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.
Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. Recent tiling and ditching have accelerated this situation. Through this proposal, shallow lakes and wetlands will be designed, constructed, and intensively managed to benefit wetland wildlife and Minnesota residents.
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.
This proposal will address a backlog of shallow lake and wetland habitat work that will otherwise go unfunded. These projects will address work 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.
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.
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 table below provides a short summary of the acres and sites accomplished. We enhanced or restored 59,495 acres in 458 separate habitat projects.Project Type # Sites # AcresFencing for conserv grazing 6 721grassland conversion 33 1,124Invasive Species Control 43 1,599mowing 3 104Prescribed burn 214 48,368Restoration 13 123Woody Removal 146 7,457
The proposal was to accelerate the protection of 1,275 acres of prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitat as State Wildlife Management Areas open to public hunting. However, over the course of the appropriation, we acquired 10 parcels for a total of 1,498 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 1,275 acres by 223 acres. Breaking down acres by ecological section we exceed our acre goal for the metropolitan area by 97 acres.
Strategic planning efforts guide the expenditure of Legacy funds towards desired outcomes which are derived from public and stakeholder input, research, analysis and input from a variety of experts and leadership. Parks and Trails planners conduct these efforts. Staffing levels were adjusted to complete this legacy work.
The AgBMP Loan Program provides needed funding for local implementation of clean water practices at an extremely low cost, is unique in its structure and is not duplicated by any other source of funding.The AgBMP loan program provides 3% loans through local lenders to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses.
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.
The Cannon River Watershed is a diverse watershed from the standpoint of topography, land use, and land cover, but a central issue of concern is increased sedimentation and turbidity within the river. One of the best ways to keep sediment from entering the Cannon River is to install vegetative buffers on the smaller tributaries in the upper reaches of the watershed. This project is important as it aims to help identify strategic locations where buffers are needed and to assist landowners to install buffers that will directly help reduce sedimentation within the watershed.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 12 local governments with funds.
The goal of this project is to apply the Hydrological Simulation Program FORTRAN (HSPF) model to evaluate scenarios to support potential management actions and implementation in the watershed, construct Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies, and to develop a conceptual site model of the lakes for understanding phosphorus release.
The overall goal is to develop a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) Report and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study that will address water quality impairments and maintain or improve water quality throughout the Clearwater River watershed. The study will identify sources of pollutants to the streams and lakes, allocate pollution reduction goals, and prioritize and identify implementation strategies to maintain or improve water quality in key lakes and streams in the watershed.
The Division of Parks and Trails (as directed by Chapter 172, Art. 3, Sec. 2, Subd. 3(c)) utilizes Conservation Corps of Minnesota services for restoration, maintenance, and other activities that supplement the ability to reach Legacy Fund goals. Budget associated with this program area capture an accounting of dollars that support CCM Summer Youth, Individual Placements, and special projects for park and trail renewal and development. Other dollars not accounted for in this program area are part of other PAT program areas and included as part of those budgets.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) offers grants to counties for Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS) program administration and special projects to improve SSTS compliance rates, and assistance for low-income homeowners with needed SSTS upgrades. The MPCA will determine grant allocations based on applications review; funds will flow to counties through the Board of Water and Soil Resources' Natural Resources Block Grants.
This project will build upon existing planning and implementation efforts already taken on in the project area. The collection of existing information will be used to complement water information in support of a more successful and sustainable water quality improvement and protection implementation program. This will be achieved by active civic engagement activities throughout Phase I of this project.
This project will provide baseline data through water monitoring, recording and analyzing the results of six unassessed rivers/tributaries, three unassessed lakes and five storm water outlets in the city of Mora which drain to the Snake River; promote and implement approved BMP’s.
The Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed includes numerous private ditches and partially drained wetlands which are a priority for mapping, assessment and restoration. The project will include the mapping and assessment of all drained and partially drained wetlands in the watershed. In addition, a web-based GIS system will be developed to inventory, assess, target and track the effectiveness of various conservation practices towards the attainment of water quality goals.
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 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.
This project used a combination of invasive tree removal, seeding, and prescribed fire to improve habitat quality, diversity, and productivity on public lands in Minnesota. As we lose habitat to conversion and encroachment, it is increasingly important to maximize wildlife production on existing permanently protected lands. Today's public lands are expected to function at the highest level for not only wildlife usability but now also for other non game rare and threatened species, pollinators, and for water quality efforts in the state.
Installation of erosion control structures to eliminate or reduce the effects of gullies is a high priority due to the large amount of sediment they have contributed to the Red Lake River. The high sediment loading is affecting water quality, aquatic life, downstream water supply sources and recreational use of the Red Lake River.
BWSR will administer funding to eligible County projects that provide funds and other assistance to low income property owners to upgrade or replace Noncompliant Septic Systems. BWSR will also manage annual reporting completed by each County.
The Thief River is the source of drinking water for the City of Thief River Falls. The river's other designated uses also include recreation and aquatic life. Water quality monitoring conducted by local agencies discovered that the Thief River is not meeting state water quality standards for both turbidity (muddiness) and dissolved oxygen. Each year, approximately 12,376 tons of sediment is deposited into the Thief River Falls reservoir by the Thief River. That is the equivalent of over 1,200 dump trucks full of dirt.
The purpose of this project is to develop a framework to implement best management practices (BMPs) on ditches in headwater areas utilizing a partnership between drainage staff and the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA). By replacing failing side-inlets with an alternative design, we can make strides towards our water quality and water quantity goals. The alternative inlets serve to prevent sediment and phosphorus from washing downstream and the design can also alleviate peak flows by temporarily storing stormwater.
Comfort Lake is one of Chisago county's largest recreational lakes. Comfort Lake is of regional significance with public access for boating, fishing and swimming. A pollution reduction study was conducted for the lake because of decreasing water quality. This study identified highly urban areas as one of the sources of nutrients.
Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) 2009 work program focused on 6 habitat restoration projects totaling 3,664 acres (3,118-ENRTF funds; 546-other funds). Additional details, beyond the short summary below, are found in the more detailed reporting provided for each project.