With the ML 2015 appropriation The Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) Grant Program awarded 70 grants, 22 of these grants were the metropolitan area. Over 24,000 acres were enhanced, 2,500 acres were restored, and 386 acres protected through these 70 projects. Thirty-eight counties had CPL projects completed in them through 47 unique organizations. The average project for the ML 2015 grants was $96,000, with few exceptions most projects were completed on time and many were under budget.
Through this grant, the Minnesota Land Trust protected 641 acres and 39,415 feet (7.46 miles) of critical shoreland and high-quality wildlife habitats in Minnesota’s Northeast region through permanent conservation easements. Landowners donated $2,100,500 in easement value through this grant, greatly leveraging by 131% the $1,609,000 in grant funding provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The amount of shoreland protected exceeded that proposed for the grant by 299%.
This project used a combination of invasive tree removal, seeding, and prescribed fire to improve habitat quality, diversity, and productivity on public lands in Minnesota. As we lose habitat to conversion and encroachment, it is increasingly important to maximize wildlife production on existing permanently protected lands. Today's public lands are expected to function at the highest level for not only wildlife usability but now also for other non game rare and threatened species, pollinators, and for water quality efforts in the state.
With this appropriation, the Minnesota Land Trust plans to protect approximately 500 acres of critical shoreline habitat along Minnesota's lakes, wetlands, rivers, and streams by securing permanent conservation easements and dedicating funds for their perpetual monitoring, management, and enforcement. Lands being considered for permanent protection in this round of funding are located in Becker, Beltrami, Blue Earth, Itasca, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Otter Tail, Pope, and Wabasha counties.
This appropriation is enabling Ducks Unlimited to help state and federal wildlife conservation agencies protect and restore shallow lakes for waterfowl. Conservation easements will be acquired on approximately 150 acres of privately owned shoreland and up to 60 acres of lands previously converted for cropping will be restored back to wildlife habitat. Lands being considered for permanent protection in this round of funding are located in Beltrami, Douglas, Freeborn, Grant, Meeker, Pope, Stearns, Swift, and Wright counties.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ducks Unlimited are working together to provide technical assistance to landowners that that will result in the protection of approximately 2,500 acres of prairies and wetlands in southern and western Minnesota. As a result of this appropriation, an estimated $4 million of additional funding for conservation is anticipated to be provided in match by the federal Wetland Reserve Program.
The Trust for Public Land is using this appropriation to acquire in fee title approximately 44 acres of high quality habitat and convey it the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for long-term stewardship and protection. Priority will be given to shoreland and other lands that provide natural buffers to water resources. Lands being considered for permanent protection in this round of funding are located in Hubbard, Kandiyohi, LeSueur, and Rice counties.
Pheasants Forever provides coordination, mapping, and data management for the Habitat Corridors Partnership. Funds are being used to coordinate the partnership, guide strategic outreach and implementation efforts, manage project data, and provide reporting and mapping of accomplishments.
Through the ML2015 Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Partnership appropriation, we permanently protected 1,923 acres of wildlife habitat in the quickly developing Mississippi Headwaters area. These accomplishments exceed the appropriation goal by 209%. Utilizing both fee-title acquisition and conservation easements, the partnership protected 10 projects, totaling over 11 miles of shoreline along the Mississippi River, its tributaries and nearby lakes.
This pilot program protected 1,210 acres of wild rice lake shoreland habitat in the Northern Forest Section by securing 14 permanent RIM conservation easements and four fee-title acquisitions, surpassing our goal of 700 acres, and doing so $250,202 under budget.