Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. Recent tiling and ditching have accelerated this situation. Through this program, shallow lakes and wetlands were designed, constructed, and intensively managed to benefit wetland wildlife and Minnesota residents. Habitat accomplishments from this proposal have enhanced 19,365 acres of wetlands and shallow lakes to benefit waterfowl and wetland wildlife. Work was accomplish through constructed infrastructure, cattail control, and a significant prescribed wetland burn.
A cooperative study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Health to assess groundwater and surface-water interactions in lakes in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA), including White Bear Lake. An important product of the study was the creation of a groundwater-flow model focused on the northeast TCMA. The groundwater flow model is available for future use to assess the effects of groundwater withdrawals on lake levels as well as to describe other groundwater and surface-water interactions.
DNR modified six dams to allow fish passage and enhanced in stream habitat on two rivers with this appropriation. Also, habitat enhancement project were completed on 28 Aquatic Management Areas and three metro parks, totaling 1,002 acres. Stream habitat work for this appropriation and LSOHC-funded projects from other appropriations was aided by funding for a stream restoration coordinator and interns. These positions aided in public outreach, survey work, design, permitting, contracting, and coordination with project partners on these complex projects.
With this appropriation, the DNR enhanced and restored over 11,700 acres of public lands or permanently protected private lands under easement. Projects under this appropriation included prescribed fire, prescribed or conservation grazing, woody removal, and enhancing plant diversity. With this appropriation we were able to exceed our target acreage by 38 percent.
Kingsbury Bay: completed engineering, design, permitting, and contracting. Began a multi-year restoration of a wetland complex impacted by excessive sediment and non-native species in 2019 (to be completed fall 2021).
Grassy Point: completed engineering, design, permitting, and contracting. Began a multi-year restoration of a wetland complex impacted by legacy milling waste and non-native species in 2019 (to be completed fall 2021).
DNR acquired a fee-title parcel designated as an Aquatic Management area in Itasca County. This acquisition protected 41 acres and exceeded the accomplishment plan goal. Nine trout stream conservation easements were also added to the AMA system. Two Forests for the Future easements with a combined total of 171 acres were acquired, achieving protection in priority watersheds while maintaining working forest in private ownership.
Moose, one of Minnesota's prized wildlife species, are dying at much higher rates in Minnesota than elsewhere in North America. Recently observed increases in mortality rates amongst some moose in northeastern Minnesota have led to concern that the population there may be entering a decline like that seen in the northwestern part of the state, where moose populations fell from over 4,000 to fewer than 100 in less than 20 years. Additionally the specific causes of increased mortality amongst individual moose remain under investigation.
Effective groundwater management requires accurate knowledge about the water budget, which is the amount of water stored within the system in aquifers and the amount of water flowing through the overall hydrologic system including water flowing at the surface, water flowing from above ground down into aquifers, and water flowing between aquifers below the surface.