Floodplain Forest Enhancement-Mississippi River, Phase 3

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
National Audubon Society
In Progress
Start Date
July 2019
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Overview

Reed canary grass and other invasive plants are preventing natural regeneration of trees and threatening floodplain forests and wildlifealong the Mississippi River. This effort builds on two previous LSOHC grants to control invasive species and plant trees as part of a long-term restoration strategy by Audubon Minnesota and key partners to sustain diverse and productive floodplain forests and the wildlifeand birds they support.

About the Issue

The Mississippi River from Hastings to the Iowa border contains some of the largest tracts of floodplain forest along the entire UpperMississippi River. These forests and mixed wetlands cover thousands of acres and are critical to many species of birds and otherwildlife, including wood ducks, which use these areas for nesting and feeding.While historically diverse in the number, age, and size of tree species, much of the forest now consists of silver maple ranging from 50-70 years old. These trees are expected to live another 50-70+ years, after which they will die naturally. Unfortunately, when trees arelost, reed canary grass and other invasive species move in and prevent natural regeneration. This is occurring throughout the projectarea, and without aggressive, long-term management these floodplain forests will decline or in some locations disappear completely.Floodplain forest regeneration is a slow process taking decades to accomplish. By selectively controlling invasive species andregenerating trees the forest can be maintained long-term. Restoring forest at small sites within larger tracts will ensure that a diversityof tree species, sizes, and ages are present. This approach over time will maintain large contiguous blocks of forest and provide habitatfor many wildlife species, including rare birds like ceruleuan warbler and red-shouldered hawk.This proposal seeks funding to continue floodplain forest enhancement throughout the project area. The number of sites needingenhancement or restoration is extensive. To date we have completed or begun work on 15 sites totaling over 500 acres. This proposalsignificantly expands our scope and includes 25 sites covering up to 4,300 acres. Sites were determined in collaboration with MinnesotaDepartment of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers and identify locations under seriousthreat of losing critical floodplain forest. All sites are located on public lands within state forests, WMA's, Upper Mississippi RiverNational Wildlife and Fish Refuge, or US Army Corps of Engineers owned lands open to hunting and fishing.Funding will be used to control invasive species, especially reed canary grass, plant trees of various sizes and species, and maintain plantings. Timber stand improvements will create small openings allowing for greater diversity in species and age structure as. Seedlings will be planted in the understory of ash dominated stands to ensure regeneration when the canopy opens due to ash borer. Oldagricultural fields will be planted to native forest. Timber harvest will be used to improve forest structure and regenerate young trees.Deer and vole protection will be provided as needed. Over time trees will establish and develop a canopy that shades out invasivespecies and maintains overall forest diversity.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2019, 1st Sp. Session, Ch. 2, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd, 3(d)
Appropriation Language

$1,357,000 the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the National Audubon Society to restore and enhance floodplain forest habitat for wildlife on public lands along the Mississippi River. A list of restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.

2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Large corridors and complexes of biologically diverse wildlife habitat typical of the unglaciated region are restored and protected - Existing forests within the Mississippi River floodplain have been mapped, including location and tract size. Over time, forested land cover can be re-mapped to determine if forested locations and/or tract size has changed. In addition, forest inventory is being completed by Minnesota DNR, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers to document forest cover, tree species, and size, regeneration, etc. These
can be re-surveyed over time to document changes in these parameters and evaluate success..

Source of Additional Funds

Private Foundation, USFWS, Private Foundation, N/A

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Audubon Minnesota
Street Address
1 West Water Street
St Paul
Zip Code
((608)8819707) -
Administered By
Administered by

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155

651- 296-3767