Overall Project Outcome and Results
Since collection of digital easement data within the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) first began in the late 1990's, every effort had been made to keep the database accurate and complete. However, over a decade later, and with over 5,000 easements and growing, it became prudent (particularly with the advent of more advanced technology) to reexamine, update, and enhance that database.
There are currently more than 21,000 miles of drainage ditches and many thousands of miles of subsurface tile located throughout Minnesota and overseen by over 100 different local drainage authorities. Historically public records of these drainage systems have been maintained primarily in hard copy following differing protocols depending on local requirements. However, this antiquated approach limits the usability and accessibility of public drainage records creating various challenges for drainage management efforts.
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Soil Survey is an ongoing effort by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that is systematically collecting and mapping data pertaining to soil types and other soil properties in each county of the state. Soils data is used by governments, farmers, and other businesses for a number of purposes from protection and restoration of soil, water, wetlands, and habitats to agricultural soil management to building construction.
An emerging practice called "precision conservation" aims to maximize conservation benefits by considering the value of lands in terms of the interconnected systems of which they are a part. By compiling and integrating multiple types of data layers and analysis that are available today, conservation professionals can use the best and most precise information available to identify, prioritize, and guide conservation efforts.