Vermillion River Corridor Acquisition and Restoration in Dakota County

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Dakota County
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
Start Date
July 2008
End Date
June 2011
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2008, Chp. 367, Sec. 2, Subd. 03b
Appropriation Language

$400,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Dakota County to develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated water quality, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreational corridor plan in the Vermillion River watershed through easement and fee title acquisition and restoration. At least 90 percent of this appropriation must be spent on the implementation of the comprehensive plan. A list of proposed restorations and fee title and easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work program. All funding for conservation easements must include a long-term stewardship plan and funding for monitoring and enforcing the agreement. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2011, at which time the project must be completed and final products delivered, unless an earlier date is specified in the work program. On January 2, 2009, the unobligated balance of the appropriation for Dakota County wildlife habitat acquisition and development in Laws 1999, chapter 231, section 16, subdivision 13, paragraph (m), is transferred and added to this appropriation.

2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Vermillion River, a designated trout stream, flows through four cities and five rural townships starting in Scott County and running through Dakota County. The existing watershed plan, like most other comparable plans, identified and addressed water quality issues, but recommended and required that management efforts do not include corridor-related wildlife habitat protection and restoration, or recreational use and conflicts.

The new Vermillion River Corridor Plan developed with these funds establishes a vision and philosophy for the corridor along the main stem and primary tributaries of the Vermillion River from New Market Township in Scott County to Vermillion Falls in Hastings. It is based on integrating multiple benefits: environmental (water quality and upland habitat), social (recreation), and economic (sustainable high-quality places to live and work). The plan creates a foundation for coordinating and prioritizing funding, implementation and management. The plan also includes the "Vermillion River Corridor Handbook", a searchable, online Best Management Practices tool intended for use by a broad audience. The tool includes practices indexed by primary benefits (water quality, habitat, and recreation) and by the predominant landscape type of interest to the user (urban, rural, and developing). Information on and links to potential funding sources and technical information is included. The plan, process, and products were designed to be replicable.

The corridor plan also creates the framework for initiating a comprehensive riparian buffers initiative throughout Dakota County. An 800-point criteria system that includes water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation, financial, and other considerations was developed to evaluate and select future land protection projects. An innovative system for determining financial value for corridor buffer easements based on land cover/use types was developed.

The plan and resulting selection system resulted in the acquisition of a 193-acre permanent conservation easement that protects the headwaters of South Branch of the Vermillion River, a very high quality restored prairie, and a network of trails open to the public.

Project Results Use and Dissemination As the project transitioned from planning to implementation, information has been shared with the general public through various venues and media forms. See the Final Report, Section VII "Dissemination" for more information.

Project Publications:
Vermillion River Corridor Plan: Improving Water Quality, Habitat, and Recreation (PDF - 13.2 MB)
Vermillion River Corridor Handbook (Web-based)

Project Details