Accelerating the Wildlife Management Area Program, Phase 5

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$7,960,000
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Recipient
Pheasants Forever
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2013
End Date
June 2017
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Counties Affected
Brown
Carver
Cottonwood
Jackson
Le Sueur
Lincoln
Martin
McLeod
Mower
Murray
Pipestone
Renville
Stearns
Stevens
Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2013, Ch. 137, Art. 1, Sec. 2, Subd. 2(b)
Appropriation Language

$7,960,000 in the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Pheasants Forever to acquire land in fee for wildlife management purposes under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 8. A list of proposed land acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$7,960,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$550,500
Direct expenses
$7,907,200
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.28
Measurable Outcome(s)

Wetland and upland complexes consist of native prairies, restored prairies, quality grasslands, and restored shallow lakes and wetlands.
Water is kept on the land.
Protected, restored, and enhanced nesting and migratory habitat for waterfowl, upland birds, and species of greatest conservation need.
Increased availability and improved condition of riparian forests and other habitat corridors.
Improved access to public lands.
A network of natural land and riparian habitats will connect corridors for wildlife and species in greatest conservation need.
Protected habitats will hold wetlands and shallow lakes open to public recreation and hunting.
Improved access to public lands.
Core areas protected with highly biologically diverse wetlands and plant communities, including native prairie, Big Woods, and oak savanna.
Protected, restored, and enhanced shallow lakes and wetlands.
Expiring CRP lands are permanently protected.
Remnant native prairies and wetlands are permanently protected and are part of large complexes of restored prairie, grasslands, and large and small wetlands.
Improved condition of habitat on public lands.
Water is kept on the land.
Protected, restored, and enhanced habitat for waterfowl, upland birds, and species of greatest conservation need.
Improved access to public lands.

Source of Additional Funds

PF, Private, Federal

Project Overview

The proposal was to accelerate the protection of 1,220 acres of prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitat as State Wildlife Management Areas open to public hunting. Over the course of the appropriation, we acquired 11 parcels for a total of 1,484.05 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 1,220 acres by 264.05 acres.  Breaking down acres by ecological section we acquired 876 acres in the metro, 152 acres in the forest/prairie, and 456 acres in the prairie.  We have a balance of $52,798 that will be returned to the Fund despite exceeding our acre goals.

In total, we under spent on our budget, over delivered on acre goals, and over delivered on match leverage received while using less personnel costs than proposed.

Project Details

The pressures from development, industry, and agriculture continue to mount on wildlife habitat within the farmland regions of Minnesota.  In fact, despite our collective investments in conservation, it is believed that many of the agricultural counties in Minnesota are continuing to experience a net loss of wildlife habitat.  This unfortunate reality is currently being exacerbated by conversion of lands expiring out of CRP.  Now, more than ever, is the time to accelerate our investments in permanently protected high quality public habitat complexes that will protect, maintain, and increase Minnesota’s wildlife populations.  In addition, being able to provide public areas for Minnesotans to hunt, trap, fish and otherwise recreate in the outdoors are urgent needs and is fundamental to ensure Minnesota’s outdoor heritage and appreciation of the outdoors is passed on to future generations.

To help slow and reverse the loss of habitat and declining wildlife populations, Pheasants Forever (PF) and our partners have protected (fee acquisition from willing sellers) 1,484.05 acres of high priority grassland (native prairie if available), wetland, and wildlife habitat as state Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) throughout the pheasant range of Minnesota.  Striving to build landscape level habitat complexes that will protect and sustain wildlife populations, many of the potential projects are additions to existing WMAs or WPAs, many of which were originally acquired in partnership with MNDNR, local PF chapters, and conservation partners.

Projects were developed and selected in conjunction with local and regional DNR staff.  All projects will meet standards and requirements for inclusion into the WMA system and DNR Commissioner approval will be received for any project funded under this proposal.  In addition to meeting the minimum WMA standards, additional criteria were used to develop the potential project list including:

Does the parcel contain habitat restoration potential that will result in an increase in wildlife populations?

Does the parcel build upon existing investments in public and private land habitat (landscape scale significance)?

Does the parcel contain significant natural communities or will it protect or buffer significant natural communities?

Does the parcel have the potential and focus for habitat protection and restoration in the future?

Does the parcel provide multiple benefits (recreation, access, water control, water quality, lakeshore, local community support etc.)?

All acquired lands will meet the minimum initial development standards for WMAs.  In addition, providing high quality habitat and keeping future management concerns in mind, all acquisitions will be restored and/or enhanced to as high quality as practicable, with the belief that quality and comprehensive restorations utilizing native species result in lower management costs.  Acquired croplands will be permanently retired and restored to diverse grasslands and wetlands to the fullest extent.  Enhancement work may include undesirable woody vegetation removal, water control structure installation, inter-seeding to increase diversity and structure, managed grazing, invasive species control, or any other activity that improves the diversity and health of the prairie-wetland habitat complex. 

Pheasants Forever’s network of 76 Minnesota chapters and 26,000 members have been actively involved in protecting and restoring lands in partnership with the Minnesota DNR for 27 years and will continue to be a priority.  WMA’s are an integral component to the comprehensive conservation strategy within the prairie region of the state.  The WMAs within this proposal will not only protect, increase, and sustain wildlife habitat and populations; they will provide access and recreational opportunities, including hunting, to ALL Minnesotans, so fundamentally important to our outdoor heritage. 

Project Manager
First Name
Eran
Last Name
Sandquist
Organization Name
Pheasants Forever
Street Address
410 Lincoln Ave S.
City
South Haven
State
MN
Zip Code
55386
Phone
763-242-1273
Email
esandquist@pheasantsforever.org