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 program protected 810 acres of new wildlife habitat in the Prairie, Deciduous Transition, and Southeast Bluffland ecological sections of Minnesota through fee title acquisition. Title of lands acquired are held by the State and are designated as WMAs.
Ducks Unlimited enhanced 6,882 wetland acres through the bio-engineering and installation of water control structures on managed shallow lake outlets for Minnesota DNR, and protected 76 wetland and 103 upland acres on a shallow lake through a purchased conservation easement.
This program protected and restored 734 acres of new wetland wildlife habitat in wetland complexes in Minnesota through fee title acquisition. Title of all lands acquired are held by the State and designated as Wildlife Management Area.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Accelerated Prairie Grassland Restoration and Management Program had a successful first round of funding from the Legacy Funds. The program worked through the growing pains and obstacles in getting a new program up and operational and was successful in enhancing nearly 5,800 acres of prairie and grasslands in eight of the ecological subsections of Minnesota. A contractor base has been established for this type of work statewide that needs to be evaluated and expanded on for future appropriations.
This program permanently protected approximately 953 acres (10.3-miles) of lake and warm water stream shoreline through fee title and permanent easement acquisition and secured 73 acres (4.8-miles) of permanent habitat management easements that include angler access.
The DNR is working with local communities and an interagency team to define, prioritize, and establish groundwater management areas in Minnesota. Groundwater management areas will have increased data collection and monitoring that allow the state and local communities to understand water supplies, uses, limitations, and threats to natural resources that depend on groundwater. This information will support detailed aquifer protection plans that ensure equitable and sustainable groundwater and drinking water use for the future.
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 Division of Parks and Trails (as directed by Chapter 172, Art. 3, Sec. 2, Subd. 3(c)) utilizes Conservation Corps of Minnesota services for restoration, maintenance, and other activities that supplement the ability to reach Legacy Fund goals. Budget associated with this program area capture an accounting of dollars that support CCM Summer Youth, Individual Placements, and special projects for park and trail renewal and development. Other dollars not accounted for in this program area are part of other PAT program areas and included as part of those budgets.
Appropriations to non-state entities must be made through a formal contract with a state entity that manages all of the funds for the project on a reimbursement basis. This appropriation to Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) funds the expenses incurred by the DNR in contracting, contract management, and expense re-imbursement for most of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund appropriations made to non-state entities, including new projects funded during the biennium and existing projects funded in previous bienniums.
Deep, cold-water lakes have different physical properties and support different wildlife than their more numerous shallow counterparts. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is using this appropriation to conduct a study that will help identify, monitor, and predict the consequences of climate change and land use changes on water quality, habitat dynamics, and fish populations in deep, cold-water lakes.
The DNR works with the Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) to convey valuable geologic and groundwater information and interpretations to government units at all levels, but particularly to local governments, private organizations and citizens.
The Minnesota County Geologic Atlas program is an ongoing effort begun in 1982 that is being conducted jointly by the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The program collects information on the geology of Minnesota to create maps and reports depicting the characteristics and pollution sensitivity of Minnesota's ground-water resources.
Dakota County protected 568 acres of high-quality wildlife habitat, encompassing 1.5 miles of the Cannon River, 1.5 miles of Chub Creek, 0.75 miles of the Vermillion River, 1.0 mile along the Mississippi River, and 2.2 miles along River Lake.
The commissioner shall develop a ten-year strategic state parks and trails plan considering traditional funding and the funding available under the Minnesota Constitution, article XI, section 15. The plan shall incorporate the 25-year framework developed by the University of Minnesota Center for Changing Landscapes. (HF 1231, Art 3, Sec 2)
The Division of Parks and Trails is creating innovative programs to attract new audiences, particularly young families, to Minnesota state parks and trails. Skill-building programs, such as "I Can Camp!," provide a trial opportunity by eliminating the barriers of needing to have pre-existing knowledge or gear for the activity. Special events, such as National Get Outdoors Day, generate enthusiasm and a sense of urgency to visit. Gateway programs introduce visitors to a host of outdoor pursuits, including those offered by other divisions of the Minnesota DNR.
The Division of Parks and Trails is providing expanded cross-country ski, snowshoe and other winter activities in Minnesota state parks and recreation areas; Minnesota state trails; and Minnesota state forests. The division is re-establishing trails that had been closed due to a lack of funding; enhanced a number of existing facilities by brushing, mowing or improving trail condition prior to snowfall. The division has also enhanced existing facilities by maintaining additional parking lots or staging areas and, in the case of trails, by providing winter grooming.
The DNR works with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health to determine the level of contamination from mercury and other harmful chemicals in fish from Minnesota's lakes and rivers and to track the success of efforts to reduce mercury pollution. Clean Water Legacy funding is being used to significantly increase (more than double) the number of lakes and rivers that are assessed for mercury contamination on an annual basis. Fish are collected during DNR fishery surveys, processed for laboratory testing, and analyzed for contaminants.
This program/project protected approximately 187,876 acres of forest and wetlands with permanent conservation easements and 2,745 acres with fee acquisition and provides public recreational access, provides for sustainable forest management, and supports diverse habitats for a wide array of fish and wildlife species.
As a result of the installation of the two fish barriers, one on Wedge Creek and one on White Lake, we have kept Common Carp from migrating from Fountain Lake into the shallow upstream basins. This has helped improve the water clarity and water quality in the upstream areas which are now excluded from Common Carp. Since these upstream areas are interconnected to Fountain Lake, water quality in Fountain Lake has also improved. Secchi disk readings on Fountain Lake were the best on record in 2010, averaging 2.7 feet of water clarity.
The Green Corridor Legacy Program, Phase 1 protected high quality fish, game and wildlife habitats by developing complexes or corridors of new and/or expanded MN DNR Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and/or Aquatic Management Areas (AMA) in program areas.
The Lamberton WMA acquisition expanded the existing 641 acres complex by 43% of 277 acres for a total of 918 acres. The Whispering Ridge AMA acquisition expanded the existing 183 acres AMA complex by 55% or 101 acres to a total of 184 acres.
Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Minnesota Valley Trust acquired 78.5 acres of priority lands in Lincoln Township of Blue Earth County to expand the Lincoln Waterfowl Production Area for the Minnesota Valley Refuge and Wetland Management District, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Of the 78.5 acres, 21 acres were acquired with Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund; the other 56.5 acres were acquired with nonprofit / other, non-state funds.
Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) 2009 work program focused on 6 habitat restoration projects totaling 3,664 acres (3,118-ENRTF funds; 546-other funds). Additional details, beyond the short summary below, are found in the more detailed reporting provided for each project.
Overall Project Outcome and Results
This project focused on the acquisition of habitat linkages that provided environmental protection of the shoreline and riparian zone, exhibited a high risk of development, supplied angler access, and afforded management access necessary for implementing habitat improvement projects.
Project goals were to protect 120 acres (1.4 miles of lake and stream shoreline) with the help of partner and other state funding. Partner funding includes donations of land value and cash.
Overall Project Outcome and Results
MDHA funding restored a total of two oak savannahs (grassland enhancement) consisting of 35 acres on the Winger Waterfowl Production Area (WPA). Federal WPA's are managed for waterfowl production and are open to public hunting and other recreation consistent with the National Wildlife Refuge System. This restoration to the oak savannahs will create suitable habitat for deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, and other cavity nesting birds.