DNR WMA and SNA Acquisition - Phase IX
Acquire 960 acres of high priority habitat for designation as Wildlife Management Area (Prairie Planning Section) or Scientific and Natural Area (Prairie and SE Forest Planning Sections) emphasizing Prairie Conservation Plan implementation and coordination with partners. All lands will be open for public hunting and fishing (where applicable). WMA accomplishment is based on $5,000 per acre and should be considered a minimum estimate.
Approximately 960 acres of wildlife habitat will be protected through fee title acquisition and development as Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs, 500 acres) and Scientific & Natural Areas (SNAs, 460 acres). While no match is indicated in this proposal, Outdoor Heritage appropriations to DNR for WMA and SNA acquisitions have been matched by donations, Reinvest in Minnesota Critical Habitat Match, and Surcharge (a $6.50 surcharge on small game license sales to be used in part for land acquisition) at approximately 25% (1 dollar of match to 4 dollars of OHF). Wildlife Management Areas. WMAs protect lands and waters which have a high potential for wildlife production and develop and manage these lands and waters for public hunting, fishing and trapping, and for other compatible outdoor recreational uses such as wildlife watching and hiking. While highly successful, the current WMA system does not meet all present and future needs for wildlife habitat, wildlife population management, hunter access and wildlife related recreation. This is notably true in the Prairie Ecological planning section where public ownership in some counties is less than 2 percent. DNR Section of Wildlife uses a GIS- based tool to identify the highest priority tracts for potential WMA acquisitions. This quantitative approach scores and ranks acquisition proposals based on a set of weighted criteria and creates a standardized method for evaluating proposed acquisitions on a statewide level. Criteria and weights are periodically reviewed and adapted to changing conditions and priorities. This ensures that funds are used to acquire available lands consistent with the statutory purpose of WMAs. The WMA acquisition program is guided by the 2002 Citizens' Committee report developed with a diverse group of eleven major stakeholder groups. Potential acquisition opportunities from willing sellers are coordinated with stakeholders and partners to eliminate duplication and identify concerns and support. Coordinating with partners has been successful to ensure we are working cooperatively and on priority parcels.Scientific & Natural Areas. The SNA Program will increase public hunting and fishing opportunities while protecting sites with outstanding natural values. Protection is targeted at high priority areas identified in the SNA Strategic Land Protection Plan with emphasis on prairie core areas identified in the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan. A quantitative system scores and ranks acquisition proposals based on a weighted set of six criteria. Priority is given to sites of high and outstanding biodiversity significance by the Minnesota Biological Survey, high quality native plant communities and habitat for endangered and threatened species. Larger parcels which adjoin other conservation lands, improve habitat management, are under imminent threat and are partially donated are also rated highly.Properties acquired through this appropriation require County Board of Commissioners' approval in the county of acquisition, will be designated as WMA or SNA through a Commissioner's Designation Order, brought up to minimum DNR standards, and listed on the DNR website. Basic site improvements will include boundary and LSOHC acknowledgement signs and may include any necessary site cleanup and restoration of agricultural fields and minimal parking area development.
$3,064,000 in the first year and $1,373,000 in the second year are to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire in fee and restore lands for wildlife management purposes under Minnesota Statutes 86A.05, subdivision 8 and to acquire land in fee for scientific and natural area purposes under Minnesota Statutes, sections 86A.05, subdivision 5. Subject to evaluation criteria in Minnesota Rules 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 acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
High priority riparian lands, forestlands, and savannas are protected from parcelization and fragmentation - Outcomes are miles of undeveloped river shoreline protected and acres of high quality native forest which provides habitat for endangered, threatened, and special concern such as butternut, wood turtle, mudpuppy, redside dace, black redhorse, and American brook lamprey..Key core parcels are protected for fish, game and other wildlife - Acres of native prairie protected and grassland protected/restored..