Minnesota's Legacy

RIM Buffers for Wildlife and Water - Phase VII

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$5,333,000
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Recipient
BWSR
Recipient Type
State Government
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2017
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2017, Ch. 91, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd. 2(g)
Appropriation Language

$5,333,000 in the first year is to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to acquire permanent conservation easements and restore habitat under Minnesota Statutes, section 103F.515 in order to protect, restore, and enhance habitat by expanding the clean water fund riparian buffer program for at least equal wildlife benefits from buffers on private land. Of this amount, up to $858,000 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.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$5,333,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$27,666,900
Direct expenses
$5,274,300
Administration costs
$58,700
Number of full time equivalents funded
3.64
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Protected, restored, and enhanced aspen parklands and riparian areas - A summary of the total acres acquired through this appropriation will be reported. On-site inspections are performed every three years and compliance checks are performed in the other two years to ensure maintained outcomes. An increase of native grassland habitat availability within a certain region is expected to increase the carrying capacity of grassland-dependent wildlife within that region. This would have a positive impact on both game and nongame species. We expect more abundant populations of endangered, threatened, special concern and game species as these complexes are restored..A network of natural land and riparian habitats will connect corridors for wildlife and species in greatest conservation need - A summary of the total acres acquired through this appropriation will be reported. On-site inspections are performed every three years and compliance checks are performed in the other two years to ensure maintained outcomes. An increase of native grassland habitat availability within a certain region is expected to increase the carrying capacity of grassland-dependent wildlife within that region. This would have a positive impact on both game and nongame species. We expect more abundant populations of endangered, threatened, special concern and game species as these complexes are restored..Rivers, streams, and surrounding vegetation provide corridors of habitat - A summary of the total acres acquired through this appropriation will be reported. On-site inspections are performed every three years and compliance checks are performed in the other two years to ensure maintained outcomes. An increase of native grassland habitat availability within a certain region is expected to increase the carrying capacity of grassland-dependent wildlife within that region. This would have a positive impact on both game and nongame species. We expect more abundant populations of endangered, threatened, special concern and game species as these complexes are restored..Expiring CRP lands are permanently protected - A summary of the total acres acquired through this appropriation will be reported. On-site inspections are performed every three years and compliance checks are performed in the other two years to ensure maintained outcomes. An increase of native grassland habitat availability within a certain region is expected to increase the carrying capacity of grassland-dependent wildlife within that region. This would have a positive impact on both game and nongame species. We expect more abundant populations of endangered, threatened, special concern and game species as these complexes are restored..

Source of Additional Funds

Clean Water Fund, Clean Water Fund, USDA-FSA-CRP

Project Overview

Utilizing the new CREP III partnership to secure permanent conservation easements, this Phase 7 continuation of the RIM Buffers Program will protect and restore riparian buffer areas, totaling 4,106 acres on approximately 244 easements. This Program will continue to utilize a science-based ranking and selection process and be implemented locally, working with SWCD, NRCS, and FSA staff in the 54 county CREP area. It is estimated that $1 of OHF will be leveraged with $1 of Clean Water Funds and at least $4 of Federal funds through CREP.

About the Issue

The project area will consist of the 54 County CREP area and the expected results are a total of 4,106 acres of expanded habitat buffers on approximately 244 easements through this request. RIM Buffers uniquely leverages the Clean Water Fund and the Outdoor Heritage Fund to expand basic water quality buffers into high quality wildlife habitat. Outdoor Heritage Funds will double the size of Clean Water Fund (CWF) easements to provide additional wildlife benefits on areas that are not required by law or rule to have buffers, enhancing protection values from a water quality focus to a multi-benefit habitat-oriented corridor. Due to the unique nature of the State's CWF/OHF match, each dollar of OHF is leveraged by 5:1, with five Federal & CWF dollars leveraged for each OHF dollar. OHF funded buffers, when linked to CWF buffers, will yield a total of 4,106 acres of buffers. Due to guidance from LSOHC, only the acres (2,053) and funding ($5,333,000) from OHF have been displayed in the Output Tables.Minnesota continues to see a net loss of grasslands and CRP acres each year. This exodus is being driven by high land prices, increased pressure for alternative uses, and declining federal budgets for conservation programs. Minnesota's primary strategy to mitigate the loss of CRP is to target expiring contracts for enrollment into Continuous CRP practices (like buffers) and permanent easements.RIM Buffer easements will be secured via Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) permanent easement acquisition, utilizing both a 15 year CRP contract and permanent RIM easement. This will be Minnesota's third CREP, and is able to offer a large-scale impact due to the unique opportunity to utilize a substantial federal match. Over the five year CREP period, we look to enroll permanently protected buffers using a combination of the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Program. RIM Buffers is a partnership delivered locally by Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and at the State level by BWSR. In addition, the CREP partnership is possible through collaboration among many local, state and federal partners including the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA), USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Pheasants Forever (PF), the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR), Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and over 70 supporting organizations and agencies.BWSR staff will coordinate with federal partners on the overall CREP process and program oversight and will be responsible for easement acquisition. Local staff will promote CRP contracts and RIM easements, assist with easement processing and provide key essential technical assistance and project management services. Due to the reliance on local staff for implementation, the Farm Bill Assistance Partnership (FBAP) is included as a component in the RIM Buffers Program. There is increased local workload expected with CREP signup and implementation, as a significantly increased number of easements will be secured within the CREP III area throughout the CREP timeframe.

Project Manager
First Name
Tabor
Last Name
Hoek
Organization Name
BWSR
Street Address
1400 E. Lyon St.
City
Marshall
State
MN
Zip Code
56258
Phone
(507) 537-7260
Email
tabor.hoek@state.mn.us