HCP VI - Campaign for Conservation - Acquisition and Restoration (2n/4f)
Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) 2009 work program focused on 6 habitat restoration projects totaling 3,664 acres (3,118-ENRTF funds; 546-other funds). Additional details, beyond the short summary below, are found in the more detailed reporting provided for each project.
Northern Tallgrass Prairie: Prairie was restored on 183 acres (88 acres-ENRTF; 95 acres-other funds) of TNC land on this key parcel for building connections within the Bluestem Prairie complex. Project activities included seed collection, site preparation, sowing, and follow work to control invasives in the restoration area.
Western MN Invasives Control & Prescribed Fire: TNC accelerated management activities on 1,067 acres (798 acres-ENRTF; 269 acres-other funds) of TNC lands. Activities included planning/implementing prescribed fire on 1,060 acres, buckthorn removal, and a focused effort on controlling leafy spurge.
Prairie Coteau Restoration: Prairie was restored on 84 acres (all acres-ENRTF) of TNC land in a key parcel for connecting remaining areas of native prairie in the Lac qui Parle complex. Completed work included preparing and seeding 71 acres, clearing trees, buckthorn removal, and fence removal.
Prairie Forest Border Restoration: This project accelerated prescribed fire and invasives management on 2,091 acres (1,932 acres-ENRTF; 159 acres-other funds) of TNC and public grassland, wetland and forest at 7 sites in Central and Southeastern Minnesota. Individual activities included planning/implementing prescribed fire on 1,392 acres, invasive surveys/treatment on 560 acres, brush removal on 135 acres, and buckthorn removal on 19 acres.
NE MN Conifer Restoration: 114 acres (all acres-ENRTF) of TNC and public land was managed to encourage the regeneration of conifers in Northeast Minnesota. Project tasks included installing exclosures and budcaps to prevent browsing and using brush saws, grass mats, and grubbing to control competing vegetation.
Sand Prairie Restoration: Prairie was restored on 90 acres and existing habitat was enhanced on an additional 35 acres of TNC land buffering the outstanding native prairie on the adjoining Weaver Dunes SNA (102 acres-ENRTF; 23 acres-other funds). Project activities included seed collection, site preparation, three rounds of sowing with a high-diversity 115-species mix, brush clearing, and surveying/treating invasive species.
One thing to note when reviewing detailed information on the individual projects: the completed acres shown for each project may be lower than the number of acres listed for the separate restoration activities. The lower total reflects the fact that multiple activities may have been done on the same acres.
In this phase, The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) proposed acquiring fee title to 115 acres of habitat with Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) and other funds. These projects would emphasize protecting and linking existing public and private conservation lands, helping to build larger, more sustainable areas of habitat.
Using ENRTF and private funds, TNC purchased two parcels adjoining Weaver Dunes SNA. The Conservancy purchased the Cox tract (30.6 acres) on November 16, 2010 and the Carroll-Fitzgerald tract (21.7 acres) on December 10, 2010. Together, these parcels total 52.3 acres.
Both parcels are located in an area identified as critical in both TNC's and the Habitat Conservation Partnership's planning processes. As part of the Conservation by Design process, The Conservancy develops a Conservation Area Plan (CAP) and Rapid Protection Plan (RPP) for each landscape where we are active. These plans define conservation objectives, management strategies, and areas targeted for action. Both parcels were identified as targets in TNC 's 2007 Conservation Area and Rapid Protection Plans for the Weaver Dunes-Zumbro Delta landscape.
Purchasing these parcels protects the native prairie found on portions of both properties. These prairies were ranked as having outstanding biodiversity significance by the Minnesota County Biological Survey. The protection and restoration of the remaining areas of converted or degraded prairie on these tracts will provide a valuable buffer to the large areas of outstanding native prairie on the 6,000 acres of adjoining TNC-, state-, and federally-protected lands.
The Conservancy will retain ownership and manage both properties as additions to the Weaver Dunes SNA. Funds for the continuing management of these acquisitions were ensured by placing 20% of the fair market value of the properties in a dedicated stewardship endowment. The income from this endowment provides the resources for approximately 50% of the ongoing costs of land management. The remaining 50% of future funding needs will be raised through private fundraising and private and public grants.
TNC was unable to reach our original goal for acres protected. The relatively -high cost of land in Southeastern Minnesota where these tracts are located and the continuing state-wide escalation in rural land prices made this difficult to achieve.
The Conservancy spent an additional $235,754.57 of its private funds in transaction-related expenses for these fee title acquisition projects. For more details on the purchases, the associated costs, and their conservation significance, see the Transaction Cost Reporting Guidelines memo submitted to LCCMR on January 14, 2011.
Project Results Use and Dissemination
All acquired or restored lands are open to the public. The Conservancy publicizes its work on these projects via press releases, membership publications, presentations and/or the Conservancy's website. TNC has also participated in publicizing the overall accomplishments of the Habitat Corridors Partnership project as it has reached significant milestones.TNC continues to coordinate with public and private partners to apply lessons learned from this project to work at these and other sites.
$3,375,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for the sixth appropriation for acceleration of agency programs and cooperative agreements. Of this appropriation, $770,000 is for the Department of Natural Resources agency programs and $2,605,000 is for agreements as follows: $450,000 with Pheasants Forever; $50,000 with Minnesota Deer Hunters Association; $895,000 with Ducks Unlimited, Inc.; $85,000 with National Wild Turkey Federation; $365,000 with the Nature Conservancy; $210,000 with Minnesota Land Trust; $350,000 with the Trust for Public Land; $100,000 with Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc.; $50,000 with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and $50,000 with Friends of Detroit Lakes Watershed Management District to plan, restore, and acquire fragmented landscape corridors that connect areas of quality habitat to sustain fish, wildlife, and plants. The United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service is a cooperating partner in the appropriation. Expenditures are limited to the project corridor areas as defined in the work program. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum habitat and facility management standards as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. This appropriation may not be used for the purchase of residential structures, unless expressly approved in the work program. All conservation easements must be perpetual and have a natural resource management plan. Any land acquired in fee title by the commissioner of natural resources with money from this appropriation must be designated as an outdoor recreation unit under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.07. The commissioner may similarly designate any lands acquired in less than fee title. A list of proposed restorations and fee title and easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work program. All funding for conservation easements must include a long-term stewardship plan and funding for monitoring and enforcing the agreement. To the maximum extent practical, consistent with contractual easement or fee acquisition obligations, the recipients shall utilize staff resources to identify future projects and shall maximize the implementation of biodiverse, quality restoration projects in the project proposal into the first half of the 2010 fiscal year.
Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".
Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".