Wildlife Management Area, Scientific and Natural Areas, and Prairie Bank Easement Acquisition - Phase III
$3,931,000 the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources to:(1) acquire land in fee for wildlife management area purposes under Minnesota Statutes, sections 86A.05, subdivision 8, and 97A.145; (2) acquire land in fee for scientific and natural area purposes under Minnesota Statutes, sections 84.033 and 86A.05, subdivision 5; and(3) acquire native prairie bank easements under Minnesota Statutes, section 84.96. A list of proposed land or permanent conservation easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan. The accomplishment plan must include an easement monitoring and enforcement plan. Up to $14,000 is for establishing a monitoring and enforcement fund as approved in the accomplishment plan, and subject to subdivision 15. An annual financial report is required for any monitoring and enforcement fund established, including expenditures from the fund.
Protected 545 acres of prairies and 565 acres of forest
This program acquired priority lands and developed them as Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) - six parcels protected totaling over 600 acres, Scientific and Natural Areas (SNA) - one parcel of 900 acres (287 acres credited to this funding ), and Native Prairie Bank (NPB) easements - two parcels totaling almost 200 acres. These lands protect habitat and some provide public hunting, trapping and compatible outdoor uses.
MN DNR protected lands in the prairie, northern forest, metro urbanizing, and SE bluffland ecological sections with this appropriation, and has or will restore grassland by planting native prairie. DNR prioritized acquisitions at sites where there is an existing habitat base to address fragmentation and to maximize habitat benefits. Potential acquisitions are scored and ranked on numerous ecological and management criteria. DNR seeks out willing landowners and conducts all transactions in accordance with state law and departmental policy.
Nine properties totaling over 1,100 acres are now permanently protected as a result of acquisitions funded by this program. We were able to meet our original goal for forest acre protection, but failed to meet our prairie protection goal for reasons described below. Two acquisitions that failed to close by 6/30/14, did eventually close, but not in time to be funded from this appropriation and be counted as acres protected in this summary. The funding that would have been used from this appropriation was returned to the Outdoor Heritage Fund.