Accelerated Shallow Lakes and Wetlands Enhancement , Phase 4
$3,870,000 in the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources to develop engineering designs and complete construction to enhance shallow lakes and wetlands. A list of proposed restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan. Work must be completed within three years of the effective date of this article.
Enhanced 10,085 acres of wetlands
This proposal impacts shallow lakes and wetlands in Minnesota through the design and construction of projects, enhancement work done by DNR roving habitat crews, and shallow lakes work identified and initiated through the DNR Shallow Lakes program. Ten thousand acres of wetlands were enhanced by these activities.
This OHF-funded project utilized three components - individual project design and construction of wetland and shallow lake infrastructure, habitat enhancement work by DNR Roving Habitat Crews, and an expansion of the DNR Shallow Lakes program.Design and Construction - Twenty-one projects were designed or designed and constructed. Design only projects are surveyed and receive preliminary design plans and support from Minnesota DNR engineers. This initial work is critical to identify project issues, determine realistic cost estimates, and ensure that future construction can proceed with minimal delays. No acres are reported for design-only projects; that occurs only after construction. Eight projects were design-only. Thirteen projects were design and construct. These 13 projects involved the construction or renovation of water control structures, fish barriers and/or dikes. This work enhanced almost 1200 acres, 913 of which were in the Prairie Ecological Section.Roving Habitat Crews - Minnesota DNR Roving Habitat Crews are highly trained, equipped and motivated staff working together to enhance Wildlife Mangement Areas. Begun in 2010, 2 6-person crews were established to work on prairie grasslands, with one crew based in Mentor, MN and one based at Lac Qui Parle. Beginning with this Accelerated Shallow Lakes and Wetland Enhancements, Phase IV, OHF appropriation, funding was provided to the 2 crews to allow to them expand to do wetland enhancement work. Each crew was provided 2 additional staff and they were able to spend 25% of their time and resources on wetland and shallow lake activities. This work included wetland prescribed burns, removal of woody vegetation from wetlands, the ability to work on wetland drawdowns, cattail spraying and mowing, and other wetland activities. The wetland acreage impacted by these crews has exceeded expectations, with 8,900 wetland acres enhanced. Three thousand-four hundred of these acres were enhanced in the Prairie Ecological Section. The most wetland acres were enhanced in Forest/Prairie Ecological Section, which is a function of the large habitat blocks that are available to manage in northwest Minnesota.Shallow Lakes Program - The Minnesota DNR Shallow Lakes Program consists of a supervisor and 8 shallow lakes specialists. Three of these shallow lake specialist positions were created and funded with the Accelerated Shallow Lakes and Wetland Enhancements, Phase IV, OHF appropriation. Interns are used to augment shallow lake assessment work done during the summer field season. The Shallow Lakes Program can be described as having two major goals - assessment of shallow lakes through a standardized set of measures and initiating management of shallow lakes to enhance their value to wildlife. Management actions may include drawdowns, removal of unwanted fish, control of invasive species, and placement of major infrastructure. Acres are not reported for this component of the grant, though the work done by the Shallow Lakes Program is critical to acres subsequently reported by the DNR or Ducks Unlimited when OHF funds are used to implement management. A measure of the work accomplished by OHF-funded shallow lakes specialists is the number of number of shallow lake assessments the undertake during the grant period. For the period during which funding was provided by this OHF grant, the three funded specialists and interns accomplished 491 assessments on shallow lakes covering 160,268 acres.