimes begin by bringing in engineers to survey and design potential projects. We can use this initial information to develop cost estimates, obtain permits, and determine if and when to move ahead with construction. Because design-only projects do not entail construction, no acres are claimed for these projects, as is consistent with our past reports. These four design-only projects were at Spohn WMA, Quistorff WMA, Aurzada WMA, and Ruff-Nik WMA, all in Todd County.
6,068 acres of invasive cattails were sprayed statewide. This work was done in both 2015 and 2018. The work in 2015 was done using private contractors, but in 2018 we were able to do the work using a state-owned helicopter outfitted with an OHF-funded spray unit and using the OHF-funded Roving Habitat Crews as ground support personnel. The acreage of cattails sprayed includes 13.3 acres of a new invasive grass that was discovered at McCarthy Lake WMA. We were able to effectively deal with this potential threat thanks to the equipment and personnel we now have available. While aerial spraying of monotypic stands of cattails can't resolve the problem statewide due to the extent of their coverage, property managers are excited to have aerial spraying as a means to improve wetland habitat at select sites.
Finally, a major prescribed wetland burn was funded out of this appropriation which enhanced 10,200 acres. This was one of the largest prescribed burns ever done in Minnesota. The effectiveness of this burn and it's relatively low cost have property managers considering future large wetland burns.
In total, 19,365 wetland acres were enhanced by this appropriation, well above the Accomplishment Plan goal.
$1,050,000 in the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources to enhance and restore shallow lakes statewide. A list of proposed land restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Enhanced 19,365 acres.