Northeast Minnesota White Cedar Plant Community Restoration

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient
BWSR
Recipient Type
State Government
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2011
End Date
June 2014
Activity Type
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Planning
Restoration/Enhancement
Counties Affected
Aitkin
Beltrami
Carlton
Cass
Clearwater
Cook
Crow Wing
Hubbard
Isanti
Itasca
Kanabec
Koochiching
Lake
Lake of the Woods
Mille Lacs
Pine
St. Louis
Wadena
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 04r
Appropriation Language

$125,000 for the first year and $125,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to assess the decline of northern white cedar plant communities in northeast Minnesota, prioritize cedar sites for restoration, and provide cedar restoration training to local units of government.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
Direct expenses
$125,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
1.59
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. 04r
Appropriation Language

$125,000 for the first year and $125,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to assess the decline of northern white cedar plant communities in northeast Minnesota, prioritize cedar sites for restoration, and provide cedar restoration training to local units of government.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
Direct expenses
$125,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
1.58
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
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide a number of specialized habitat functions, including winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, thermal buffering for brook trout streams, and critical habitat for songbirds and other unique wildlife such as martens and fishers. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to try to improve the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota. Efforts will include assessing existing white cedar communities to prioritize sites for restoration and then providing training and demonstration of restoration and re-vegetation techniques for local natural resource managers.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Project Background: Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) has been declining in Minnesota for decades. White cedar provides ecologically diverse plant communities and critical wildlife habitat and wetland functions.

Project Goals:

  1. Reverse decline of white cedar plant communities in Minnesota.
  2. Improve quantity and quality of white cedar plant communities.

Methods: Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) established seven experimental white cedar restorations and reference sites in Beltrami, Koochiching, St. Louis, and Lake Counties. Experimental treatments were designed by Dr. Rod Chimner and evaluated use of cedar seedlings, transplants, seeding and natural regeneration. Protection from browsing by wildlife was by rigid tree protectors and wire mesh enclosures. (See attached technical Report).

Results:
Evaluation/Prioritization of White Cedar Restoration Sites:
Goal: Evaluate 100 white cedar sites for restoration/preservation.
Results: 132 sites were evaluated in Aitkin, Koochiching, Itasca, St. Louis, Lake, Cook and Beltrami Counties.

Establishment of Demonstration Sites:
Goal: 400 acres restored/preserved.
Results: 7 sites (485 acres) established in Beltrami, Koochiching, St. Louis and Lake County. Groundwater monitoring wells installed.

Training Resource Managers
Goal: Train 30 land managers.
Results: Two training sessions with 66 trained.

Project Findings:

  1. Many white cedar swamps are degraded and need restoration.
  2. Major disturbances were roads, ditches and herbivory.
  3. Most harvested cedar sites have not regenerated back to cedar, but were replaced by tag alder/balsam fir/red maple.
  4. Largest single factor affecting cedar survival was hydrological conditions.
  5. Site level hydrological conditions altered by roads may end up explaining tree growth and mortality.

Project Significance: Northern White cedar provides unique wetland functions including:

  • Thermal winter cover for white tailed deer.
  • Critical habitat for pine marten, bear, fisher, songbirds.
  • Provides thermal buffering for cold water fisheries (brook trout streams).
Project Details
Project Manager
First Name
Dale
Last Name
Krystosek
Organization Name
Board of Water and Soil Resources
Street Address
701 Minnesota Ave, Ste 234
City
Bemidji
State
MN
Zip Code
56601
Phone
(218) 755-2603
Email
dale.krystosek@state.mn.us