DNR Trout Stream Conservation Easements

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$642,000
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Recipient
DNR
Recipient Type
State Government
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2018
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Counties Affected
Carlton
Fillmore
Goodhue
Houston
Lake
Olmsted
St. Louis
Wabasha
Winona
Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2018, Ch. 208, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd 5(d)
Appropriation Language

$642,000 the second year is to the commissioner of
natural resources to acquire land in permanent
conservation easements to protect trout stream
aquatic habitat. Up to $52,500 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 required accomplishment
plan.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$642,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$0
Direct expenses
$639,500
Administration costs
$2,500
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Improved aquatic habitat indicators - Acquired easements will be monitored by DNR staff following standard protocols. Monitoring will document compliance with terms of easement agreement..Rivers, streams, and surrounding vegetation provide corridors of habitat - Acquired easements will be monitored by DNR staff following standard protocols. Monitoring will document compliance with terms of easement agreement..

Project Overview

We propose a programmatic approach to achieve prioritized aquatic habitat protection for trout streams across Minnesota, but emphasizing Southeast and Northeast Minnesota. We propose to protect 5 miles of trout streams with permanent conservation easements on private land. Protected lands will be designated as Aquatic Management Areas (AMA’s) administered by the Minnesota DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife.

About the Issue

Trout fishing in Minnesota is enjoyed by thousands of anglers, with recent sales of trout stamps at record high levels. The MNDNR Section of Fisheries administers a conservation easement program that has strong stakeholder support, and protects the habitat that is the foundation of our successful trout management program. Over 90% of our conservation easements protect trout streams. In addition to protecting the riparian corridor of trout streams, easements provide access for the angling public, and also provide access for restoration and enhancement projects. We propose a programmatic approach to achieve prioritized aquatic habitat protection for trout streams across Minnesota, but emphasizing Southeast and Northeast Minnesota. We propose to protect 5 miles of trout streams with permanent conservation easements on private land. Protected lands will be designated as Aquatic Management Areas (AMA’s) administered by the Minnesota DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. The dollar value of trout stream conservation easements is set by formula. Specifically, trout stream easement payments are calculated using a formula that relies on the length of stream being placed under easement and the area of the easement footprint. The length of the stream easement in feet (length is measured in GIS from a current aerial photo) is multiplied by $5 per foot. The area of the easement foot print is also measured in GIS. The area in acres is multiplied by the average per acre estimated market value of Agricultural, Rural Vacant, and Managed Forest Land within the township where the easement lies. Estimated market value and total acres by land type for every township in the state are supplied by the Department of Revenue and revised annually. So, easement price is calculated as (feet of stream under easement x $5) + (acres of easement foot print x $ average market value/acre within that township). Trout stream conservation easement acquisition is based on multiple criteria as described in the proposal attachment. Criteria include fishery quality, rare natural features and other ecological attributes, potential to link with existing easements to increase protected corridors, and the need for access to conduct habitat restoration and enhancement projects. Scoring criteria to prioritize easements will also include the percentage of easement value that the landowner is willing to donate. Please refer to the attachments for details. Estimates of acres and miles protected are based on recent values for easements, and assume full price.

Project Manager
First Name
Martin
Last Name
Jennings
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Street Address
500 Lafayette Road
City
St Paul
State
MN
Zip Code
55155
Phone
(651) 259-5176
Email
martin.jennings@state.mn.us