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.
This program of on-the-ground conservation projects increased the wildlife and ecological values of forest communities on Minnesota's public forestlands. Restoration and enhancement projects in this program enhanced more than 10,000 acres of forest.
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 program accelerated the permanent protection of 2,267 acres of wetlands (465 acres) and grasslands (1,802 acres) as Waterfowl Production Areas open to public hunting in Minnesota. Over the course of the appropriation, PF acquired 18 parcels for a total of 2,267 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 2,250 acres by 17 acres. Breaking down acres by ecological section we exceeded our acre goal for both the metropolitan area by 61 acres and in the prairie area by 346 acres. We have exceeded anticipated match of $5,125,000 by $771,500.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited enhanced in-stream and riparian fish and wildlife habitat in and along coldwater streams located on public lands and Aquatic Management Areas. We completed all 9 projects originally proposed and three additional. Contracting efficiencies and leveraging of other funding allowed us to add two habitat enhancement projects in southeast Minnesota and another segment on the Sucker River in northeast Minnesota. We enhanced 10 more acres of habitat than originally proposed and increased leverage by $121,700 (67%).
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 Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation in partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust will protect high priority critical fish habitat and the surrounding watersheds on 38 tullibee "refuge" lakes by securing conservation easements. We will permanently protect approximately 400 acres. If a lake's watershed has less than 25% land disturbance the lake has a high probability to maintain clean water and healthy lake ecosystem. State of Minnesota reports indicate this region could see 64% population growth by 2030.
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.
This funding resulted in permanent protection of three strategically located parcels totaling 125 acres. Funding was used to protect high priority parcels within the Lower Root and Lower Zumbro River floodplains. This was part of a broad partnership working to improve habitat quality and connectivity in critical areas along the Mississippi River corridor. Two of the three parcels acquired are now being managed as State Forests (SFT), while the third parcel is being managed as a Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
This appropriation allowed the permanent protection of 977 acres in western Minnesota. These properties included 752 acres of remnant native prairie, 78 acres of associated wetland complexes, 8,950' of stream front, and 9,400' of lakeshore. Lands and easements purchased through this program by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and become units of the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. These lands are owned and managed by the FWS.
Landowner-donated conservation easements in Aitkin, Cass, and Crow Wing counties permanently conserved 260 acres and 3.6 miles of critical shorelands for the protection and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat and continued public recreational enjoyment of these aquatic resources.
This Phase 6 request for Ducks Unlimited's land protection and restoration program will acquire and restore 600 acres of prairie land on shallow lakes and prairie land with restorable wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of SW Minnesota for transfer to the Minnesota DNR for inclusion in the state Wildlife Management Area system. This land acquisition and restoration work will focus on land that buffers shallow lakes and provides breeding habitat for ducks and other prairie wildlife.
This pilot program protected 1,210 acres of wild rice lake shoreland habitat in the Northern Forest Section by securing 14 permanent RIM conservation easements and four fee-title acquisitions, surpassing our goal of 700 acres, and doing so $250,202 under budget.
This project will protect approximately 680 acres and restore and enhance approximately 70 acres of declining habitat for species of greatest conservation need in strategically targeted areas of biodiversity significance in the Blufflands resulting in increased public access and habitat.
This project will protect and enhance high priority habitat in fee for the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Forest in southeast Minnesota. This will include enhancing mixed deciduous forest lands through silvicultural practices and control of invasive species. The project will also provide additional opportunities for hunting in an area of the state where public hunting opportunities are limited. All projects will be done in accordance with the state forest land asset plans, RJ Dorer State Forest Plan and the SE MN Driftless Project Map.