Shell Rock River Watershed Habitat Restoration Program - Phase VII

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Shell Rock River Watershed District
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
In Progress
Start Date
July 2018
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2018, Ch. 208, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd 5(l)
Appropriation Language

$1,421,000 the second year is to the commissioner
of natural resources for an agreement with the
Shell Rock River Watershed District to acquire
lands in fee and to restore and enhance aquatic
habitat in the Shell Rock River watershed. A list
of proposed acquisitions, restorations, and
enhancements must be provided as part of the
required accomplishment plan.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Protected, restored, and enhanced habitat for migratory and unique Minnesota species - will be measured by the increase of use days for migrating waterfowl and improved habitat acres for unique species. The protected, restored and enhanced shallow lakes, wetlands, and stream banks will provide habitat to wildlife and support healthy natural resource conditions for long term benefits. They will offer an oasis for migratory waterfowl by reestablished and connecting MCBS corridors, and flyway habitats. Improved and permanently protected areas will provide a lasting habitat for Minnesota’s unique species. .

Source of Additional Funds

Local Option Sales Tax

Project Overview

The Shell Rock River Watershed used to be home to thousands of acres of unaltered native prairies. What were once vast prairies and wetlands is now predominantly an agricultural landscape. The SRRWD is requesting funds to complete the Phase VII Habitat Restoration Program. Our watershed prides itself in working alongside landowners to protect, enhance, and restore wildlife habitat. This project continues our effort to return agricultural landscapes to wetland complexes, enhance stream banks, and permanently protect biological functioning parcels. The results would benefit fish, waterfowl, and wildlife populations and reverse the trend of wetland loss and habitat degradation.

About the Issue

Program Goals:In 2014 the SRRWD created a phased, $20 million approach to restore, protect, and enhance degraded habitat conditions by implementing projects on a lake-shed basis. The Watershed Habitat Restoration Program is designed to accomplish the following objectives: •Remove rough fish species and restore desirable fish, waterfowl and wildlife populations•Enhance native aquatic rooted vegetation•Increase fish habitat and spawning areas and waterfowl nesting areas•Improve waterfowl breeding and migratory success•Restore stream banks and increase wildlife habitat and its natural prairie•Increase and improve community use of restored natural resources and protect the watershed from invasive species. Our program will also interconnect and reestablish important flyway habitats within Minnesota. Once completed, the program will establish waterfowl and fish populations, increase habitat for wetland dependent wildlife, and create the wildlife mecca that was recorded in the late 1800’s. Specifically, Phase VII of the program will contribute to these goals by:•Acquiring 37 acres of key targeted lands to reestablish native vegetation, protect land along the Shell Rock River, and improve nesting habitat and waterfowl food sources.•Restoring 60 acres of agricultural land into wetland basins to improve upland game and waterfowl nesting habitat.•Enhancing 15 acres of the Shell Rock River to improve instream habitat and vegetation management creating more productive, self-sustaining fisheries. The program includes projects that are prioritized on the significance of the benefits to aquatic habitat, urgency of the work, availability of leverage funds, location of projects and agreements with relevant planning documents. The SRRWD has a proven track record with the LSOHC and implementing projects that protect, restore and enhance natural resources. The SRRWD continues to receive strong support for these projects from landowners, local governments and sporting organizations. This proposal uses a programmatic approach to achieve prioritized habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement of lakes, wetlands and streams across the Watershed to once again create the wildlife mecca. Finally, this program will preserve an outdoor legacy for Minnesotans to use and enjoy for generations. Background:The Shell Rock River Watershed District (SRRWD) covers 246 square miles inside Freeborn County and includes a complex system of wetlands, streams, and shallow lakes that drain into the Shell Rock River. Managing habitat for this complex system is imperative to the SRRWD as well as understanding its role for providing critical habitat for fish, waterfowl and wildlife. Habitat degradation of wetlands, streams, and shallow lakes is an issue of statewide importance that requires accelerated investment in projects to reverse this degradation. Protection and restoration of this critical habitat is the highest priority in the SRRWD and is directly affected by invasive aquatic vegetation, land use changes, increased water demands, populations of invasive fish species such as common carp, and artificial drainage. Degradation in habitat is influencing available food sources for game fish populations that include Northern Pike, Bluegill, Yellow Perch and Walleye, and duck populations that include Northern Pintail, Redhead, Canvasback and Lesser Scaup.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Shell Rock River Watershed District
Street Address
214 West Main Street
Albert Lea
Zip Code
(507) 377-5785