Native Prairie Stewardship and Native Prairie Bank Acquisition

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$500,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$500,000
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient
MN DNR
Recipient Type
State Government
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2011
End Date
June 2014
Activity Type
Inventory
Land Acquisition
Monitoring
Planning
Restoration/Enhancement
Technical Assistance
Counties Affected
Statewide
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 04h
Appropriation Language

$500,000 the first year and $500,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire native prairie bank easements, prepare baseline property assessments, restore and enhance native prairie sites, and provide technical assistance to landowners. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2014, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$500,000
Direct expenses
$500,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
6.19
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 04h
Appropriation Language

$500,000 the first year and $500,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire native prairie bank easements, prepare baseline property assessments, restore and enhance native prairie sites, and provide technical assistance to landowners. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2014, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$500,000
Direct expenses
$500,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
6.19
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Prior to European settlement more than 18 million acres of prairie covered Minnesota. Today less than 1% of that native prairie remains, and about half of those remaining acres are in private landownership without any formal protection currently in place. Through this appropriation the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will work with private landowners of high quality native prairie sites to protect remaining native prairie using a variety of tools. Approximately 200 acres are expected to be permanently protected through Native Prairie Bank conservation easements. A variety of restoration and enhancement activities will be implemented on a total of about 900 acres. Additionally, education and technical assistance will be provided to interested landowners to help them improve the management and stewardship of native prairie sites they own.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
A total of 183 acres of native prairie was enrolled in the Native Prairie Bank easement program and permanently protected. The newly acquired easements included 6 easements in the Counties of Redwood, Brown, Pope, Traverse, Swift, and Renville. In total, 22 baseline property reports were written, including 6 baselines for the newly acquired easements. In addition to baseline reports, 22 existing Native Prairie Bank easements were monitored and data entered into the DNR's Conservation Easement Monitoring database.

SNA prairie specialists have completed 20 prescribed burns for 1,268 acres, 1 prairie reconstruction on 17 acres, and 61 invasive species control projects on 813 acres. 50 of these 82 projects involved Conservation Corps of Minnesota (CCM) crews. Boundary signing has been completed on the 6 NPB easements acquired with this appropriation. As part of the SNA Program's adaptive management efforts, management practices at 5 NPB sites were evaluated to determine if initial objectives were met.

SNA staff participated in 6 different events aimed at getting prairie stewardship information to landowners. Both SNA field specialists and acquisition staff engaged 76 different priority prairie landowners to discuss prairie protection and management options for their property. Over 290 landowners who potentially meet eligibility for Prairie Tax Exemption received mailings with Prairie Tax Exemption application forms. These mailings resulted in the certification of 204 new applications and the enrollment or re-enrollment of 6,936 acres in Prairie Tax Exemption. With the assistance of professional consultants, 20 landowners have received comprehensive Prairie Stewardship plans.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION<
As part of the landowner outreach efforts in project activities 1 and 3, the Native Prairie Bank brochure was updated and re-printed. The new Native Prairie Bank brochure is being made available at public events that target prairie landowners. Over 290 letters were mailed to native prairie landowners informing them of their potential eligibility to participate in the Prairie Tax Exemption Program. Local Technical Teams (LTT's) have been forming in southern and western MN in an effort to coordinate implementation of the MN Prairie Plan (include SWCD, NRCS, USFWS, TNC, BWSR). SNA Prairie Specialists have been working with these LTT's to ensure landowners approached directly by these LTT's are made aware of their prairie stewardship options available through the SNA Program. In total, SNA field specialists have proactively engaged 76 different priority prairie landowners to discuss prairie protection and management options for their property, as well as provide native prairie stewardship information at 6 public events.

Project Details
Project Manager
First Name
Jason
Last Name
Garms
Organization Name
MN DNR
Street Address
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
City
St Paul
State
MN
Zip Code
55155
Phone
(651) 259-5130
Email
jason.garms@state.mn.us