Pheasants Forever (PF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will cooperate to permanently restore and protect approximately 1397.31 acres as Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) in western and southern Minnesota. All lands acquired through this grant proposal will be owned and managed by the Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
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.
Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. The original proposal planned for 15,000 acres of wetland/shallow lake enhancement to provide critical habitat for each life stage of waterfowl and wetland wildlife. The six projects subsequently completed with this appropriation enhanced 13,800 acres of wetlands and shallow lakes in the Prarie and Forest/Prairie Ecosections of Minnestoa.
Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. Recent tiling and ditching have accelerated this situation. Through this proposal, shallow lakes and wetlands will be designed, constructed, and intensively managed to benefit wetland wildlife and Minnesota residents.
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.
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.
Ducks Unlimited and Minnesota DNR Section of Wildlife completed 26 project affecting 7,603 acres, including three wetland restoration projects restoring 97 acres, 18 shallow lake enhancement projects enhancing 7,154 wetland acres, and five fee-title land acquisition projects protecting 352 acres.
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.
This proposal impacts shallow lakes and wetlands in Minnesota through the design and construction of projects, enhancement work done by DNR roving habitat crews, and shallow lakes work identified and initiated through the DNR Shallow Lakes program. Ten thousand acres of wetlands were enhanced by these activities.
The AgBMP Loan Program provides needed funding for local implementation of clean water practices at an extremely low cost, is unique in its structure and is not duplicated by any other source of funding.The AgBMP loan program provides 3% loans through local lenders to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses.
The Albert Lea Lake Management project replaced the previous Albert Lea Lake fix-crest dam with a 3-in-1 structure that included a rock riffle dam, a lake level management structure, and an electric fish barrier. The benefits from this project include improved aquatic and waterfowl habitat, invasive species management, and improved desirable fish populations.
This project will guide local implementation planning efforts by identifying water quality goals, strategies, and implementation milestones in the Cedar River Watershed. This watershed includes 435 square miles in major portions of Mower, Freeborn and Dodge Counties, and incudes the regional center of Austin. A Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) report will be completed by this effort.
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.
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%.
This project will build upon existing planning and implementation efforts already taken on in the project area. The collection of existing information will be used to complement water information in support of a more successful and sustainable water quality improvement and protection implementation program. This will be achieved by active civic engagement activities throughout Phase I of this project.
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.
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.
As a result of the installation of the two fish barriers, one on Wedge Creek and one on White Lake, we have kept Common Carp from migrating from Fountain Lake into the shallow upstream basins. This has helped improve the water clarity and water quality in the upstream areas which are now excluded from Common Carp. Since these upstream areas are interconnected to Fountain Lake, water quality in Fountain Lake has also improved. Secchi disk readings on Fountain Lake were the best on record in 2010, averaging 2.7 feet of water clarity.
The purpose of this project is to develop a framework to implement best management practices (BMPs) on ditches in headwater areas utilizing a partnership between drainage staff and the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA). By replacing failing side-inlets with an alternative design, we can make strides towards our water quality and water quantity goals. The alternative inlets serve to prevent sediment and phosphorus from washing downstream and the design can also alleviate peak flows by temporarily storing stormwater.
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.
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 Knife River is a state protected water and a Designated Trout Stream. It is nationally known as a prime fresh-water steelhead fishery and is managed as a cold-water trout fishery for native species including brook trout. The Knife River is characterized by steep gradients, multiple water-falls and cascades, tea-colored water, and remnant old-growth forest cover types including white pine, Norway pine and white cedar.
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.
Project between Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and United States Army Corp of Engineers at Knowlton Creek Watershed to address a large amount of sediment deposited into the St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC).
Improved levels of civic engagement and community participation in support for the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) processes in the St. Louis River, Lake Superior South, and Cloquet River Watersheds. Monitoring plans and compiled field data will be provided and summarized that will aid in the future completion of Total Maximum Daily Load Reports (TMDLs) in these watersheds and in the Lake Superior North Watershed.
The purpose of this project is for Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District to continue to assist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s watershed approach and Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) process in the Rainy River Headwaters and Cloquet River watersheds. As part of this, Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District will lead efforts to increase levels of civic engagement and community participation in support of the current WRAPS process.
This Phase 5 request for Ducks Unlimited's Living Lakes program will enhance 2,000 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.
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.