Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor Project - Phase IV
$2,073,000 the second year is to the commissioner
of natural resources for agreements to acquire
lands in fee and restore wildlife habitat in the
Mississippi headwaters. Of this amount, $73,000 is
to the Mississippi Headwaters Board and $2,000,000
is to The Trust for Public Land. $925,000 the
second year is to the Board of Water and Soil
Resources to acquire lands in permanent
conservation easements and to restore wildlife
habitat, of which up to $65,000 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 acquisitions must be
included as part of the required accomplishment
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 (MHB) will work with the Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR), The Trust for Public Land (TPL), headwaters' counties and Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to protect and preserve targeted upland and aquatic habitats through fee title and permanent easement acquisition in high quality shoreland areas along the Mississippi River main stem, headwaters' reservoirs, and major Mississippi River tributaries.
The Mississippi River is known as "America's River"--the longest river in North America and third longest in the world-with its headwaters in Minnesota. It provides drinking water and recreational opportunity for millions of people and it is the embodiment of Minnesota’s outdoor traditions. Strategic and well-placed lands in public ownership is essential to maintaining hunting, fishing, and game habitat along the Mississippi River. Public lands adjacent to private property are in danger of losing habitat connectivity because of continued development pressures on private lands which result in further habitat fragmentation. Accessibility to high quality lands and shorelands is essential to ensuring memorable hunting, fishing, and recreational experiences along and within the Mississippi River Corridor. In addition, 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, because it is well timbered and watered, it provides ideal support for migrating birds. The Mississippi Headwaters supports more than 350 species of animals, mammals, and birds and it is an important national treasure which must be preserved.The MHB and partners will use targeted fee title land acquisitions and permanent conservation easements to accomplish the goals of this project. All fee title acquisitions will be approved by the local governmental unit where the property is located and the MHB. The Mississippi River and its connecting tributaries and headwaters' lakes are essential to wildlife, bird, and waterfowl transportation and sustainability. The MHB will work in partnership with TPL to protect targeted priority lands using fee title acquisitions and in partnership with the BWSR and SWCDs in Clearwater, Beltrami, Hubbard, Cass, Itasca, Aitkin, Crow Wing, and Morrison counties to secure permanent Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) conservation easements. Fee title acquisitions will protect against fragmentation of forest land and provide enhanced access to existing public land. Parcels identified as potential fee title acquisitions on the Mississippi River are shown on the attached map. The MHB 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 project is met. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR)or individual counties will hold the fee title acquisitions and the BWSR will hold the RIM easements. A local Project Technical Committee will review and rank potential acquisitions and easements. Local support for this project was obtained from the MHB counties through resolutions of support. This funding builds on the current success of Phases I & II of the Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor Project.