Southeast Minnesota Protection and Restoration Phase 6

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
The Nature Conservancy; The Trust for Public Land; Minnesota Land Trust
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
In Progress
Start Date
July 2018
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2018, Ch. 208, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd 3(b)
Appropriation Language

$2,142,000 the second year is to the commissioner
of natural resources for agreements to acquire
lands in fee for wildlife management under
Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 8;
to acquire lands in fee for scientific and natural
areas under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05,
subdivision 5; to acquire lands in fee for state
forests under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05,
subdivision 7; to acquire permanent conservation
easements; and to restore and enhance prairies,
grasslands, forests, and savannas. Of this amount,
$742,000 is to The Nature Conservancy, $700,000 is
to The Trust for Public Land, and $700,000 is to
Minnesota Land Trust. Up to $120,000 to Minnesota
Land Trust is to establish a monitoring and
enforcement fund as approved in the accomplishment
plan and subject to Minnesota Statutes, section
97A.056, subdivision 17. Annual income statements
and balance sheets for income and expenses from
land acquired with this appropriation must be
submitted to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage
Council no later than 180 days after The Nature
Conservancy’s fiscal year closes. A list of
proposed land acquisitions 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)

Large corridors and complexes of biologically diverse wildlife habitat typical of the unglaciated region are restored and protected - We will track the acres of priority parcels protected within the Conservation Opportunity Areas (COA) identified in regional planning. Success within each COA will be determined based on the percentage of area protected, restored and/or enhanced..

Source of Additional Funds

USFWS, Landowner, Private

Project Overview

This project will permanently protect critical habitat using conservation easements and fee land acquisition on approximately 590 acres and restore and enhance approximately 116 acres of declining habitat for species of greatest conservation need in strategically targeted public land assets of biodiversity significance in the Blufflands resulting in increased public access and improved habitat.

About the Issue

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Minnesota Land Trust (MLT) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) in partnership will use Outdoor Heritage Funds to invest in habitat protection and restoration within the Blufflands of Southeast Minnesota to expand and connect larger contiguous blocks of protected lands allowing land managers to restore, enhance and maintain high quality habitats at a scale difficult to accomplish with a fragmented ownership. Benefits of this program include the increased effectiveness of frequent prescribed fire necessary to reclaim "goat prairies", oak savanna and regenerate oak hardwood forests at a larger scale. Protecting and managing these lands is not only important for ecological reasons, but also benefits public use and enjoyment of these lands and the resources they provide. This proposal will enhance prior conservation investments and ensure that the legacy of the Blufflands is preserved in a high quality condition for future generations. There are 86 different native plant community types mapped by the Minnesota Biological Survey (MBS), covering nearly 149,670 acres within the project area. There are 183 species of state listed rare plants and animals, many of which are concentrated on 749 sites of biodiversity significance. This program has a proven track record of protecting, restoring and enhancing lands that meet both state and local priorities for biodiversity, land access and watershed health. In addition, despite the area's high demand for outdoor recreation and having more species of greatest conservation need than anywhere else in the state, only 5% of the region is open to the public. Conservation Easements: MLT will acquire approximately 340 acres of conservation easements and develop restoration and habitat management plans for eased acres. MLT will identify potential projects within targeted priority areas through an RFP process coupled with local outreach via SWCD offices. This competitive landowner bid process will rank projects based on ecological value and cost, prioritizing the best projects and securing them at the lowest cost to the state.Fee Acquisition:TNC and TPL will coordinate with MN DNR on all potential fee-title acquisitions. TNC and TPL will assist the participating DNR Divisions by conducting all or some of the following activities: initial site reviews, negotiations with the willing seller, appraisals, environmental reviews and acquisition of fee title. TNC and TPL will transfer lands to the DNR except when TNC ownership is appropriate. If TNC retains lands property taxes will be paid. Fee acquisition of approximately 250 acres of forest and prairie along 1 mile of coldwater trout stream is planned.Restoration and Enhancement: The Nature Conservancy will restore/enhance approximately 78 acres of bluff prairie, floodplain, riparian habitat and forest.Minnesota Land Trust will restore 38 acres of habitat.Ecological restoration enhancement management plans will be developed in coordination with the appropriate DNR staff, landowners and/or hired subcontractors.Results to date:Conservation Easements: 1,696 acresFee Land Acquisition: 2,661 acres13 mile of streamRestoration and Enhancement: 783

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
The Nature Conservancy
Street Address
1101 West River Parkway Suite 200
Zip Code
(612) 331-0766