Accelerating the Waterfowl Production Area Program - Phase VI
$7,280,000 in the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources for a contract with Pheasants Forever to acquire land in fee to be designated and managed as waterfowl production areas in Minnesota, in cooperation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. A list of proposed land acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Water is kept on the land - Number, wetland type, and total acres of wetlands restored..Protected, restored, and enhanced nesting and migratory habitat for waterfowl, upland birds, and species of greatest conservation need - Number of acres of wetlands and uplands protected and restored..Improved access to public lands. Measurement and Evaluation: Number of additional acres open for public use. Number of new WPAs created. .A network of natural land and riparian habitats will connect corridors for wildlife and species in greatest conservation need - Number of acres protected and restored within wildlife corridors..Protected habitats will hold wetlands and shallow lakes open to public recreation and hunting - Number of wetlands protected and restored. Number of acquisitions that provide additional access to existing public lands..Improved access to public lands. Measurement and Evaluation: Number of additional acres open for public use. Number of new WPAs created. .Expiring CRP lands are permanently protected - Number of acres of expiring CRP acquired..Improved access to public lands - Number of additional acres open for public use. Number of new WPAs created. .Protected, restored, and enhanced habitat for migratory and unique Minnesota species - Number of acres of wetlands and uplands protected and restored..
Federal, PF, Private, Federal, FederalFederal,
This proposal accelerates the permanent protection of 887 acres of wetlands (353 acres) and grasslands (534 acres) as Waterfowl Production Areas open to public hunting in Minnesota.
The loss of grassland and wetland habitats in Minnesota is well documented. One of the primary ways to reverse this downward trend is to permanently acquire and restore previously converted wetland and grassland habitats on those properties. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and their partners have been employing this strategy for over 50-years with the Small Wetlands Acquisition Program (SWAP). This sixth phase of the acceleration program acquires AND restores 335 acres of wetland and 505 acres of grassland habitats which will be permanently protected as Waterfowl Protection Areas managed by the Service. Using landscape level planning tools [e.g. Thunderstorm Maps produced by the Service’s Habitat and Population Evaluation Team (HAPET)], Pheasants Forever (PF) will acquire strategically identified properties. Based on HAPET evaluation strategies, modeling predictions can be made on the numbers of nesting waterfowl, grassland nesting birds, and other wildlife the acres affected by this grant application will produce. Besides the obvious wildlife benefits, once restored, the lands acquired through this grant will provide additional water quality, groundwater recharge, and flood abatement benefits. These strategies are well tested and are supported by the greater conservation community here in Minnesota. Hunting and fishing stakeholders are very interested in increasing opportunities for hunting and fishing public access and have used WPA’s extensively in the past. To address concerns related to the erosion of county tax revenues due to public land, the Service and PF will notify counties prior to acquisition of lands. Once acquired, the Service will make a one-time Trust Fund payment to the County where the property is located. In addition, the Service will make annual Refuge Revenue Sharing payments for all fee lands within the respective Counties.
Funding for restoration of the properties will be solicited from partners. If this funding is available, budgeted Outdoor Heritage restoration funds under this proposal would be able to accomplish additional fee title w/o PILT acquisition funds. Wetlands, on the properties acquired, will be restored by either surface ditch “plugs” or breaking sub-surface tile lines. Grasslands will be restored by planting appropriate native grasses and forbs to converted grassland habitats. Grassland restoration on individual tracts may take three to five years and involve one to two years of post acquisition farming to prepare the seed base, one year for seeding and one to two years to establish.