Critical Shoreland Habitat Protection Program - Phase IV

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Minnesota Land Trust
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
In Progress
Start Date
July 2017
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Project Overview

This project will protect 1 mile of critical shoreland and 330 acres associated high-quality wildlife habitats in Minnesota's Northeast region by securing permanent conservation easements in strategic locations along priority lakes and rivers, creating protected habitat complexes.

About the Issue

The natural shoreline around Minnesota's celebrated lakes and rivers comprises one of the most biologically important systems in the state for fish, game and wildlife. It is also one of its most threatened. In order to preserve this important component of Minnesota's natural heritage, the Minnesota Land Trust proposes to implement Phase 4 of its Critical Shoreland Habitat Protection Program to protect important lakeshore and stream-side habitat. This project will build on the success of Phases 1-3 of this program and help fulfill the goals of the DNR's Aquatic Management Area program, the State Wildlife Action Plan, and many other state priorities.In this fourth phase of the program, the Minnesota Land Trust will strategically concentrate its activity on important aquatic resources and associated forest habitat within northeast Minnesota, including DNR-designated high priority trout streams along the North Shore, sensitive shoreline along the deep-water border lakes and other high-quality aquatic habitats in the region. The Land Trust will protect 1 mile and 330 acres of threatened shoreline habitat by acquiring permanent conservation easements from willing landowners. The program will continue to target projects that help complete gaps in existing public ownership, contain the highest-quality habitat, and provide the greatest leverage to the state. The Land Trust will seek donated easements in these areas whenever possible but also may purchase easements that help complete key complexes as necessary.The development and disturbance of the state's remaining sensitive shoreland habitat continues to be a threat identified in many of the State's resource protection plans. Science conducted by the DNR and others indicate that the shoreland zone is one of the most biologically diverse and important habitat types for a variety of wildlife species. It is also one of Minnesota's most threatened resources due to the intensity of shoreline development and non-compatible management. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to address this threat. Outreach conducted under Phases 1 -3 of this program has generated significant landowner interest; Phase 4 will provide the resources to meet this demand. Conservation easements secured under this program will be perpetual and drafted to further prevent the fragmentation and destruction of existing habitat. These easements will ensure that the sensitive shoreline habitat will remain ecologically viable and productive for fish, game and wildlife by prohibiting land uses that negatively impacts the important habitat values and requiring habitat management plans to maximize the benefits of the shoreland and associated forested uplands.Outcomes from this project include: 1) healthy populations of trout and other fish species, waterfowl, and other species in greatest conservation need; 2) maintaining water quality of aquatic resources; 3) increased participation of private landowners in habitat projects; and 4) enhancement of prior state and local investments made in shoreland and forest conservation in the region. The Land Trust will strategically target complexes of protect lands in which these outcomes are maximized.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2017, Ch. 91, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd. 3(f)
Appropriation Language

$1,700,000 in the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Minnesota Land Trust to acquire permanent conservation easements along rivers and lakes in the northern forest region. Of this amount, up to $120,000 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 proposed permanent conservation easements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Forestlands are protected from development and fragmentation - This program will permanently protect 330 acres of strategic northern forest region habitats and approximately 1 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Measure: Acres protected..

Source of Additional Funds

MLT, Private Landowners

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Minnesota Land Trust
Street Address
2356 University Avenue W Suite 240
St. Paul
Zip Code
(651) 917-6292
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

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