Minnesota Forests for the Future Phase VI
$1,473,000 the second year is to the commissioner
of natural resources to acquire lands in fee and
to acquire easements for forest, wetland, and
shoreline habitat through working forest permanent
conservation easements under the Minnesota forests
for the future program according to Minnesota
Statutes, section 84.66. A conservation easement
acquired with money appropriated under this
paragraph must comply with Minnesota Statutes,
section 97A.056, subdivision 13. The
accomplishment plan must include an easement
monitoring and enforcement plan. Of this amount,
up to $25,000 is for establishing a monitoring and
enforcement fund as approved in the accomplishment
plan and subject to Minnesota Statutes, section
97A.056, subdivision 17. A list of proposed land
acquisitions must be provided as part of the
required accomplishment plan. A list of permanent
conservation easements must be provided as part of
the final report.
Forestlands are protected from development and fragmentation - This project will permanently protect approximately 1220 acres with fee title acquisition (590 acres) and perpetual conservation easements (630 acres) . The project would protect the property's conservation values - its plants, animals, natural communities and wildlife habitats found in the forests, wetlands, and shorelines of the property by permanently restricting specified land uses such as development, subdivision, land conversion or other activities that would damage those features. The project will prevent habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and associated habitat degradation and will promote healthy and diverse forests, keep water clean and help maintain healthy wildlife populations..
The Nature Conservancy
The Minnesota Forests for the Future Program will use $1.473 million to protect 630 acres with permanent conservation easements and 590 acres in fee title in the northern forest region. While the program focuses on forest protection, surrounding areas of wetland and grasslands will be included in biologically and habitat rich forest/wetland complexes. Conservation easement acquisition will focus on tracts near or adjacent to our Phase V tracts. Fee title acquisitions target priority inholdings and access parcels within State Forests. The project will prevent habitat loss and fragmentation and will promote healthy and diverse forests and wetlands.
The Hardwood Hills and Rum River Project Area is a landscape of forests, extensive wetlands, riparian habitat and open waters. Over 217 species of greatest conservation need are known to occur within this region including many disturbance sensitive species such as red-shouldered hawks. Portions of this landscape have been identified by the Minnesota County Biological Survey as sites of statewide biodiversity significance on the basis of the number of rare species, the quality of the native plant communities, size of the site, and context within the landscape. This landscape is extremely vulnerable to development. Between 2008 and 2013, more than 260,000 acres of forest, wetland, and grassland in the Upper Mississippi River Basin were converted to other uses, with a significant portion occurring within the project area. If unprotected, the long term integrity of the forest and wetland habitats will be compromised by future development activities that could convert and fragment habitat and threaten water quality. This project will focus on protection efforts in strategic locations to ensure that forests remain undeveloped, with connections maintained between forests and wetlands across the landscape. Songbirds, timber wolves, black bear, deer, bobcat, beaver, wood duck, mallard, woodcock and many other game and non-game species will benefit from protection. Conservation Easements: Phase VI of the Forests for the Future Program (MFF) will focus on priority tracts within Morrison County and will complement other conservation work in-progress (MFF Phase V) and already completed in the region (Army Compatible Use Buffers) to protect and conserve forests and wetlands for fish, game and wildlife and water quality benefits. MFF conservation easements will result in permanent protection while maintaining the land in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Landowners will be responsible for managing the properties under the guidance of a state-approved forest stewardship plan. Key habitats protected include upland deciduous and conifer forests, non-forested wetlands (shrub swamps), open wetlands, and lake, stream and river shorelines. Fee Title Acquisition: Fee acquisition will protect at-risk forest parcels in the Badoura and Paul Bunyan State Forests, consolidate and link State owned parcels, and provide management and public recreational access. These parcels are currently owned by Potlatch and are scheduled for sale in the near future if state acquisition doesn't occur. This proposal will enhance previous conservation protection efforts (Pinelands Sands 1-OHF2014) in this area.This project is being done in partnership and cooperation with many federal, state, local and private agencies engaged in conservation and protection efforts in and around Morrison County including the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, Morrison County SWCD, Mississippi Headwaters Board and the Conservation Fund.The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota has committed to providing match funds up to 10% of total project costs.