Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor Project - Phase III
$1,617,000 the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire lands in fee and restore wildlife habitat in the Mississippi headwaters and for agreements as follows: $60,000 to the Mississippi Headwaters Board and $1,557,000 to The Trust for Public Land. $779,000 the first year is to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to acquire lands in permanent conservation easements and to restore wildlife habitat. Up to $59,000 to the Board of Water and Soil Resources 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 acquisitions must be included as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Increased availability and improved condition of riparian forests and other habitat corridors - An increase of lineal shoreland habitat permanently protected by easement or fee acquisition. An increase in the percent (%) of minor watersheds habitat being permanently protected..Rivers and streams provide corridors of habitat including intact areas of forest cover in the east and large wetland/upland complexes in the west - An increase of lineal shoreland habitat permanently protected by easement or fee acquisition. An increase in the percent (%) of minor watersheds habitat being permanently protected..
The Mississippi Headwaters Board will work with the Board of Water & Soil Resources, The Trust for Public Land, headwaters counties, and Soil & Water Conservation Districts to protect and preserve targeted habitat in high quality shoreland areas and provide access on the Mississippi River, headwater's reservoirs, and connecting corridor tributaries through fee title acquisitions. Easements will be administered in target areas to protect habitat and shoreland areas.
The Mississippi River is known as "America's River." It is the largest river in North America, and provides drinking water, industry, and recreation for millions of people, and is the embodiment of Minnesota's outdoor traditions. Strategic and well placed public ownership is essential to maintaining the hunting, fishing, and game habitat along the Mississippi River. Public lands adjacent to private property are in danger of losing habitat connectivity because of the continued development pressures on private lands which result in further fragmentation. Land accessibility to these lands is essential to ensuring high quality, memorable experiences while hunting and fishing within the Mississippi River Corridor. Riparian corridors and tributaries are of particular value to resident and migrating wildlife populations, providing connectivity to multiple habitat types.As loss of habitat in western Minnesota and the Dakotas occurs, and climate change causes the drying up of existing wetlands, the Mississippi flyway will take on a more important role. The Mississippi flyway is the longest migration route of any in the western hemisphere, and is well timbered and watered to afford ideal conditions to support migrating birds. The Mississippi Headwaters supports more than 350 species of animals, mammals, and birds and is an important national treasure which must be preserved.The Mississippi Headwaters Board will use targeted fee title land acquisitions and permanent conservation easements to accomplish the goals of this proposal. All fee title acquisitions will be approved by the local governmental unit and the Mississippi Headwaters Board where the property exists. The Mississippi river and its connecting tributaries and headwaters lakes are essential to wildlife, bird, and waterfowl transportation and sustainability. The Mississippi Headwaters Board will work with The Trust for Public Land to protect the priority lands using fee title acquisitions; and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the counties of Clearwater, Beltrami, Hubbard, Cass, Itasca, Aitkin, Crow Wing, and Morrison to implement the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program through the Board of Water and Soil Resources to gain permanent conservation easements. Fee title acquisitions will protect against fragmentation of forest land, and provide access to existing public land. Parcels identified as potential fee title acquisitions on the Mississippi River are shown on the attached map. The Mississippi Headwaters Board will administer, provide updated reports to the council, coordinate efforts, and develop a consistent process that utilizes county support to ensure that the program and spirit of this proposal is met. The Department of Natural Resources or individual counties will hold the fee title acquisitions, and the Board of Water and Soil Resources will hold the permanent easements. A local Project Technical Committee will review and rank potential acquisitions and easements. Local support was obtained by the MHB counties writing resolutions of support for this program. Various conservation partnerships were formed with The Trust for Public Land and the 8 local Soil & Water Conservation Districts to also help implement this program at the field level.