HCP VI - Shallow Lake Easements (3c)
$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".
Overall Project Outcome and Results
The objective of this project was to accelerate Ducks Unlimited (DU) efforts to help improve and protect shallow lakes managed for waterfowl. To protect shallow lakes, DU worked with private shallow lake shoreline landowners to secure permanent conservation easements on managed shallow lakes prioritized by DU for their importance to waterfowl and threat of development. The goal was to permanently protect at least 200 shallow lake shoreland acres.
DU land protection staff worked with several private landowners on multiple shallow lakes over the course of this two year grant, and eventually began negotiations with five landowners on four different shallow lakes who expressed a desire to proceed with appraisals and discuss easement terms. Through that process, two of the five easement negotiations were successful and became viable land protection deals. DU subsequently proceeded to close on a fully purchased conservation easement on 76 acres on Fish Lake in Stearns County in February 2011. DU then proceeded to seek approval to split the cost of a second larger easement of 150 acres on Garden and Johnson Lakes in Crow Wing County using the remaining funds from this 2009 Trust Fund appropriation (60%) and a related 2010 Trust Fund appropriation (40%). Overall, DU successfully closed two conservation easements through this grant and permanently protected 226 acres in total, which was slightly more than our 200-acre goal.
The total project cost to protect shallow lakes through conservation easements was $353,532, which includes reimbursement of $250,000 from the Trust Fund through this grant plus the expenditure of $61,532 in Other Funds by DU and $42,000 donated to DU for easement stewardship.
Project Results Use and Dissemination
This grant helped DU accelerate the protection of shallow lakes by working with private landowners to secure conservation easements and promote conservation easement concepts. Conservation easements with private landowners are sensitive land deals that don't lend themselves to widespread publicity, however, DU has recognized individual landowners and has publicized our work to protect shallow lake shorelines and shoreland locally through local conservation groups, soil and water districts, and tribal organizations supportive of our work to protect wild rice lakes. DU also informed the foundations supporting our Living Lakes Initiative of our conservation accomplishments. The accomplishment of securing two new permanent conservation easements through this grant has helped encourage other private landowners to consider working with DU to protect their shorelines, and news of our progress may be further disseminated through DU news releases and articles DU publications in the future.