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.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) will complete a fish passage project on the Otter Tail River to reconnect eight miles of stream habitat and 96 acres of lake habitat for fish and other aquatic life. We will also restore four miles of stream habitat on a previously straightened portion of Stony Creek. Stream projects were selected from a statewide list, prioritized by factors such as ecological benefit, scale of impact, urgency of completion, and local support. On Aquatic Management Areas, MNDNR will enhance over 900 acres of riparian and terrestrial habitat.
Grasslands continue to be the most threatened habitat in the state. This programmatic request will build on the DNR’s history of enhancing and restoring grasslands, embedded wetlands, and savannas to increase wildlife populations. The Prairie Plan, Pheasant Plan, and Wildlife Action Plan will guide our efforts and ensure we are operating in a strategic and targeted manner. This proposal will enhance and restore grasslands on parcels that are permanently protected and most open to public hunting.
Reed canary grass and other invasive plants are preventing natural regeneration of trees and threatening floodplain forests and wildlifealong the Mississippi River. This effort builds on two previous LSOHC grants to control invasive species and plant trees as part of a long-term restoration strategy by Audubon Minnesota and key partners to sustain diverse and productive floodplain forests and the wildlifeand birds they support.
This Phase 5 request for Ducks Unlimited's Living Lakes program will enhance 2,000 acres of shallow lakes and restore 50 acres of small wetlands by engineering and installing water control structures for Minnesota DNR and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on public lands and wetlands under easement. Structures will be used by DNR and Service partners to restore wetland hydrology and actively manage shallow lake water levels to enhance their ecology for ducks, other birds, and hunters in the Prairie Region of Minnesota.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited will enhance and restore habitat for fish and wildlife in and along priority coldwater streams located on existing Aquatic Management Areas and public lands around the state. Accelerating habitat work to reduce the backlog of degraded streams is urgent given the increasing threats to these scarce coldwater fisheries. Population outcomes will be maximized by improving the connectivity of habitat and fish and wildlife populations, and building upon earlier work on adjacent stream segments.
Northern Minnesota’s forests are at a crossroads: they are increasingly challenged by invasive species, insect pests, a changing climate, and the legacy of inadequate management. Furthermore, some habitats have declined in many areas, including long-lived-conifers, young-forest, and large-patch habitats. These habitats are critical for numerous game and non-game species of concern. Through enhancements applied to 2,465 acres of degraded forests, the proposed project will increase long-lived conifers, young forest gaps, riparian forest complexity, and patch-size diversity.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited will enhance and restore habitat for fish and wildlife in and along priority coldwater streams located on existing conservation easements and public lands around the state. Trout streams are a relatively scarce resource and increasing threats to them require accelerating habitat work to reduce the backlog of degraded stream reaches. Population outcomes will be maximized by improving the connectivity of habitat and fish and wildlife populations, and building upon work on adjacent sections.
The Norway Lake Dam will be removed and replaced with a rock-arch rapids by the City of Pine River. Replacing the high hazard dam with a rock riffle will enhance fish passage, biological connectivity, habitat, safety, aesthetics, fishing, access, and whitewater boating opportunities. The riffle pools and meandering low flow channel will enhance recreational opportunities for fishing, paddling and other water-based fun.
This proposal will accomplish shallow lake and wetland enhancement habitat work throughout Minnesota, with a focus on the prairie region. The proposal is comprised of four components: (1) projects to engineer and construct or renovate wetland infrastructure and to enhance wetlands; (2) funding to continue wetland habitat enhancement work by the existing Roving Habitat Crew in Region 1; (3) continued funding of three Shallow Lakes Program specialists, and; (4) creation of a new Prairie Wetland Initiative to address unmet management needs of small wetlands in Minnesota prairies.