Lower Mississippi River Habitat Partnership, Phase 2
$707,000 the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire and enhance habitat in the lower Root River and lower Zumbro River watersheds, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivisions 7 and 8. A list of proposed land acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Protect in fee 43 acres of Wetlands and 82 acres of Forests
This funding resulted in permanent protection of three strategically located parcels totaling 125 acres. Funding was used to protect high priority parcels within the Lower Root and Lower Zumbro River floodplains. This was part of a broad partnership working to improve habitat quality and connectivity in critical areas along the Mississippi River corridor. Two of the three parcels acquired are now being managed as State Forests (SFT), while the third parcel is being managed as a Wildlife Management Area (WMA). These parcels are protecting forests and habitat while providing public hunting, trapping and compatible outdoor uses.
The Lower Mississippi River Habitat Restoration Partnership is a long-term effort to restore habitat connectivity and improve water quality in critical areas along the Mississippi River corridor from the Twin Cities to the Iowa border by reconnecting tributaries to their floodplains, revitalizing backwaters and channels, and protecting and restoring floodplain forests, wetlands, and prairies that are essential to sustaining the incredible diversity of plants, animals, and human uses provided by this great river. Critical areas include the lower reaches of the Root, Zumbro, Cannon, and Vermillion Rivers, and the backwaters and channels of Mississippi River Pools 2 and 3 (St. Paul to Red Wing). FY2011 funding from the LSOHC focused on acquisition and restoration of key parcels in the Lower Root River floodplain.
Parcels were selected are those of highest priority, previously identified in land asset management plans. The pool of parcels was selected using key classifications including; those providing protection of critical habitat, those providing access to state land, and those consolidating fragmented state land parcels. Parcels were further prioritized by the values protected, acres accessed and consolidation as determined by state/private boundary reduction.
Lands acquired are part of the Lower Root and Lower Zumbro River floodplains established under the Outdoor Recreation System (M.S. 86A.06). This project included the initial land development of each parcel acquired including boundary surveys and signage. There was no well, septic, building or dump issues to consider. Lands acquired contained existing quality habitat, requiring very little immediate restoration or enhancement work.
Federal funds were used to evaluate the quality of wetlands on one parcel, but it was determined that no mitigation efforts were required.