Preserving the Avon Hills Landscape - Phase II

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Saint John's University
Recipient Type
Private College/University
Start Date
July 2013
End Date
June 2016
Counties Affected
Project Overview

The Avon Hills area is a unique 65,000-acre glacial moraine landscape located in Stearns County just west of St. Cloud. It has been identified as having statewide ecological significance and includes the highest concentration of native plant communities in the county – including oak and maple-basswood forests, tamarack and mixed-hardwood swamps, and wet meadows – and several rare plants and animal species, including American ginseng, cerulean warbler, red-shouldered hawk, and Blanding’s turtle. This appropriation is being used by the St. John’s Arboretum at St. John’s University to secure permanent protection, via conservation easements, for an additional 350-550 acres of high quality habitat in the Avon Hills area, prepare conservation management plans for the easement lands, and provide public outreach on the significance of the Avon Hills landscape and options for its protection. St. John’s Arboretum previously used a 2008 Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund appropriation to permanently protect more than 1,000 acres in the area.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chp. 52, Sec. 2, Subd. 04j
Appropriation Language

$772,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Saint John's University in cooperation with the Minnesota Land Trust to secure permanent conservation easements on high quality habitat in Stearns County, prepare conservation management plans, and provide public outreach. A list of proposed easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. Up to $80,000 is for use by Minnesota Land Trust in a monitoring and enforcement fund as approved in the work plan and subject to subdivision 16. An entity that acquires a conservation easement with appropriations from the trust fund must have a long-term stewardship plan for the easement and a fund established for monitoring and enforcing the agreement. Money appropriated from the trust fund for easement acquisition may be used to establish a monitoring, management, and enforcement fund as approved in the work plan. An annual financial report is required for any monitoring, management, and enforcement fund established, including expenditures from the fund. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on Work Plan under Project Details.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on Work Plan under Project Details.

Description of Funds
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Saint Johns Arboretum and University
Street Address
PO Box 3000
Zip Code
(320) 363-3163
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

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