The Camp Ripley Partnership: Protecting the Mission and Mighty Mississippi River

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
Start Date
July 2013
End Date
June 2017
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Counties Affected
Crow Wing
Crow Wing
Project Overview

Fourteen permanent RIM Easements on 766 acres of high quality, riparian and forested habitat  have been recorded and will provide lasting wildlife habitat. Attempts were made to acquire three tracts in fee title that would have relied on this funding.  The owner of one tract rejected an offer of the certified appraised value.  Acquisition attempts on the other two tracts were discontinued when it became apparent that the planned use of the land as DNR Wildlife Management Area would be incompatible with local government plans for future municipal growth. Dollars budget for fee title acquisition will be returned to the Outdoor Heritage Fund. Over the life of the ACUB program the Department of Defense has contributed over $30M towards easement acquisition. For this particular phase over $4M in federal funding was leveraged making a fed:state ratio of 2.7:1. 

Project Details

The purpose of this initiative was to protect fish, migratory birds, big game, and oak habitat along the Crow Wing, Gull, Nokasippi, and Mississippi Rivers via fee title acquisitions and conservation easements. These river corridors are also very vulnerable to habitat degradation due to the potential for development. The Camp Ripley military training center is located immediately adjacent to the confluence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers. Camp Ripley contains 19 miles of Mississippi River frontage and 8 miles of Crow Wing River frontage that provide habitat for many species including 45 Species of Greatest Conservation Need. This project will build upon existing Camp Ripley partnership 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, water quality and wildlife habitat. As of this writing the ACUB program has protected over 25,000 acres through conservation easements and fee title including 204 RIM easements totaling over 22,000 acres. In 2013 alone BWSR received $4,088,000 in from National Guard Bureau and Department of Army ACUB funds for easement acquisition. As of this writing, over the life of the ACUB program, over $33,000,000 in from National Guard Bureau and Department of Army funds have been directed to BWSR for easement acquisition.      

This project utilized Camp Ripley’s partnerships with the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR),The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Morrison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to solicit applications and to score and rank applications.The partnership uses a variety of methods to generate landowner interest and solicit applications including; mailings, open houses, direct contact with landowners and special Camp Ripley events. Applications are sorted into agricultural easements (Non-OHF) and riparian and forested lands easements (OHF). They are then scored and ranked against a GIS based system that ranks parcels based upon a number of factors including habitat quality and proximity to Camp Ripley. Applications are then funded in priority order from appropriate funding sources until all funds are used up. The application process is continuous and there is generally a considerable backlog of interested landowners at any specific point in time. Once a funding decision has been made Morrison SWCD and BWSR work together to accomplish the standard RIM easement acquisition process and the easement becomes part of the RIM portfolio. 

Although there were no fee title projects that came to fruition during this appropriation the general process is that DNR, with the support of partners, negotiates directly with landowners that are in the approved boundaries for Wildlife Management Areas. Standard DNR fee title acquisition processes are followed.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2013, Ch. 137, Art. 1, Sec. 2, Subd. 3(b)
Appropriation Language

$1,150,000 in the first year is to the Board of Water and Soil Resources and $300,000 in the first year is to the Department of Natural Resources to acquire land in fee to be added to the wildlife management area system under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 8, and to acquire permanent conservation easements on lands adjacent to the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers and within the boundaries of the Minnesota National Guard Army Compatible Use Buffer. Of the amount appropriated to the Board of Water and Soil Resources, $49,900 is for a grant to the Morrison County Soil and Water Conservation District and up to $33,600 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 proposed land acquisitions and permanent conservation easements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Measurable Outcome(s)

Forestlands are protected from development and fragmentation.
Increased availability and improved condition of riparian forests and other habitat corridors.
Healthy populations of endangered, threatened, and special concern species as well as more common species.
Maintain high quality habitat.
Protected, restored, and enhanced aspen parklands and riparian areas.
Increased availability and improved condition of riparian forests and other habitat corridors.

Source of Additional Funds


Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Morrison SWCD
Street Address
16776 Heron Road
Little Falls
Zip Code
(320) 616-2479
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

Email the Agency

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155

651- 296-3767