DNR WMA and SNA Acquisition, Phase XI
Acquire approximately 400 acres of high priority habitat for designation as Wildlife Management Area (Prairie Planning Section) or Scientific and Natural Area (Prairie, and Forest/Prairie Planning Sections) emphasizing Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan implementation and coordination with partners. All lands will be open for public hunting and fishing (a limited number of SNA’s are proposed for limited hunting for instance archery only or hunting but no trapping).
Approximately 400 acres of wildlife habitat will be protected through fee title acquisition and development as Wildlife Management Areas or Scientific & Natural Areas. 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 20%.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 many counties is 2 percent or less. 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’ written 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.
$2,519,000 the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire in fee and restore and enhance lands for wildlife management under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 8, and to acquire lands in fee for scientific and natural areas under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 5. 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 must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Protected, restored, and enhanced nesting and migratory habitat for waterfowl, upland birds, and species of greatest conservation need - Acres of habitat acquired that support nesting and migratory habitat and upland birds and Species in Greatest Conservation Need. Species lists (and numbers where available) of those species observed or documented..Key core parcels are protected for fish, game and other wildlife - Acres of prairie acquired. Acres of habitat acquired that support upland gamebirds, migratory waterfowl, big-game, and unique Minnesota species (e.g. endangered, threatened, and special concern species and Species in Greatest Conservation Need). Species lists (and numbers where available) of those species observed or documented..