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.
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.
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.
Protect approximately 270 acres and restore approximately 50 acres near the Cannon River headwaters, including wetlands, prairies, Big Woods forest, and river & shallow lake shoreline to reverse habitat loss, improve watershed function and provide access.
The goal of this project is to apply the Hydrological Simulation Program FORTRAN (HSPF) model to evaluate scenarios to support potential management actions and implementation in the watershed, construct Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies, and to develop a conceptual site model of the lakes for understanding phosphorus release.
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 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.
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.
Gorman Lake has elevated nutrient levels and drains into the Cannon River. This project will provide a subgrant to the Gorman Lake Association to install a two-tiered retention pond to reduce both phosphorus and peak flow from a drainage ditch from reaching Gorman Lake. Project partners include three agricultural producers, the Le Sueur Soil and Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
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.
There funds are enabling Pheasants Forever to acquire in fee title approximately 86 acres of habitat along the borders of existing Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) or Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA) in LeSueur, Lincoln, or Rice counties and convey the lands to a public agency for long term stewardship and protection. These strategic acquisitions will leverage and expand the existing habitat, water quality, and recreation benefits already provided by existing protected lands.
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.
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.
Phase 2 of Ducks Unlimited's ongoing engineering program restored and enhanced shallow lakes and wetlands by installing water level control structures to improve aquatic plant abundance and water clarity in partnership with the Minnesota DNR and U.S.
This project will provide a protocol for prioritizing sites in the St. Louis Area of Concern (AOC ) for restoration based on site-specific bioavailability considerations. Despite large data collection efforts focused on sediment chemistry, the extent to which sediment with moderate levels of contamination is available for uptake into biota and therefore contributing to Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI)s is still largely unknown.
The St. Louis River Area of Concern (SLRAOC) conservation partners are focused on removing Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI) in the estuary and eventually delisting the SLRAOC. Cooperative efforts between multiple resource agencies and regional stakeholders have identified a host of restoration objectives, developed project support activities, and partially secured funding that includes a state commitment through the Minnesota Clean Water Fund.