DNR Wildlife Management Area and Scientific & Natural Area Acquisition
Work resulting from this appropriation resulted in the acquisition, development, and inclusion of 1,733 acres into the state Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system. We exceeded the projected acres by 56% and exceeded leverage by nearly 20%.
Through this appropriation the MN DNR protected lands in the prairie, and metro ecological sections. The MN DNR prioritized our acquisitions to focus on parcels with an existing habitat base, acquisition opportunities that provided connectivity and worked toward building habitat complexes, and opportunities that allowed us to maximize habitat benefits. All acquisitions were a result of a relationship with a willing seller. We scored them using a GIS based tool that assigns points based on the natural resource attributes along with other ecological and management criteria. We then ranked them in importance based on their score and input from local DNR land managers. All acquisitions where then subject to County Board review and approval. Ten WMA parcels totaling 1,733 acres are now permanently protected as a result of acquisitions funded by this program. This eclipsed our Accomplishment Plan goal for acquisition by 620 acres!
$8,145,000 in the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire land in fee for wildlife management area purposes under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 8, and to acquire land in fee for scientific and natural area purposes under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 5. Of this amount, $4,250,000 is for the Vermillion River Wildlife Management Area addition in Dakota County. Money appropriated in this paragraph may not be used to acquire any portion of the Vermillion River Wildlife Management Area Addition that is or will be subject to the removal of gravel or other mining activities. Any funds not spent on the Vermillion River Wildlife Management Area addition must be used for acquisition of land in the seven-county metropolitan area. Lands acquired with this appropriation may not be used for emergency haying and grazing in response to federal or state disaster declarations. Conservation grazing under a management plan that is already being implemented may continue. Subject to the evaluation criteria under Minnesota Rules, part 6136.0900, priority must be given to acquisition of 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 and permanent conservation easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Protected 1,733 acres in fee with State PILT Liability.