Metropolitan Conservation Corridors (MeCC) - Phase VII
Though many parts of the Twin Cities metropolitan area are urbanized, there are also has large areas of natural lands that continue to serve as important habitat for fish, wildlife, and plant communities. However, pressure on these remaining lands continues to intensify as population and development pressures increase. This appropriation represents the seventh phase of an ongoing effort by a partnership of state and non-profit organizations, called the Metro Conservation Corridors (MeCC) partnership, to conduct strategic and coordinated land protection, restoration, and enhancement activities that build connections between remaining high quality natural areas in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area and ensures their benefits are available for future generations. Efforts will strengthen and protect biodiversity; improve water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams; and improve connectivity and access to outdoor recreation. This phase involves six partners and is expected to result in the permanent protection of more than 260 acres and the restoration and enhancement of more than 260 acres. Organizations involved in this phase include Dakota County, Friends of the Mississippi River, Great River Greening, Minnesota Land Trust, MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, and Trust for Public Land.
$2,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund for the acceleration of agency programs and cooperative agreements. Of this appropriation, $10,000 is to the commissioner of natural resources for agency programs and $1,990,000 is to the commissioner of natural resources for agreements as follows: $304,000 with Friends of the Mississippi River; $368,000 with Dakota County; $208,000 with Great River Greening; $310,000 with Minnesota Land Trust; $400,000 with Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc.; and $400,000 with the Trust for Public Land for planning, restoring, and protecting priority natural areas in the metropolitan area, as defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.121, subdivision 2, and portions of the surrounding counties, through 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 plan. This appropriation may not be used for the purchase of habitable residential structures, unless expressly approved in the work plan. 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 plan. Lands that would require payments in lieu of taxes under Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.061 or 477A.12, shall not be acquired with money from this appropriation. Up to $54,000 is for use by Minnesota Land Trust in a monitoring and enforcement fund as approved in the work plan and subject to subdivision 16. An entity that acquires a conservation easement with appropriations from the trust fund must have a long-term stewardship plan for the easement and a fund established for monitoring and enforcing the agreement. Money appropriated from the trust fund for easement acquisition may be used to establish a monitoring, management, and enforcement fund as approved in the work plan. An annual financial report is required for any monitoring, management, and enforcement fund established, including expenditures from the fund. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.
Click on Work Plan under Project Details.
Click on Work Plan under Project Details.