Camp Ripley ACUB - Phase VI
The Camp Ripley ACUB Phase VI project protected almost 1070 acres of high quality habitat along the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers and near the Nokasippi and Gull River WMAs through approximately 14 conservation easements.
The project protected approximately 1070 acres of fish, game, migratory bird, and forest habitat along the Crow Wing and Mississippi River corridors via 14 permanent conservation easements. This project utilized the long-standing partnership between Camp Ripley, the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and the Morrison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to implement natural resource management. These river corridors are important for fishing, hunting and recreation. In addition, the corridors are a high priority for protection locally and to the State of Minnesota, MN National Guard (MN NG) and National Guard Bureau (NGB),
MN DNR fish surveys on the Crow Wing River (Staples to confluence of Mississippi) and Mississippi River (Brainerd to Little Falls) indicate high quality fish communities of walleye, muskellunge, and small-mouth bass. Camp Ripley is also home to one of the southern-most wolf populations in Minnesota and 65 species of Greatest Conservation Need including the state’s highest population of red-shouldered hawks. The river corridors contain wildlife habitat and provide public recreation opportunities. Camp Ripley, along with the MN DNR, hosts the largest public archery hunt in the United States with over 5,000 participants. Additionally, Camp Ripley hosts other deer hunts, i.e. Disabled American Veterans (DAV), youth hunt, Deployed Soldier Archery, and Deployed Soldier Muzzleloader. A Deployed Soldier and DAV turkey hunt are also hosted along with a Trolling for the Troops fishing event. More than 13,000 hunting/angling person-days occur on Camp Ripley annually. Camp Ripley also makes available to the general public access to over 1,800 acres for walk-in recreational activities to include hunting on Camp lands. The Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers contain over 15 public access points from Staples to the confluence of Mississippi and from Brainerd to Little Falls respectively. This project will protect the current habitat along existing public access areas.
Development along these corridors will have adverse effects to existing high quality wildlife habitat, local economies, and to the MN NG training program. Camp Ripley is located immediately adjacent to the confluence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers. Camp Ripley contains 18 miles of Mississippi River frontage and 8 miles of Crow Wing River frontage. Development adjacent to military training sites has limited the facilities’ ability to maintain their military mission. For example, the east shore of the Mississippi River has experienced high decibel levels due to weapon firing, and is also near the flight path of the Camp Ripley airfield. For that reason, the MN NG asked the partnership to focus on parcels directly adjacent to the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers to help reduce potential conflicts with homeowners. Camp Ripley is the largest employer in Morrison County.
The project built on the Camp Ripley partnership's success with the Army Compatible Use Buffer program (ACUB). This federal program provides funds to protect adjacent lands from encroaching development and in the process protects the training center. Since 2004, the partnership has secured over 300 easements on over 30,000 acres.
Easements that focus on forest, riparian and high value ecological habitat are funded through the OHF. Easements that are primarily working agricultural lands and provide a direct buffer to Camp Ripley are funded through the Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program. Although not directly leveraging funds on the same land or the same types of land, the overall project indirectly leverages federal and state funds. Over $31 million dollars from the National Guard Bureau and Department of Army have been leveraged for landowner payments. The program is a national leader in the Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program.
$1,500,000 the second year is to the Board of Water and Soil Resources, in cooperation with the Morrison County Soil and Water Conservation District, to acquire permanent conservation easements and restore forest wildlife habitat within the boundaries of the Minnesota National Guard Camp Ripley Compatible Use Buffer. Of this amount, up to $72,000 is to establish a monitoring and enforcement fund, as approved in the accomplishment plan and subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.056, subdivision 17. A list of permanent conservation easements must be provided as part of the final report.
1,068 acres protected (in easement)