A partnership of local, state and federal organizations has used multiple funding sources to target nonpoint pollution reduction efforts to the Hay Creek Watershed, a 24-square-mile area in Becker County that features several high- quality lakes. Clean Water Legacy grants were received in 2008 by the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District and in 2011 by the Becker SWCD. The grants leveraged both local and federal dollars, and it built on previous efforts to identify locations where conservation projects could provide the greatest benefits for water quality and wildlife habitat.
Enrollment of private lands in conservation programs can provide important natural resource and other public benefits by taking the lands out of production so that they can provide various wildlife and ecological benefits. This appropriation is enabling Minnesota's Board of Soil and Water Resources to provide grants to local soil and water conservation districts for employment of technical staff to assist private landowners in implementing conservation programs.
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota.
Granite rock outcrops along the Upper Minnesota River are among the oldest exposed rock in North America, dating back approximately 3.6 billion years. These outcrops are also home to rare and specialized plant and animal communities rarely found elsewhere in Minnesota, including several types of cactus and one of Minnesota's only three lizard species, the five-lined skink. However, these rock outcrops are increasingly threatened by mining, overgrazing, and development.
The Minnesota Soil Survey is an ongoing effort by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that is systematically collecting and mapping data pertaining to soil types and other soil properties in each county of the state. Soils data is used by governments, farmers, and other businesses for a number of purposes from protection and restoration of soil, water, wetlands, and habitats to agricultural soil management to building construction.