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.
Our program will coordinate with partners emphasizing Prairie Conservation Plan implementation through fee title acquisition of priority lands for Wildlife Management Areas and Scientific & Natural Areas for public hunting, trapping and compatible uses consistent with the Outdoor Recreation Act.
We will use a programmatic approach to achieve prioritized aquatic habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement of lakes, trout streams, and rivers across all of the LSOHC planning regions of Minnesota.
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.
Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation and the Minnesota Land Trust collectively protected 765 acres and 8.9 miles of critical shoreland and forest habitat in the watersheds of strategic North Central Minnesota lakes through the completion of 5 conservation easements and 1 fee title acquisition. Acreage protection outcomes exceeded that proposed by 151%; shoreland protected exceeded that proposed by 297%. The grant leveraged $1,119,000 through landowner donation of easement and fee value and other sources, exceeding goals by 134%.
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.
Phase 4 of our ongoing Living Lakes program will enhance 4,000 acres of shallow lakes and wetlands for waterfowl in the Prairie, Transition, and Metro Sections in partnership with Minnesota DNR, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and other agencies.
This appropriation allowed the permanent protection of 887 acres in western Minnesota. These properties included 664 acres of remnant native prairie, 76 acres of associated wetlands complexes, and 8,500' of streamfront. For this phase we originally planned to protect 740 acres with a minimum of 375 native prairie. Both targets were exceeded - 120% of total acres and 177% of native prairie acres.
The Pinelands Sands Aquifer Phase 1 project protected 567 acres of priority forest habitat in the Pinelands Sands Aquifer including high quality dry pine woodlands to prevent habitat loss, protect water quality in the aquifer, and provide access. Lands protected include 352 acres of forests which will be added to the Badoura State Forest and 215 acres which will be part of the newly established Jack Pine Woodlands Scientific and Natural Area.
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 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 restore declining habitats for important wildlife species in strategically targeted areas of outstanding biodiversity in Southeast Minnesota. The project will result in increased public access and expanded habitat complexes critical to the state.
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.
Priority lands were acquired within the Richard J. Dorer State Forest; protecting forests, habitat and providing public hunting, trapping and compatible outdoor uses as well as watershed protection. This project protected 203 acres of forest land, reduced boundaries by 3720 feet, provided access to 1116 acres of state forest land, and protected 2000 feet of shoreline.
This Phase III continuation of the Wild Rice Shoreland Protection project acquired 98 acres for Yaeger Lake Wildlife Management Area (total acquisition was 285 acres but a portion was funded with other LSOHC money, only the portion funded with this grant is reported here) and 14 RIM easements protecting 600 acres for a total of 698 acres of wild rice shoreland habitat in the Northern Forest Section. This exceeded this Phases overall goal by acres for RIM.