This proposal accelerates the strategic permanent protection of 915 acres (220 wetlands and 695 grasslands) of Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) open to public hunting in Minnesota. Pheasants Forever (PF) will strategically acquire parcels that are adjacent to existing public land or create corridors between complexes. All acquisitions will occur in the prairie, prairie/forest transition, or metro regions.
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.
The program was to accelerate the protection of 1,230 acres of prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitat as Waterfowl Production Areas open to public hunting in Minnesota. Over the course of the appropriation, we acquired 14 parcels for a total of 1,240.79 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 1,230 acres by 10.79 acres. Breaking down acres by ecological section we acquired 160 acres in the forest/prairie and 1,080.79 acres in the prairie. We have a balance that will be returned to the Fund despite exceeding our acre goals.
This program accelerated the permanent protection of 2,267 acres of wetlands (465 acres) and grasslands (1,802 acres) as Waterfowl Production Areas open to public hunting in Minnesota. Over the course of the appropriation, PF acquired 18 parcels for a total of 2,267 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 2,250 acres by 17 acres. Breaking down acres by ecological section we exceeded our acre goal for both the metropolitan area by 61 acres and in the prairie area by 346 acres. We have exceeded anticipated match of $5,125,000 by $771,500.
This program permanently protected approximately 953 acres (10.3-miles) of lake and warm water stream shoreline through fee title and permanent easement acquisition and secured 73 acres (4.8-miles) of permanent habitat management easements that include angler access.
A multi-partner effort has begun to study the amount of nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate) leaching loss that occurs below an agricultural field recently converted from timber land to irrigated row crop production. The landowner has made the property and their staff available to better understand the deep drainage and nitrate leaching dynamics following this type of land use change. This study is unique.
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.
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.
The Discovery Farms program is a farmer-led effort to gather information on soil and nutrient loss on farms in different settings across Minnesota. The mission of Discovery Farms Minnesota is to gather water quality information under real-world conditions.
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.
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.
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota (CMSM) will complete the innovative community engagement process started with the previous Legacy grant. CMSM will build upon the progress created with the previous Legacy grant by transitioning the team's focus to carrying-out of strategic access strategies that engage a diversity of community members in the exhibit development process, resulting in the completion of fabrication plans for exhibits and environments that are accessible; engaging; and reflect the diverse art, culture, and heritage of southern Minnesota.
In 2007, the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota (CMSM) conducted an environmental scan of early learning opportunities for children in southern Minnesota. It became apparent that the region creates few opportunities for children to engage in self-directed learning experiences in social settings; in particular, opportunities that create access to arts, culture, and heritage. This is still true today.
The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation in partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust will protect high priority critical fish habitat and the surrounding watersheds on 38 tullibee "refuge" lakes by securing conservation easements. We will permanently protect approximately 400 acres. If a lake's watershed has less than 25% land disturbance the lake has a high probability to maintain clean water and healthy lake ecosystem. State of Minnesota reports indicate this region could see 64% population growth by 2030.
The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation in partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust will protect high priority critical fish habitat and the surrounding watersheds on 30 tullibee "refuge" lakes by securing conservation easements and fee title acquisitions. We will permanently protect approximately 445 acres and 1 miles of shoreland in total. If a lake's watershed has less than 25% land disturbance, the lake has a high probability to maintain clean water and healthy lake ecosystem.
Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation and the Minnesota Land Trust collectively protected 765 acres and 8.9 miles of critical shoreland and forest habitat in the watersheds of strategic North Central Minnesota lakes through the completion of 5 conservation easements and 1 fee title acquisition. Acreage protection outcomes exceeded that proposed by 151%; shoreland protected exceeded that proposed by 297%. The grant leveraged $1,119,000 through landowner donation of easement and fee value and other sources, exceeding goals by 134%.
This program/project protected approximately 187,876 acres of forest and wetlands with permanent conservation easements and 2,745 acres with fee acquisition and provides public recreational access, provides for sustainable forest management, and supports diverse habitats for a wide array of fish and wildlife species.
Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Minnesota Valley Trust acquired 78.5 acres of priority lands in Lincoln Township of Blue Earth County to expand the Lincoln Waterfowl Production Area for the Minnesota Valley Refuge and Wetland Management District, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Of the 78.5 acres, 21 acres were acquired with Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund; the other 56.5 acres were acquired with nonprofit / other, non-state funds.
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.
The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust is using this appropriation to purchase a total of approximately 80 acres of high quality grasslands and wetlands in Blue Earth or Le Sueur County to be managed as a federal Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) in the Minnesota Valley Wetland Management District.
This demonstration sites provides information on the characteristics of agricultural drainage from a typical field in south-central Minnesota. Results will help researchers evaluate the environmental and economic impacts of specific management practices.
The goals of this site are:
Evaluate the effectiveness of nutrient and pesticide Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Evaluate different management practices and compare the environmental and economic benefits
Evaluate farm profitability using different crop management practices
This program initiated strategies toward a 15-year goal to provide protection to the remaining 90,000 acres of native prairie/savanna, a 20-year goal to restore and protect an additional 500,000 acres of diverse grasslands/savannas, and a 10-year goal to increase management capacity to annually manage 300,000 acres of grassland and savannas per year. This proposal took the first steps to achieve these goals by initiating a comprehensive, coordinated and collaborative prairie conservation initiative. Annual investments by the LSOHC will be required to realize these ultimate outcomes.
The Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Partnership will protect, restore and enhance high priority habitat land in fee and easement in the quickly developing Mississippi Headwaters landscape resulting in connectivity of shoreline and forest habitat, and water quality benefits.
This appropriation allowed the permanent protection of 887 acres in western Minnesota. These properties included 664 acres of remnant native prairie, 76 acres of associated wetlands complexes, and 8,500' of streamfront. For this phase we originally planned to protect 740 acres with a minimum of 375 native prairie. Both targets were exceeded - 120% of total acres and 177% of native prairie acres.