MeCC V - Lower Minnesota River Watershed Restoration & Enhancement (2.4)
Project Outcome and Results
Friends of the Minnesota Valley (FMV) undertook restoration of habitat for the Lower Minnesota River Watershed portion of the Metropolitan Conservation Corridors Project (MeCC) as a continuation of our wildlife habitat restoration within the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Wetland Management District (Refuge) and within the Lower Minnesota River Watershed. FMV sought to restore native habitats within the Refuge and to work in concert with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other partners on critical, publicly-owned habitat on Refuge lands. During this phase of the MeCC project, FMV and our partners were able to successfully restore and enhance 17 acres of native wet prairie, 48 acres of native dry sand-gravel oak savanna, and 28 acres of native dray sand-gravel prairie with Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund funds for a total acreage of 93 acres. We were also able to restore additional match acreage of 59 acres of native dry sand-gravel oak savanna with non-LCCMR, non-state funds, bringing total acres impacted by this project to 152 acres.
The FMV objectives were to complement and connect habitat restoration and management of Refuge lands with that being done by other entities. Restoration sites were selected to address primary management issues and challenges, including the need to restore hydrology within floodplain communities and to restore upland communities such as native oak savanna and wet and dry prairies. Public access to restored lands for recreation and education and the assurance of permanent protection were also primary factors. Due to persistent flooding, our access to wetland sites was severely limited and, as a result, we shifted our focus to upland restoration, as reflected in our amended work program.
All work was completed on four Refuge Units. Work included cutting and herbicide treatment of non-native woody brush species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, prickly ash, eastern red cedar, and Siberian elm. Minnesotans will be able to access and appreciate the restored sites through the access and education provided to Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge visitors. Our project data is publicly accessible by contacting FMV, through information disseminated through our newsletter and on our website, and through information provided by the MeCC Partnership.
Project Results Use and Dissemination
As projects were completed, Friends of the Minnesota Valley publicized project accomplishments through the Friends' quarterly newsletter, our annual report, publication of a habitat restoration prospectus, and the posting of projects on our website. Other dissemination of information occurred through the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership and on the Metro Corridors website.
$3,375,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for the fifth appropriation for acceleration of agency programs and cooperative agreements. Of this appropriation, $2,185,000 is for Department of Natural Resources agency programs and $1,190,000 is for agreements as follows: $380,000 with the Trust for Public Land; $90,000 with Friends of the Mississippi River; $155,000 with Great River Greening; $250,000 with Minnesota Land Trust; $225,000 with Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc.; and $90,000 with Friends of the Minnesota Valley for the purposes of planning, restoring, and protecting important natural areas in the metropolitan area, as defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.121, subdivision 2, and portions of the surrounding counties, through grants, contracted services, technical assistance, conservation easements, and fee title acquisition. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. Expenditures are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work program. 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".