This programmatic proposal accelerates the protection and restoration of 1,073 acres of strategic prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitats as State Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) open to public hunting. Pheasants Forever (PF) will be protecting parcels that build onto or create a corridor between existing protected lands which will be transferred to the MN Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) to be included as a WMA. All acquisitions will occur within the prairie, prairie/forest transition, and metro planning regions.
Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered to permanently protect, restore and enhance 1,630 acres of grassland and 294 acres of wetland as Waterfowl Production Areas in Western and Southern Minnesota. All lands acquired will be owned and managed in perpetuity by the USFWS as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and open for public recreation.
This initiative protected 548 acres of habit in the blufflands region of southeastern Minnesota--an area that contains unique and ecologically important prairie, oak savanna and grassland habitat along with outstanding forested bluffs, woodlands, floodplains and cold water trout streams.
This program will restore and enhance in-stream and riparian fish and wildlife habitat in 11 watersheds across the state of Minnesota. The proposed projects will improve habitat for both game and non-game fish and wildlife species uniquely associated with cold water trout streams and provide expanded recreational opportunities for Minnesota anglers.
The Minnesota Land Trust and the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation will protect 603 acres of high priority critical fish habitat and 0.5 mile of shoreline on 16 priority tullibee "refuge" lakes and their associated watersheds through conservation easements and fee title acquisitions. We will restore and enhance 60 acres of associated habitat. A lake's ecosystem and water quality have a high probability of being maintained if less than 25% of its watershed is disturbed.
This program continues a partnership to restore diverse prairie and wetland habitat in areas adjacent to existing DNR Wildlife Management Areas. Parcels are identified by working with the representatives of local government, Windom Area DNR, Ducks Unlimited (DU), The Conservation Fund (TCF), and the Fox Lake Conservation League. Wetland restoration and additional grasslands are needed to make our WMA's sustainable.
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 Nature Conservancy and US Fish and Wildlife Service will work together to permanently protect native prairie and associated complexes of wetlands and native habitats in western and central Minnesota by purchasing approximately 705 acres of fee title properties and/or permanent habitat easements. Approximately 350 acres will be native prairie. Work will be focused in areas identified as having significant biodiversity by the Minnesota Biological Survey and located in priority areas in the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan.
This project will advance the prairie protection, restoration and enhancement goals established in the 2018 revision of the MN Prairie Conservation Plan. It builds upon the successful model established in Phases 1 - 8 and seeks to protect 500 acres in fee without PILT obligations to be held by The Nature Conservancy, enhance 14,000 acres of permanently protected grasslands, and restore 100 acres of prairie and wetland habitat.
Pheasants Forever, in cooperation with partners acquired and restored five parcels totaling 1,051 acres within Southern Minnesota and enrolled the parcels into the MNDNR WMA system. In addition, 66 acres of grassland enhancement was completed on existing WMAs.
This Phase 8 request funds Ducks Unlimited’s prairie land acquisition and restoration program. DU will acquire 560 acres of land containing drained wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of SW Minnesota for restoration and transfer to the Minnesota DNR for inclusion in the state WMA system. This land acquisition and restoration program focuses on restoring cropland with wetlands along shallow lakes and adjoining WMAs containing large wetlands to help restore prairie wetland habitat complexes for breeding ducks and other wildlife.
Phase 4 of the Wetland Habitat Protection and Restoration Program will result in the protection of 800 acres of high priority wetland habitat complexes in Minnesota’s Prairie and Forest-Prairie Transition areas by securing permanent conservation easements within scientifically prioritized habitat complexes. The Minnesota Land Trust will use its innovative landowner bid model to maximize conservation benefit and financial leverage in protection project selection.