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 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.
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.
We propose restoration and enhancement of prairie and savanna on WMA’s, SNA’s, and Native Prairie Banks in Minnesota and restoration and enhancement of bluff prairies on State Forest Land in southeast Minnesota.
This proposal will accomplish shallow lake and wetland habitat work that will otherwise go unfunded. This work is called for in the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan, Long Range Duck Recovery Plan, and Shallow Lakes plan.
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.
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.
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.
In-stream and riparian habitat was enhanced along six reaches of coldwater streams located in existing Aquatic Management Areas. The projects improved habitat for both game and non-game fish and wildlife species uniquely associated with coldwater trout streams and expanded recreational opportunities.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited enhanced in-stream and riparian fish and wildlife habitat in and along coldwater streams located on public lands and Aquatic Management Areas. We completed all 9 projects originally proposed and three additional. Contracting efficiencies and leveraging of other funding allowed us to add two habitat enhancement projects in southeast Minnesota and another segment on the Sucker River in northeast Minnesota. We enhanced 10 more acres of habitat than originally proposed and increased leverage by $121,700 (67%).
Minnesota Trout Unlimited enhanced in-stream and riparian fish and wildlife habitat in and along coldwater streams and lakes located on public lands and Aquatic Management Areas. We originally proposed 11 projects, yet completed 13 projects. Contracting efficiencies and leveraging of other funding allowed us to add three more habitat enhancement projects in northeast Minnesota and to lengthen others. One small budget project was dropped when a partner changed the scope from 144 acres to less than 15 and proposed costs outweighed the potential benefit.
Acquisition of Columbus Lake Conservation Area will protect 258 acres of quality habitat for game and waterfowl hunters, creating a wildlife corridor connecting Lamprey Pass WMA to other protected habitat.
Good habitat is critical to sustaining quality fish populations in both lakes and rivers. DNR proposes to restore or enhance aquatic habitat under two programs: stream restoration, and Aquatic Management Area (AMA) enhancement. Stream restoration includes major channel restorations and fish passage projects such as dam removals intended to improve or provide access to critical aquatic habitats.
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.
We propose a programmatic approach to achieve prioritized aquatic habitat protection for trout streams across Minnesota, but emphasizing Southeast and Northeast Minnesota. We propose to protect 5 miles of trout streams with permanent conservation easements on private land. Protected lands will be designated as Aquatic Management Areas (AMA’s) administered by the Minnesota DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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.
Our program will coordinate with partners emphasizing Prairie Conservation Plan implementation through fee title acquisition of priority lands for Wildlife Management Areas and Scientific & Natural Areas for public hunting, trapping and compatible 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.
We propose continued efforts to restore and enhance prairies, grasslands, and savannas on state protected lands (WMA, SNA, Native Prairie Bank) as well as on bluff prairies on State Forest lands in southeastern Minnesota.
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.
Reed canary grass is preventing natural regeneration of trees and threatening floodplain forests and wildlife along the Mississippi. This effort builds on previous LSOHC funding to control reed canary grass and plant trees as part of a long-term effort.
This proposal will address two separate problems: the eminent failure of the Lake George dam and two severe erosion sites on the Rum River at Rum River Central Regional Park. We propose to replace the current failing sheet pile dam with a new dam that allows for fish passage on the outlet of Lake George. We also propose to repair two river bank erosion sites rated as 'Severe' totaling approximately 625 feet on the Rum River which will reduce sediment loading into the river by 285 tons per year and will provide improved in stream fish habitat.
This funding resulted in permanent protection of three strategically located parcels totaling 125 acres. Funding was used to protect high priority parcels within the Lower Root and Lower Zumbro River floodplains. This was part of a broad partnership working to improve habitat quality and connectivity in critical areas along the Mississippi River corridor. Two of the three parcels acquired are now being managed as State Forests (SFT), while the third parcel is being managed as a Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Project Outcome and Results
In its Critical Lands Protection Program, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) used $380,000 ENRTF funds to secure fee title on 21.63 ENRTF acres of 402 total acquired acres. TPL conveyed these lands to public agencies for permanent protection. Individual project successes include the following:
Project Outcome and Results
The Metro Conservation Corridors (MeCC) Partnership completed its fifth phase of work to accelerate protection and restoration of remaining high-quality natural lands in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. Work was accomplished by strategically coordinating and focusing conservation efforts within a connected network of critical lands that stretches from the area's urban core to its rural perimeter, including portions of 16 counties.