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. 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.
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.
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 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.
Through funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and other leveraged sources, the Anoka Sandplain Partnership restored and enhanced 4,278 acres of oak savanna, prairie, and oak woodland habitat across 11 priority sites.
The Anoka Sandplain Partnership (Phase 3) proposal will restore and enhance 2,952 acres of wildlife habitat on priority public lands principally within the Anoka Sandplain Ecological Region within the Metropolitan Urbanizing, Forest-Prairie, and Northern Forest regions.
The Anoka Sandplain Partnership (Phase 4) proposal will restore and enhance 917 acres of wildlife habitat on priority public lands principally within the Anoka Sandplain Ecological Region within the Metropolitan Urbanizing and Forest-Prairie Transition sections.
With funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and other leveraged sources, the Anoka Sand Plain Partnership restored/enhanced 1,866 acres of priority wildlife habitat within the Anoka Sand Plain and in the Rum River watershed in east-central Minnesota.
Great River Energy (GRE) operates a power plant in the City of Elk River which generates electricity by incinerating municipal solid wastes. The plant is located proximate to the City of Elk River wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). This project will result in a corresponding reduction of groundwater use by GRE.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 12 local governments with funds.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 13 local governments with funds to complete 143 projects. More information is available in the detail reports below.
The overall goal is to develop a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) Report and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study that will address water quality impairments and maintain or improve water quality throughout the Clearwater River watershed. The study will identify sources of pollutants to the streams and lakes, allocate pollution reduction goals, and prioritize and identify implementation strategies to maintain or improve water quality in key lakes and streams in the watershed.
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 complete a pollutant source identification and subwatershed information report and support the development of a Draft Restoration and Protection Plan (RAPP). It will also support the devlopment of a Implementation Plan that will identify target areas for BMP implementation for bacteria reductions.
This project will provide the MPCA, CCWD, and all other stakeholders the information and tools necessary to improve the water quality within Coon Creek Watershed District. The improvements will take place using targeted activities throughout the watershed to reduce the primary biological and chemical stressors. In turn, the reduction of these stressors will help to reduce overall loadings of sediment, turbidity, total phosphorus, and E. coli bacteria.
This project will provide baseline data through water monitoring, recording and analyzing the results of six unassessed rivers/tributaries, three unassessed lakes and five storm water outlets in the city of Mora which drain to the Snake River; promote and implement approved BMP’s.
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.
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.
The Thief River is impaired due to low Dissolved Oxygen and high Turbidity levels resulting from high sediment load. These impairments affect the drinking water supply of Thief River Falls in addition to fish spawning habitat and recreation. The Erosion, Sedimentation and Sediment Yield Report completed in 1996 found that 63% of the sediment originates from the streambank of the Thief River. The Pennington Soil and Water Conservation District is therefore targeting the major sediment sources along the river.
BWSR will administer funding to eligible County projects that provide funds and other assistance to low income property owners to upgrade or replace Noncompliant Septic Systems. BWSR will also manage annual reporting completed by each County.
The Halvorson Streambank Stabilization site is located three miles north of the City of Thief River Falls on the Thief River. The Thief River is impaired for low dissolved oxygen and turbidity. A TMDL study began in 2010. These impairments affect fish spawning habitat, recreation and the drinking water supply of Thief River Falls. Studies show that 63% of the sediment in the Thief River is coming from the banks of the river itself. Stabilizing this bank will reduce the turbidity and low dissolved oxygen impairments.
The 14,080 acre watershed of JD#30 and JD#18 drains into the Thief River four miles upstream of Thief River Falls. The City of Thief River Falls draws their drinking water from the reservoir the Thief River supplies. This reservoir is filling with sediment faster than anticipated. It was first estimated that the reservoir would require dredging every 50 years. The last dredging was needed in only 35 years at a price tag of $1.1 million. Treatment of the water for drinking is a major expense to the City.
The goal of this project is monitoring, assessment and data collection in six un-assessed streams and three lakes in the Snake River watershed, in addition to the implementation of sixteen approved Best Management Practices (BMP's), ten forest stewardship plan developments, community outreach, education and civic engagement activities.
The purpose of this project is to gain additional information about the amount of phosphorous flowing into Lake St Croix by implementing additional water quality monitoring and/or to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering Lake St Croix by the implementation of projects that will reduce phosphorus loadings. The St. Croix River Association (SCRA) will coordinate with a subgroup of the St. Croix Basin Water Resources Planning Team and other local resource experts on the identification and funding of comprehensive water monitoring and phosphorus reduction activities in the Lake St.
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.
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.
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.
Through a long standing partnership, this project will continue to implement a process formalized with a 2010 Clean Water Fund Grant to conduct stormwater sub-watershed assessments. The goal of the sub-watershed assessments is to accelerate water quality improvements by focusing efforts in high priority areas. Specifically, subwatershed assessments are a tool used to identify the most effective urban stormwater conservation practice by location.
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 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.