MN Forests for the Future / Upper Mississippi Project
$18,000,000 in fiscal year 2010 and $18,000,000 in fiscal year 2011 are to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire land or permanent working forest easements on private forests in areas identified through the Minnesota forests for the future program under Minnesota Statutes, section 84.66. Priority must be given to acquiring land or interests in private lands within existing Minnesota state forest boundaries. Any easements acquired must have a forest management plan as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 290C.02, subdivision 7. A list of proposed fee title and easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan. The fiscal year 2011 appropriation is available only for acquisitions that, by August 15, 2009, are: (1) subject to a binding agreement with the commissioner; and (2) matched by at least $9,000,000 in private donations.
The Conservation Fund, State Capital Bonding, RIM CritHabLicPlates, TNC
This program/project protected approximately 187,876 acres of forest and wetlands with permanent conservation easements and 2,745 acres with fee acquisition and provides public recreational access, provides for sustainable forest management, and supports diverse habitats for a wide array of fish and wildlife species.
Accomplishment Plan: http://www.lsohc.leg.mn/FY2010/accomp_plan/3.pdf
This proposal will protect over 190,000 acres of private forest through the use of working forest conservation easements and fee acquisition that prevents forestland conversion and parcelization. The highest priority blocks of forest within Minnesota’s forested subsections will be targeted for permanent protection. Acquisitions will prevent development, assure traditional public access for hunting and fishing, and allow for sustainable forest management. The sale of large timber company holdings in Minnesota is part of a national trend. These large blocks of forest provide critical connectivity with public conservation lands. Private and public forest lands interact to create a working forest across the landscape that provides essential benefits Minnesotans care deeply about. The vision of the Minnesota Forests for the Future Program is to protect up to 530,000 acres of private forests over the next 25 years (see Minnesota Forests for the Future: A Strategic Report. April 2008). The current request reflects an accelerated acquisition program over the next 3-4 years in order to take advantage of a short window of opportunity to protect some of the largest, remaining blocks of private forestland in the state. Projects funded under this program will protect forests, prevent forest fragmentation and encourage forest consolidation –outcomes consistent with Minnesota Statutes 97A.056.