Protecting Pinelands Sands Aquifer Forestlands and Aquatic Habitat Phase 1
$1,050,000 in the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire forest lands in Cass, Hubbard, and Wadena Counties for wildlife management area purposes underMinnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 8; to acquire land in fee for scientific and natural area purposes under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 5; or to acquire land in fee for state forests under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 7. A list of proposed land acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Protected in fee 567 acres of forestlands.
U.S. Forest Service
The Pinelands Sands Aquifer Phase 1 project protected 567 acres of priority forest habitat in the Pinelands Sands Aquifer including high quality dry pine woodlands to prevent habitat loss, protect water quality in the aquifer, and provide access. Lands protected include 352 acres of forests which will be added to the Badoura State Forest and 215 acres which will be part of the newly established Jack Pine Woodlands Scientific and Natural Area. Protected lands will provide ecological and habitat connectivity, public wildlife and recreational opportunities, help maintain water quality in the aquifer and increase management access to other public lands.
Process & Methods: The Pinelands Sands Phase 1 project was part of an interdisciplinary effort by the Department of Natural Resources to assess and prioritize for protection industrial forestland in west central Minnesota in the Pinelands Sands area. The effort has included representatives from the Divisions of Fish and Wildlife, Ecological and Water Resources, Parks and Trails, and Forestry who have identified parcels containing high ecological, water, habitat, recreational, access and timber values. The process has included the participation of county boards, county staff and Potlatch representatives. One of the two parcels acquired is the new Badoura Jack Pine Forest SNA which benefitted from additional Outdoor Heritage Funding provided to the Division of Ecological and Water Resources and who also had funding provided by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The second parcel acquired will be added to the Badoura State Forest. Both parcels are located in southeastern Hubbard County adjacent to or in close proximity to other public lands and will be open for public access including hunting.
The Badoura Jack Pine Forest SNA protects a rare jack pine woodland plant community which is considered Imperiled or Critically Imperiled (S1S2) by the DNR and Globally Rare (G2) by NatureServe and which also contains several populations of the State Special Concern plant species Hill’s thistle (Cirsium hillii). These jack pine woodland plant communities are characterized by a mix of prairie and northern forest plant species and this acquisition represents one of the largest remaining stands of jack pine woodland in this part of the state.
The second parcel includes 420 acres of forestland that protects at risk pine and hardwood forest habitat. Forest lands acquired include those most at risk of near-term conversion to row crop agriculture, and parcels adjacent to already publically owned lands that would augment protection for the Pineland Sands aquifer. These parcels also provide habitat connectivity and management and public access to additional areas of state and county forest lands.