This proposal accelerates the protection of 1,030 acres of strategic prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitats as State Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) open to public hunting. Pheasants Forever (PF) will be acquiring tracts that build onto or create a corridor between existing protected lands which will be transferred to the MN Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) to be included as a WMA. All acquisitions will occur within the prairie, prairie/forest transition, and metro planning regions. These areas have seen the greatest decline in upland and wetland habitat.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Accelerated Prairie Grassland Restoration and Management Program had a successful first round of funding from the Legacy Funds. The program worked through the growing pains and obstacles in getting a new program up and operational and was successful in enhancing nearly 5,800 acres of prairie and grasslands in eight of the ecological subsections of Minnesota. A contractor base has been established for this type of work statewide that needs to be evaluated and expanded on for future appropriations.
This appropriation funded 283 projects totaling 21,953 acres. The two largest types of enhancement were 112 woody removal projects totaling 10,160 acres and 134 prescribed burns totaling 10,082 acres. Additionally, we seeded 30 sites totaling 1386 acres, put in infrastructure for conservation grazing of 236 acres on 3 sites, conducted 3 oak savanna enhancements totaling 42 acres, and treated 47 acres of invasive species on 2 sites.
This program of on-the-ground conservation projects increased the wildlife and ecological values of forest communities on Minnesota's public forestlands. Restoration and enhancement projects in this program enhanced more than 10,000 acres of forest.
We protected 22.3 miles of trout streams and 1.3 miles of lakeshore via easements (585 acres in total), and 7.4 miles (504 acres) of lakeshore through fee-title purchase. We enhanced shoreline habitat on 524 acres of riparian land, and instream habitat on 3.1 miles of trout streams and 0.5 miles of warmwater rivers.
We propose restoration and enhancement of prairie and savanna on WMA’s, SNA’s, and Native Prairie Banks in Minnesota and restoration and enhancement of bluff prairies on State Forest Land in southeast Minnesota.
With these funds we were able to restore, protect, and enhance 24,611 acres of native and restored grassland in Minnesota. Much of this work was done through the DNR Roving Crews, a new program funded with these dollars that has significantly increased the state's habitat management capabilities. In addition to these enhancement activities we were able to enroll acres in the DNR's Native Prairie Bank Easement Program as well as acquire acres for the SNA program.
This program will increase populations of a variety of game and non-game wildlife species by protecting and enhancing forest habitats on which wildlife depends. This program of on-the-ground forest conservation projects will amplify the wildlife value of forest communities on DNR administered forestlands. Our forest enhancement will treat 4,472 ac. These activities are not conducted as part of the DNR's commercial timber operations. Additionally, our program will acquire 404 acres of forestland that contributes to habitat complexes and other high priorities.
Accomplishments of the appropriation include: i) protection of 3.9 miles of shoreline; ii) modification of 4 lake outlet structures to allow fish passage, benefiting 1,264 acres; iii) enhanced river and stream functions at 15 sites, benefiting over 17 river miles; and iv) enhance 4.5 miles of shoreline habitat on publicly-owned lakeshore.
The table below provides a short summary of the acres and sites accomplished. We enhanced or restored 59,495 acres in 458 separate habitat projects.Project Type # Sites # AcresFencing for conserv grazing 6 721grassland conversion 33 1,124Invasive Species Control 43 1,599mowing 3 104Prescribed burn 214 48,368Restoration 13 123Woody Removal 146 7,457
The proposal was to accelerate the protection of 1,275 acres of prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitat as State Wildlife Management Areas open to public hunting. However, over the course of the appropriation, we acquired 10 parcels for a total of 1,498 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 1,275 acres by 223 acres. Breaking down acres by ecological section we exceed our acre goal for the metropolitan area by 97 acres.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited enhanced in-stream and riparian fish and wildlife habitat in and along coldwater streams located on public lands and Aquatic Management Areas. We completed all 9 projects originally proposed and three additional. Contracting efficiencies and leveraging of other funding allowed us to add two habitat enhancement projects in southeast Minnesota and another segment on the Sucker River in northeast Minnesota. We enhanced 10 more acres of habitat than originally proposed and increased leverage by $121,700 (67%).
Minnesota Trout Unlimited enhanced in-stream and riparian fish and wildlife habitat in and along coldwater streams and lakes located on public lands and Aquatic Management Areas. We originally proposed 11 projects, yet completed 13 projects. Contracting efficiencies and leveraging of other funding allowed us to add three more habitat enhancement projects in northeast Minnesota and to lengthen others. One small budget project was dropped when a partner changed the scope from 144 acres to less than 15 and proposed costs outweighed the potential benefit.
The Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program, managed by the Department of Natural Resources, provided 56 competitive matching grants to non-profit organizations and governments, appropriating all the available ML12 funds.
This project will protect 1 mile of critical shoreland and 330 acres associated high-quality wildlife habitats in Minnesota's Northeast region by securing permanent conservation easements in strategic locations along priority lakes and rivers, creating protected habitat complexes.
Phase 5 of the Minnesota Land Trust's Critical Shoreland Habitat Program will protect approximately 0.6 miles of critical shoreland and 225 acres of associated high-quality habitat in Minnesota’s Northeast region by securing permanent conservation easements. This phase will build off major successes of previous phases which have protected approximately 2,500 acres and 75,500 feet of shoreland, leveraging $5.4M in landowner donation in the process.
This program protected 1,330 acres and 30,700 feet of critical shoreline in northeastern Minnesota helping to fulfill the goals of the DNR's Aquatic Management Area program, the State Conservation and Preservation Plan and many others.
Seven conservation easements were completed by this program resulting in the protection of 911 acres of high quality wildlife habitat and 28,181 feet (approximately 5.38 miles) of critical shoreline along priority lakes and rivers of northeast Minnesota. This project outcome exceeded by 211 acres that proposed for the grant. Total leverage through donated easements by landowners is estimated at $948,500, all in excess of proposed.
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%.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restore or enhance habitat to facilitate fish passage, restore degraded streams, and enhance habitat critical to fish and other aquatic life. Projects are prioritized based on ecological benefit, urgency, feasibility, and stakeholder support.
Acquire 960 acres of high priority habitat for designation as Wildlife Management Area (Prairie Planning Section) or Scientific and Natural Area (Prairie and SE Forest Planning Sections) emphasizing Prairie Conservation Plan implementation and coordination with partners. All lands will be open for public hunting and fishing (where applicable). WMA accomplishment is based on $5,000 per acre and should be considered a minimum estimate.
Good habitat is critical to sustaining quality fish populations in both lakes and rivers. DNR proposes to restore or enhance aquatic habitat under two programs: stream restoration, and Aquatic Management Area (AMA) enhancement. Stream restoration includes major channel restorations and fish passage projects such as dam removals intended to improve or provide access to critical aquatic habitats.
This programmatic request will build on the DNR’s previous efforts to enhance and restore grasslands, prairies, and savannas. We will use the Prairie Conservation Plan and Pheasant Summit Action Plan to guide these efforts in a strategic and targeted manner. This proposal will work on a number of types of permanently protected habitats, most of which are open to public hunting, including; DNR WMAs, SNAs, AMAs, Prairie Bank Easements, State Forests, as well as USFWS WPAs and Refuges.
We propose a programmatic approach to achieve prioritized aquatic habitat protection for trout streams across Minnesota, but emphasizing Southeast and Northeast Minnesota. We propose to protect 5 miles of trout streams with permanent conservation easements on private land. Protected lands will be designated as Aquatic Management Areas (AMA’s) administered by the Minnesota DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife.
DNR completed nine stream habitat projects with this appropriation. Four fish passage projects opened up access to 180 miles of river and 13,521 acres of lake and wetland habitat. We enhanced habitat on 39 Aquatic Management Areas, totalling 1440 acres, through the efforts of four positions funded by this appropriation. It also funded two stream habitat positions that oversaw the completion of 23 DNR projects and over 50 partner-lead projects funded by various OHF sources.
Our program will coordinate with partners, with emphasis on Prairie Conservation Plan implementation, and acquire priority lands for Wildlife Management Areas, Scientific and Natural Areas, and Native Prairie Bank easesments for public hunting, trapping and compatible outdoor uses consistent with the Outdoor Recreation Act.
Our program will coordinate with partners emphasizing Prairie Conservation Plan implementation through fee title acquisition of priority lands for Wildlife Management Areas and Scientific & Natural Areas for public hunting, trapping and compatible uses consistent with the Outdoor Recreation Act.
We will use a programmatic approach to achieve prioritized aquatic habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement of lakes, trout streams, and rivers across all of the LSOHC planning regions of Minnesota.
Acquire 910 acres of high priority habitats for designation as Wildlife Management Areas or Scientific & Natural Areas emphasizing Prairie Conservation Plan implementation and coordinating with partners. All lands will be open for public hunting, fishing and trapping.
We propose continued efforts to restore and enhance prairies, grasslands, and savannas on state protected lands (WMA, SNA, Native Prairie Bank) as well as on bluff prairies on State Forest lands in southeastern Minnesota.
Acquire 600 acres of high priority habitats for designation as Wildlife Management Area or Scientific and Natural Area emphasizing Prairie Conservation Plan implementation and coordinating with partners. All lands will be open for public hunting, fishing and trapping.
Poor historic forestry practices in the Knife River watershed have degraded trout habitat and resulted in a TMDL excedance for turbidity. LSSA used the new MPCA and Natural Channel Design evaluation criteria to rank and prioritize locations (reaches) for rehabilitation in the upper Knife River watershed. Phase III will work on the top 30% of Reach 4. Phase III focus will be stabilizing streambanks, installation of instream habitat and replanting riparian forest. Only stream sections located on public lands and private lands with DNR easements will be considered for work.
The goal of PH II-Knife River Habitat Rehabilitation project was to improve instream habitat, stabilize slumping streambanks and restore the immediate riparian zone.
Instream habitat and streambank stabilization was achieved by rehabilitating a 2200-foot stretch of stream utilizing Natural Channel Design methodology. This project reduced turbidity by stabilizing four slumping streambanks and creating instream habitat in two areas for adult trout spawning and two areas for 1+ juvenile rearing. Riparian plantings also occurred in this area.
Phase I work was conducted on the main Knife River and its Main West Branch tributary. Primary goals were met and these goals include: stream connectivity, riparian zone tree planting, stream assessment and black ash stand identification. • Stream Connectivity - repaired Second Falls on the main Knife River. • Tree Planting - two volunteer and one CCM projects where several thousand trees were planted.
This Phase 6 request for Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes program will enhance 1,000 acres of shallow lakes and restore 50 acres of small wetlands by engineering and installing water control structures for Minnesota DNR and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on public lands and wetlands under easement. Structures will be used by DNR and Service partners to restore wetland hydrology and actively manage shallow lake water levels to enhance their ecology for ducks, other birds, and hunters in the Prairie Region of Minnesota.
Phase 4 of our ongoing Living Lakes program will enhance 4,000 acres of shallow lakes and wetlands for waterfowl in the Prairie, Transition, and Metro Sections in partnership with Minnesota DNR, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and other agencies.