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.
This program protected 810 acres of new wildlife habitat in the Prairie, Deciduous Transition, and Southeast Bluffland ecological sections of Minnesota through fee title acquisition. Title of lands acquired are held by the State and are designated as WMAs.
This program protected and restored 734 acres of new wetland wildlife habitat in wetland complexes in Minnesota through fee title acquisition. Title of all lands acquired are held by the State and designated as Wildlife Management Area.
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 Minnesota County Geologic Atlas program is an ongoing effort begun in 1982 that is being conducted jointly by the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The program collects information on the geology of Minnesota to create maps and reports depicting the characteristics and pollution sensitivity of Minnesota's ground-water resources.
Overall Project Outcome and Results
DNR spent $140,689 to continue on-site field investigations to accelerate management of shallow lakes and adjacent wetland complexes and support the accomplishments of Ducks Unlimited through HCP 2c and 3c. Temporary field personnel (1 full time and up to 6 temporary) documented shallow lake habitat occurrence and quality. Habitat surveys were conducted on 171 lakes within seven HCP project areas. The lakes surveyed totaled over 82,831acres. The surveys were distributed more broadly than in the past with:
Overall Project Outcome and Results
This project focused on the acquisition of habitat linkages that provided environmental protection of the shoreline and riparian zone, exhibited a high risk of development, supplied angler access, and afforded management access necessary for implementing habitat improvement projects.
Project goals were to protect 120 acres (1.4 miles of lake and stream shoreline) with the help of partner and other state funding. Partner funding includes donations of land value and cash.
Overall Project Outcome and Results
This project focused on paying professional services related to the conveyance of habitat corridor lands to the DNR by HCP partners. Parcels acquired from HCP partners will be placed in public ownership and administered as State Wildlife Management Areas.
Project goals were to pay professional services as parcels are conveyed to DNR by nonprofit HCP partners. During this appropriation only Pheasants Forever (PF) projects were conveyed to DNR.
This program resulted in permanent protection of three parcels totaling 350 acres. All three parcels are now being managed as Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) by MN DNR. This exceeds the original goal of 319 acres. Acquisition of two other parcels were attempted, but the offers were turned down by the sellers.
This program, managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), provided competitive matching grants of up to $400,000 to local, regional, state, and national organizations, including government. Grant activities include the enhancement, restoration, or protection of forests, wetlands, prairies, and habitat for fish, game, or wildlife in Minnesota. A 10% non-state cash or in-kind match will be required from all grantees, and must be identified at the time of application.
The Arts Education in Minnesota Schools Research Project is surveying all public and private schools to collect baseline data on the status of arts education statewide to serve as a resource for making data-driven decisions. A national research and evaluation company, Quadrant Arts Education Research, is conducting the study, comprised of three elements.
Native trout require clean, cold water that usually originates from springs, but the springs feeding the 173 designated trout streams in southeastern Minnesota are under increasing pressure from current and expected changes in land use. This joint effort by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working to identify and map the springs and the areas that feed water to these springs and to learn how these waters might be affected by development and water use.
Privately owned lands exist within the designated boundaries of state parks throughout Minnesota. Purchase of these lands from willing landowners for addition into the state park system makes them permanently available for public recreation and enjoyment and facilitates more efficient management. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using this appropriation to acquire 87 acres in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, located northeast of Brainerd, and 17 acres in Whitewater State Park, located between Rochester and Winona.
Project Overview Minnesota, which was recently named "Best Trails State" in the country, is host to numerous state trails providing a variety of different outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the state. This appropriation is allowing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to acquire land expanding two of these state trails: the Brown's Creek segment of the Willard Munger Trail in Washington County and the Paul Bunyan Trail along Lake Bemidji.
Minnesota's Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) Program is an effort to preserve and perpetuate the state's ecological diversity and ensure that no single rare feature is lost from any region of the state. This includes unique landforms, fossil remains, plant and animal communities, rare and endangered species, or other unique biotic or geological features. These sites play an important role in scientific study, public education, and outdoor recreation.