Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape ACUB Protection Program - Phase VII
This Phase 7 continuation of the RIM Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscap ACUB Partnership will utilize permanent conservation easements to acquire 440 acres of high quality habitat along the Crow Wing, Gull, Nokasippi, and Mississippi River corridors. Approximately 7 easements will be secured within the project area. BWSR will utilize the RIM Easement process in partnership with the Morrison SWCD to secure easements on sites within Crow Wing, Cass, and Morrison Counties during the appropriation term. In addition The Conservation Fund will acquire 117-ac. in fee from Tiller Corp. then transfer to DNR Little Nokasippi River WMA
The purpose of this initiative is to protect approximately 440 acres of fish, game, migratory bird, and forest habitat along the Crow Wing, Gull, Nokasippi, and Mississippi River corridors within an approximately five mile radius of Camp Ripley. Phase 7 of this successful project plans to secure approximately 7 permanent conservation easements, utilizing partnerships with Camp Ripley, a State Game Refuge, BWSR, and the Morrison SWCD. Easement acquisition will occur in those portions of Morrison, Crow Wing, and Cass County that lie within this five mile radius.
Easement acquisition in this area will protect these river corridors, which are critical to the general public for fishing, hunting, and recreational opportunities.
Fee acquisition is focused upon the approximately 125-acre Tiller Tract that would be a critical addition to the Little Nokasippi River WMA. This parcel, part of which was a gravel pit, is an inholding that limits the ability to sustainably manage the WMA as long as it is in private ownership. No OHF funds are requested at this time. The City of Fort Ripley has applied for assistance to move Over the Hill Road southward. The ~2.5 acre gravel pit will need restoration and it is anticipated that other funding sources may be used once the property is under state ownership, or that some of the gravel pit be developed into WMA parking area. The remainder of the property is forested.
Parcels are targeted that have quality existing habitat, protect corridors and large habitat complexes and reduce future fragmentation. Evaluation criteria include ecological and habitat factors for resident and migratory wildlife species. The target area has been limited to ensure a concentration of easement acquisitions that provide landscape scale benefits and will allow for protection of some very large forested parcels that are in imminent threat of conversion.
The forested region of these three counties is where agriculture transitions to state forested lands. Thousands of acres just outside of this work area are being converted from forest to annual cropping, primarily for potato production. Forests not only provide critical wildlife habitat for furbearing animals and turkeys, the forests lessen the impact of water quality contamination from agricultural practices. This region of the state, most specifically Morrison County, is the fastest growing county in the state for the loss of grazing land to annual cropping. The loss of forests would exaggerate that problem even more. Drinking water standards in the area are also in jeopardy with the increase in irrigation and large scale livestock operations, so protecting the forested lands has become a critical issue.
In 2016, Camp Ripley was designated as a federal Sentinel Landscape, one of six in the nation. This designation by both State and Federal entities coordinates strategies to protect this landscape. Many agencies will be identifying their scope of priorities within the Sentinel Landscape ten-mile boundary. As one of the strategies of this Sentinel Landscape effort, this proposal seizes the opportunity to expand the Camp Ripley ACUB borders to a five miles for easements.
$1,229,000 the second year is to the Board of Water and Soil Resources, in cooperation with the Morrison County Soil and Water Conservation District and The Conservation Fund, to acquire permanent conservation easements and restore forest wildlife habitat within the boundaries of the Minnesota National Guard Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape and Army Compatible Use Buffer. Of this amount, $39,000 is to the Morrison County Soil and Water Conservation District, $207,000 is to The Conservation Fund, and $983,000 is to the Board of Water and Soil Resources. Up to $45,500 to the Board of Water and Soil Resources 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.
Forestlands are protected from development and fragmentation - A summary of the total of wetland acres and associated forest land secured under easement through this appropriation will be reported. On-site inspections are performed every three years and compliance checks are performed in the other two years to ensure maintained outcomes. Sustained habitat availability within a certain region is expected to maintain the carrying capacity of associated wildlife within that region. This would affect both game and nongame species. We expect sustained populations of endangered, threatened, special concern and game species as these easements are secured. .
Rivers and streams provide corridors of habitat including intact areas of forest cover in the east and large wetland/upland complexes in the west - A summary of the total of wetland acres and associated forest land secured under easement through this appropriation will be reported. On-site inspections are performed every three years and compliance checks are performed in the other two years to ensure maintained outcomes. Sustained habitat availability within a certain region is expected to maintain the carrying capacity of associated wildlife within that region. This would affect both game and nongame species. We expect sustained populations of endangered, threatened, special concern and game species as these easements are secured..
Department of Defense