Pheasants Forever (PF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will cooperate to permanently restore and protect approximately 1397.31 acres as Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) in western and southern Minnesota. All lands acquired through this grant proposal will be owned and managed by the Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
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.
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.
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.
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 DNR is working with local communities and an interagency team to define, prioritize, and establish groundwater management areas in Minnesota. Groundwater management areas will have increased data collection and monitoring that allow the state and local communities to understand water supplies, uses, limitations, and threats to natural resources that depend on groundwater. This information will support detailed aquifer protection plans that ensure equitable and sustainable groundwater and drinking water use for the future.
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.
The DNR works with the Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) to convey valuable geologic and groundwater information and interpretations to government units at all levels, but particularly to local governments, private organizations and citizens.
This program protected 1,330 acres and 30,700 feet of critical shoreline in northeastern Minnesota helping to fulfill the goals of the DNR's Aquatic Management Area program, the State Conservation and Preservation Plan and many others.
This project initiates a comprehensive approach to protecting, restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat and water quality by working with willing landowners to establish permanent conservation easements totaling 620 acres along the Vermillion River and including North, Middle and South Creeks, the South Branch and their tributaries; the Cannon River and its primary tributaries within Dakota County (Dutch, Mud, Chub, Darden and Pine Creeks, and Trout Brook); and to acquire permanent easements on 84 acres along Marcott Lake in Inver Grove Heights, Lake Marion in Lakeville, and Chub Lake in Eu
The commissioner shall develop a ten-year strategic state parks and trails plan considering traditional funding and the funding available under the Minnesota Constitution, article XI, section 15. The plan shall incorporate the 25-year framework developed by the University of Minnesota Center for Changing Landscapes. (HF 1231, Art 3, Sec 2)
The Division of Parks and Trails is creating innovative programs to attract new audiences, particularly young families, to Minnesota state parks and trails. Skill-building programs, such as "I Can Camp!," provide a trial opportunity by eliminating the barriers of needing to have pre-existing knowledge or gear for the activity. Special events, such as National Get Outdoors Day, generate enthusiasm and a sense of urgency to visit. Gateway programs introduce visitors to a host of outdoor pursuits, including those offered by other divisions of the Minnesota DNR.
The Division of Parks and Trails is providing expanded cross-country ski, snowshoe and other winter activities in Minnesota state parks and recreation areas; Minnesota state trails; and Minnesota state forests. The division is re-establishing trails that had been closed due to a lack of funding; enhanced a number of existing facilities by brushing, mowing or improving trail condition prior to snowfall. The division has also enhanced existing facilities by maintaining additional parking lots or staging areas and, in the case of trails, by providing winter grooming.
The DNR works with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health to determine the level of contamination from mercury and other harmful chemicals in fish from Minnesota's lakes and rivers and to track the success of efforts to reduce mercury pollution. Clean Water Legacy funding is being used to significantly increase (more than double) the number of lakes and rivers that are assessed for mercury contamination on an annual basis. Fish are collected during DNR fishery surveys, processed for laboratory testing, and analyzed for contaminants.
The number of people from other cultures and languages is increasing in Minnesota. It is important that they learn the behaviors that will help Minnesota preserve and enhance its natural resources. Yet, communicating and effectively interacting with people across cultures to change behaviors on natural resources, conservation, pollution prevention and stewardship is challenging. Most environmental information is designed for reaching native English readers. Translating and printing information often does not reach the intended audiences, who are often part of an oral culture.
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS This 2010 grant was supplemental to the sixth phase (2009) of our Shorelands Protection project. This grant provided acquisition capital needed to complete two urgent projects that otherwise we would not have been able to complete. One project protects important shoreline along Lake Superior, while the other project protects shoreline along the Little Pine River. Collectively, these two easements protect 99 acres of critical habitat and protect more than 7,000 feet of fragile shoreline.