Camp Ripley Partnership - Phase V
$1,500,000 in the first 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 within the boundaries of the Minnesota National Guard Compatible Use Buffer to protect forest wildlife habitat. Up to $55,000 is for establishing 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.
Forestlands are protected from development and fragmentation - Protect 660 acres from land conversion sustaining existing habitat and aquatic function and values..Protected, restored, and enhanced nesting and migratory habitat for waterfowl, upland birds, and species of greatest conservation need - Lands under easement do not allow for drainage and all forestry management must be according to an approved management plan. Partnering with MFRC, efforts will be made to improve forest stands and revitablize oak regeneration. MFRC Landscape plan modeling and evaluation methods will be followed by work team and forestry position..
Protect approximately 660 acres of habitat for fish, game and wildlife with easements surrounding the Gull River WMA and along the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers and tributaries. Protection will reduce infringement and development and improve watershed function.
This project builds on the existing Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) partnership by protecting approximately 11 easements for 660 acres. We have completed 103 land transactions between the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), totaling over 13,000 acres. We currently have 36 contracts in process. Camp Ripley has leveraged over $18 million dollars and is the leading ACUB program in the country. With state funds leveraging federal funds, we will meet the goal of securing 70,000 acres in easements and compatible use properties. The last LSOHC allocation successfully leveraged over $4 million in 2013, almost all of which is allocated to active applications. All previous LSOHC grants have been encumbered within one year of receipt.
Using the state funds to convey easements on valuable riparian and forested properties, and the ACUB dollars to secure the agricultural properties, this program will enable central MN to maintain its rural character. The leveraging will occur at the entire ACUB project level and OHF funded easements will not include federal match for those specific parcels. Limiting land use conversion protects fish and wildlife habitats and connectivity of two major watersheds which provides drinking water to the entire southern half of MN and states below. The easement dollars have contributed to the local economic development dependent on tourism from outdoor recreation activities.