The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has ranked this acquisition as Number 6 nationally, and has included $3.5 million in the President's FY 2017 Budget to acquire 2,250 acres of inholdings along Bushmen Lake, bordering the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) on three sides. The Conservation Fund has been asked by the U.S. Forest Service to assist with the acquisition and requests funds from the LSOHC to permanently protect this habitat to secure over 4 miles of legal access to Superior National Forest and provide critical habitat for moose and Canada Lynx.
The Cannon River Watershed Habitat Complex Phase VII program will protect in fee and restore approximately 220 acres of high priority wildlife habitat within and near the Cannon River Watershed, including wetlands, prairies, Big Woods forest, and river/shallow lake shoreline. Its goal is to reverse habitat loss, prevent degradation of water quality, improve watershed function, and provide public access.
This project will protect 1 mile of critical shoreland and 330 acres associated high-quality wildlife habitats in Minnesota's Northeast region by securing permanent conservation easements in strategic locations along priority lakes and rivers, creating protected habitat complexes.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restore or enhance habitat to facilitate fish passage, restore degraded streams, and enhance habitat critical to fish and other aquatic life. Projects are prioritized based on ecological benefit, urgency, feasibility, and stakeholder support.
Project partners Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA), Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) and The Conservation Fund (TCF) will work cooperatively with St. Louis County to protect in fee approximately 2,500 acres of forest habitat at risk of being converted to uses that would degrade critical habitat for wildlife in Minnesota's northeast forest landscape. Targeted parcels will be those that are vital to maintaining large, unfragmented blocks of forest that deliver the greatest habitat benefits.
MNDNR's St. Louis River Restoration Initiative (SLRRI) is partnered with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The SLRRI integrates with the Great Lakes Area of Concern Program to achieve habitat outcomes to establish the estuary as a premier fishing and outdoor recreation destination. The objective is to restore more than 1,700 acres of priority habitats to accelerate achievable and sustainable increases in fish and wildlife populations. In Phase 4, MNDNR will restore approximately 192 acres of aquatic habitat in direct partnership with Minnesota Land Trust.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited will enhance and restore habitat for fish and wildlife in and along priority coldwater streams located on existing Aquatic Management Areas and public lands around the state. Accelerating habitat work to reduce the backlog of degraded streams is urgent given the increasing threats to these scarce coldwater fisheries. Population outcomes will be maximized by improving the connectivity of habitat and fish and wildlife populations, and building upon earlier work on adjacent stream segments.
This project will advance the prairie protection, restoration and enhancement goals established in the 2011 MN Prairie Conservation Plan. It builds upon the successful model established in Phases 1 - 6 and seeks to protect 200 acres in fee without PILT obligations to be held by The Nature Conservancy, protect an additional 100 acres with PILT for inclusion in the State's Wildlife Management or Scientific Natural Area systems, enhance 7,500 acres of permanently protected grasslands, and restore 100 acres of prairie habitat.
The Prairie Chicken Habitat Partnership will permanently protect, restore, and enhance 586 acres of prairie chicken habitat in the Southern Red River Valley of Northwest Minnesota. Land protected will become either WMA or WPA and open to public recreation.