Shallow Lake Critical Shoreland, Phase 1
DU will acquire fee title land from willing sellers on unprotected shoreline adjacent to shallow lakes of critical importance to ducks and other migratory birds in Murray, Lincoln, and Le Sueur , Minnesota. Each shallow lake identified is actively managed (via water control structures) or soon to be managed (planned DU structure) by the Minnesota DNR for waterfowl and other wetland dependent wildlife. Through fee acquisition, DU will permanently protect 100 acres of uplands and small wetlands adjacent to these basins. All parcels targeted lie adjacent to existing Wildlife Management Areas and contain cropland and or seeded pasture that will be restored to native tall-grass prairie species thereby increasing both water quality (i.e. reducing surface run off directly into shallow lake basins) and wildlife habitat benefits provided by existing WMA lands.
Prairie shallow lakes in Minnesota suffer from degraded water quality caused by excess run off, over abundant fish populations, and nutrient loading. Turbid water conditions over prolonged periods reduces aquatic plant and invertebrate populations on which waterfowl and other wetland wildlife depend. Using water control structures, resource managers can improve water quality and habitat conditions for wildlife through temporary drawdowns, but restoring and protecting adjacent shorelands is an important component in the long-term management of these lakes. Securing shoreland protection and restoration via acquisition or easements permanently increases wildlife benefits (for both upland/wetland wildlife) and also helps managers maintain optimum habitat shallow lake conditions for longer periods of time.
Permanent protection of shorelands on managed shallow lakes helps assure that these lakes will provide excellent waterfowl and wildlife habitat into the future. Permanent shoreland protection also eliminates future subdivision and development, thereby reducing disturbance to wildlife and the real possibility that lake-use expectations of new shoreline owners will conflict with water level management strategies for wildlife. The acquisitions targeted by DU using funds from this grant will increase critical shoreland protection, improve wildlife habitat, and help assure management of these lakes for waterfowl and other wildlife in the future.
Acquisitions of all identified parcels will be finalized within a year. DU will only work with willing sellers. Each acquisition will be appraised by a state certified appraiser following state guidelines. DU will provide a copy of the appraisal to each seller and will work closely with the Minnesota DNR in each step of the process to make sure the acquisition and subsequent transfer process meet the guidelines set forth by the DNR. DU will legally survey each parcel to be acquired.
The $450,000 grant will fund fee-title purchase and due diligence related to working with private landowners, conducting initial property inspections, performing due diligence and grant administration.
Restoration of acquired parcels (50 acres of upland restoration) will take place over a two year window based on the crop rotation at the time of acquisition. Upon completion of restoration and items necessary to meet the minimum state standards, DU will transfer each parcel to the Minnesota DNR to be managed as a Wildlife Management Area. DU will work with the Minnesota DNR to secure county board approval for permission to transfer acquired lands to the state government. At this time, DU is not aware of any county or local opposition to any of the proposed acquisitions, but should opposition arise, DU will work with local landowners to listen to and address their concerns.
$450,000 in fiscal year 2010 is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Ducks Unlimited, Inc. or successor to protect habitat by acquiring land associated with shallow lakes. A list of proposed acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan. The commissioner of natural resources must agree to each proposed acquisition.
Protect 5 acres of wetland and 58 acres of prairies adjacent to critical shallow lake basin.