Cannon River Watershed Habitat Complex - Phase VIII
$1,345,000 the second year is to the commissioner
of natural resources for an agreement with The
Trust for Public Land, in cooperation with Great
River Greening, to acquire lands in fee in the
Cannon River watershed for wildlife management
under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05,
subdivision 8; to acquire lands in fee for
scientific and natural areas under Minnesota
Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 5; to
acquire lands in fee for state forests under
Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 7;
and to restore lands in the Cannon River
watershed. Of this amount, $945,000 is to The
Trust for Public Land and $400,000 is to Great
River Greening. Subject to evaluation criteria in
Minnesota Rules, part 6136.0900, priority must be
given to acquiring lands that are eligible for the
native prairie bank under Minnesota Statutes,
section 84.96, or lands adjacent to protected
native prairie. A list of proposed land
acquisitions and restorations must be provided as
part of the required accomplishment plan.
Core areas protected with highly biologically diverse wetlands and plant communities, including native prairie, Big Woods, and oak savanna - Core parcels are identified in partnership with the DNR as well as the partners of the Cannon River Watershed Habitat Complex. Success will be determined based on the acreage of lands protected and restored, and the percentage of protected lands in the watershed..Healthier populations of endangered, threatened, and special concern species as well as more common species - We will track the acres of priority parcels protected within the Conservation Opportunity Areas (COA) identified in regional planning. Success within each COA will be determined based on the percentage of area protected restored and/or enhanced..Key core parcels are protected for fish, game and other wildlife - Core parcels are identified in partnership with the DNR as well as the partners of the Cannon River Watershed Habitat Complex. Success will be determined based on the acreage of lands protected and restored, and the percentage of protected lands in the watershed..
TPL Private Funds, Greening Private Funds
The Cannon River Watershed Habitat Complex Phase VIII program will protect approximately 160 acres in fee, and restore and enhance approximately 188 acres of high priority wildlife habitat within the Cannon River Watershed, including wetlands, prairies, Big Woods forest, and river/shallow lake shoreline. Its goal is to reverse habitat loss, prevent degradation of water quality, improve watershed function, and provide public access.
Phase VIII of the Cannon River Watershed Habitat Complex program will continue to prevent degradation and loss of quality habitat in the Prairie section of the State, specifically the Cannon River Watershed. It will increase the amount of available public lands for hunting and angling opportunities within an easy drive for over half of the State’s population. In addition, increased restoration activities will occur in this phase to improve the habitat conditions of currently protected public lands.Located south of the Twin Cities, the Cannon River Watershed has seen increased development pressure due to the I-35 corridor and the Cannon Lakes, and much of this area has already suffered fragmentation and habitat loss. Historically inhabited by Big Woods, the landscape is now dominated by agricultural fields and, to a lesser extent, development. Agricultural practices and shoreline development are the major contributors to the impaired status of stretches of the Cannon River and its associated lakes and streams. The DNR’s Southern Region Conservation Focus Area assessment tool ranked the Cannon River area as having the highest level of interdivisional conservation priority when examined at the landscape level.This conservation effort is part of a multi-year, multi-partner strategy that includes acquisition, protection, and restoration of core parcels of land that will contribute to a large complex of restored prairies, grasslands, wetlands, lakeshore, and river shoreline.Acquisitions are targeted toward existing large wetland/upland complexes, rare communities (Big Woods forest, tamarack swamp), shallow lakes, river shoreline, and lands adjacent to existing protected areas. There is an effort underway which involves several partners (including Great River Greening, Cannon River Watershed Partnership, The Nature Conservancy and MN DNR) for landscape planning in the Cannon River watershed. This effort is expected to help the partnership further identify priority conservation opportunities and protection strategies for high biodiversity areas.Protecting and restoring vegetative cover within basins and the riparian areas of the lakes, rivers and streams in this focus area will also help protect water quality by reducing surface water runoff and by providing ecological services such as infiltration through natural buffers to our waterways. Parcels targeted for restoration will be evaluated by Great River Greening, and in collaboration with MN DNR and county SWCD personnel, to determine existing and desired conditions for each site. Information gathered will be used to develop a site specific scope of work plans for restoring ecologically desired habitats. Project management plans will detail the methods and practices to be used and a time line for successful completion of each site/project. Restoration practices could include; invasive species removal via controlled burning, chemical treatment, physical removal of individual plants, reseeding and/or plug planting, and shoreline revetments using native materials. All restoration efforts are aimed at improving habitat and protecting and water quality for the benefit of all wildlife and human communities.Work will be completed in phases depending on funding availability and landowner willingness to sell. Properties targeted for acquisition and restoration can be found in the parcel list below.