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.
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.
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 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.
The Anoka Sandplain Partnership proposal will restore/enhance 245 acres and 1.20 mi shoreline; and protect 80 acres of wildlife habitat on priority public lands principally within the Anoka Sandplain Ecological Region within the Metropolitan Urbanizing and Forest-Prairie Transition sections.
The RIM Camp Ripley Partnership, Phase VI will protect and restore 660 acres of high quality habitat along the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers and buffer the Nokasippi and Gull River WMAs, using approximately 11 conservation easements.
Protect approximately 660 acres of habitat for fish, game and wildlife with easements surrounding the Gull River WMA and along the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers and tributaries. Protection will reduce infringement and development and improve watershed function.
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.
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.
The Conservation Fund and Minnesota Land Trust will protect 380 acres of high-priority grassland, prairie, and wetland wildlife habitat with working lands conservation easements in western, central, and southeastern Minnesota. Grasslands represent one of Minnesota’s most threatened habitat types. Privately-held and well-managed grasslands in strategic habitat complexes have provided lasting benefits for Minnesota’s wildlife. This project will permanently prevent the conversion of grasslands to row crops.
This program expanded the Little Nokasippi WMA by 147 acres for public outdoor recreation (e.g. hunting, fishing, etc.) and also protected the viability of the WMA into perpetuity through 973 acres of permanent conservation easements. $723,800 of OHF funding leveraged $934,980 of federal National Guard Bureau funding.
With this appropriation, the Minnesota Land Trust plans to protect 150 acres of high quality forest, prairie, or wetland habitat 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 Anoka, Carver, Goodhue, Hennepin, Isanti, Washington, and Wright counties.
The Trust for Public Land is using this appropriation to purchase approximately 30 acres of land and 0.3 miles of shoreline with high ecological value and then convey the land to state or local governments for long-term stewardship and protection. Lands being considered for permanent protection in this round of funding include areas around the Rum River and Rice Creek in Anoka County, Lindstrom Natural Area in Chisago County, Savage Fen Scientific and Natural Area and Pike Lake in Scott County, and St. Croix/Fraconia-Scandia Scientific and Natural Area in Washington County.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 8 will protect 100 acres in fee title and 130 acres in permanent conservation easement, and enhance 700 acres of priority habitat in the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area. MBR partners will leverage the OHF appropriation by at least 40% with partner funds, private funds, local government contributions and Clean Water Funds, as well as landowner donations of easement value. Significant volunteer engagement will be invested in many habitat enhancement activities, although not technically counted as leverage.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 5 will protect in fee title 215 acres, protect in conservation easement 175 acres, and enhance 229 acres of priority habitat within the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area.
With this final report, Metro Big Rivers Phase 2 is complete and significantly exceeded its original acreage targets of protecting, restoring and enhancing priority wildlife habitat within the three big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area. Specifically:
* Metro Big Rivers 2 planned to protect 733 acres, but actually protected 1,430 acres.
* Metro Big Rivers 2 planned to restore 15 acres and enhance 135 acres, but actually restored 15 acres and enhanced 178 acres.
Metro Big Rivers' restoration and enhancement partners (FMR and GRG) achieved their goals, converting through restoration a former rail yard in the urban core to 32 acres of prairie and enhancing 98 acres of prairie and forest at four other public conservation sites in the metropolitan area. The easement partner (MLT) exceeded goals and permanently protected 131 acres under two conservation easements in Washington County.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 7 will protect 280 acres (180 acres fee title and 100 acres conservation easement), restore 164 acres and enhance 613 acres of priority habitat in the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 6 will protect 245 acres (145 acres fee title and 100 acres conservation easement), restore 81 acres and enhance 489 acres of priority habitat in the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area.
The Minnesota Forests for the Future Program will use $1.473 million to protect 630 acres with permanent conservation easements and 590 acres in fee title in the northern forest region. While the program focuses on forest protection, surrounding areas of wetland and grasslands will be included in biologically and habitat rich forest/wetland complexes. Conservation easement acquisition will focus on tracts near or adjacent to our Phase V tracts. Fee title acquisitions target priority inholdings and access parcels within State Forests.
The Minnesota Forests for the Future Program will use $2.291 million for conservation easement acquisition to protect up to 4,000 acres of forest and wetland habitat in the northern forest region. Parcels selected featured some of the largest private forest parcels in the region, high biodiversity sites, topographic and habitat diversity, and connectivity with additional protected forest and wetland complexes.
The Mississippi Headwaters Board (MHB) will work with the Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR), The Trust for Public Land (TPL), headwaters' counties and Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to protect and preserve targeted upland and aquatic habitats through fee title and permanent easement acquisition in high quality shoreland areas along the Mississippi River main stem, headwaters' reservoirs, and major Mississippi River tributaries.
The Mississippi Headwaters Board will work with the Board of Water & Soil Resources, The Trust for Public Land, headwaters counties, and Soil & Water Conservation Districts to protect and preserve targeted habitat in high quality shoreland areas and provide access on the Mississippi River, headwater's reservoirs, and connecting corridor tributaries through fee title acquisitions. Easements will be administered in target areas to protect habitat and shoreland areas.
Fourteen permanent RIM Easements on 766 acres of high quality, riparian and forested habitat have been recorded and will provide lasting wildlife habitat. Attempts were made to acquire three tracts in fee title that would have relied on this funding. The owner of one tract rejected an offer of the certified appraised value. Acquisition attempts on the other two tracts were discontinued when it became apparent that the planned use of the land as DNR Wildlife Management Area would be incompatible with local government plans for future municipal growth.
This program acquired, developed, and added 638 acres to the state Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system. These lands protect habitat and provide opportunities for public hunting, trapping and compatible outdoor uses consistent with the Outdoor Recreation Act (M.S. 86A.05, Subd.8).