Reinvest In Minnesota Wetlands Partnership, Phase VI
The Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Wetlands Partnership Phase VI protected and restored 1,391 acres of previously drained wetlands and adjacent grasslands on 15 conservation easements.
The RIM Wetlands Partnership Phase VI restored and protected almost 1,400 acres of previously drained wetlands and associated upland grassland wildlife habitat complexes via 15 permanent conservation easements. The goal of the RIM Wetlands Partnership was to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values and optimizing wildlife habitat on acres enrolled. Wetlands and adjacent grasslands provide habitat for waterfowl, pheasants, deer and non-game species, some that are threatened or endangered.
Minnesota’s prairies once comprised nearly 20 million acres, extending from the borders of Iowa and Wisconsin in the southeast to North Dakota and Manitoba in the northwest. Less than 1% of this native prairie remains. Minnesota has lost an estimated 42 percent of its original 16 million acres of wetlands to drainage or fill activities. The loss of wetlands is most severe in the prairie regions of the state. Approximately 90% of prairie wetlands have disappeared and in the southwestern part of the state losses are as high as 99%. Prairie wetlands are particularly important for migratory waterfowl. Although the North American pothole region contains only about 10% of the waterfowl nesting habitat on the continent (including a significant portion of Minnesota), it produces 70% of all North American waterfowl. This extensive loss of Minnesota’s prairie and wetland habitat has lead to the decline of many wildlife and plant species originally abundant in the state. Of the nearly 1,200 known wildlife species in Minnesota, 292 species, or approximately one-fourth, are at risk because they are rare. Their populations are declining or they face serious risks of decline due to loss of habitat.
The RIM Wetlands Partnership held meetings regularly to provide program oversight and guidance and to establish payment rates for upcoming sign-ups. The RIM Wetlands Partnership used the GIS Wildlife Habitat Potential Model developed by the USFWS Habitat and Population Evaluation Team (HAPET) to evaluate each easement application on its potential to restore wetland functions and values along with optimum wildlife habitat benefits.
A RIM Wetlands Partnership statewide sign-up was held in 2015. All applications were scored and ranked using the RIM Wetland Restoration Evaluation Worksheet. The worksheet evaluated which projects provided the greatest wetland functions and values and optimized wildlife habitat on the selected and enrolled acres. The highest scoring applications were selected for funding.
$9,710,000 in the second year is to the Board of Soil and Water Resources to acquire permanent conservation easements and restore wetlands and associated upland habitat in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and Ducks Unlimited, including $645,000 for an agreement with Ducks Unlimited to provide technical and bioengineering assistance. Up to $190,000 to the Board of Water and Soil Resources is for establishing a monitoring and enforcement fund as approved in the accomplishment plan and subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.056, subdivision 17. A list of permanent conservation easements must be provided as part of the final report. The appropriations in Laws 2012, chapter 264, article 1, section 2, subdivision 4, paragraph (a), and Laws 2013, chapter 137, article 1, section 2, subdivision 4, paragraph (a), may be used for the purposes of this appropriation.
Protected 1392 acres (in easement)
Ducks Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited