Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Protection, Phase II
This program will permanently protect remnant native prairie and associated wetland complexes in western Minnesota by purchasing fee title properties and/or habitat easements. Lands and easements purchased through this program by The Nature Conservancy will be transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and will become units of the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge to be owned and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The majority of the lands protected will consist of native prairie, however, restoration of wetlands and grasslands will also be completed where needed.
The Northern tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge was established to preserve, restore and manage a portion of the remaining critical northern tallgrass prairie habitat and associated habitats at widespread locations throughout the western Minnesota and northwestern Iowa historic range. Only 5 percent of the original tallgrass prairie remains for preservation consideration throughout the entire historic tallgrass prairie range. Native prairie declines of 99.9% and 99.6% have occurred in Iowa and Minnesota, respectively. Grassland dependent bird species have shown steeper, more consistent, and geographically more widespread declines than any other group of North American birds.
The number of acres purchased annually has been limited due to funding shortfalls since the establishment of this refuge. The current land acquisition budget cannot keep up with landowner interest? in this program. This funding will allow us to better meet refuge goals and objectives to protect this vanishing habitat.
The Nature Conservancy will work closely with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to review potential properties within the Northern Tallgrass Prairie Habitat Preservation Area. These properties will be ranked by Service field staff who will work with the TNC personnel to permanently protect these tracts.
$2,041,000 in fiscal year 2011 is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with The Nature Conservancy to acquire land or permanent easements within the Northern Tallgrass Prairie Habitat Preservation Area in western Minnesota for addition to the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. A list of proposed fee title and permanent easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan. The accomplishment plan must include an easement stewardship plan.
Protect in Fee w/o PILT 564 acres of prairies, Enhanced 488 acres of Prairie