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 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.
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.
Water control structures and dikes were designed and constructed on six Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in the counties of Becker, Clearwater, Itasca, Lincoln, Roseau, and Yellow Medicine. Dike work at Roseau River WMA protects and enhances 3200 acres of wetlands wetlands in Pool 2 of the WMA. Roseau River WMA has 10 large water control structures, seven moist soil cells, and four large pools covering 11,800 acres. Cells for a moist soil unit were constructed at Lac Qui Parle WMA in Lac Qui Parle County.
The proposal was to accelerate the protection of 1,275 acres of prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitat as State Wildlife Management Areas open to public hunting. However, over the course of the appropriation, we acquired 10 parcels for a total of 1,498 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 1,275 acres by 223 acres. Breaking down acres by ecological section we exceed our acre goal for the metropolitan area by 97 acres.
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.
Strategic planning efforts guide the expenditure of Legacy funds towards desired outcomes which are derived from public and stakeholder input, research, analysis and input from a variety of experts and leadership. Parks and Trails planners conduct these efforts. Staffing levels were adjusted to complete this legacy work.
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 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.
Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District is using these funds to restore approximately 50 acres of prairie pothole wetlands in Clay and Becker Counties. Efforts aim to create wildlife habitat for waterfowl and other species and reduce downstream flooding of the Red River Valley by increasing the capacity of the land to hold and store water from spring runoff and severe storms.
An estimated 200 acres of lands acquired through this phase of the Habitat Corridors Partnership are expected to be transferred to the state for designation as Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using these funds to conduct habitat restoration on these new WMA lands, as well as develop the infrastructure necessary for public access to them.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is coordinating efforts to improve habitat for aquatic species and protect water quality on lakes, streams, and their surrounding sensitive shorelands. A total of up to 3.5 miles or 35 acres of water bodies in Kandiyohi, Otter Tail, Rice, or Stevens Counties are expected to benefit from restoration activities including installation of aeration systems, development of spawning areas, installation of native vegetation, and stabilization of stream banks.
This appropriation is enabling Ducks Unlimited to help state and federal wildlife conservation agencies protect and restore shallow lakes for waterfowl. Conservation easements will be acquired on approximately 150 acres of privately owned shoreland and up to 60 acres of lands previously converted for cropping will be restored back to wildlife habitat. Lands being considered for permanent protection in this round of funding are located in Beltrami, Douglas, Freeborn, Grant, Meeker, Pope, Stearns, Swift, and Wright counties.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ducks Unlimited are working together to provide technical assistance to landowners that that will result in the protection of approximately 2,500 acres of prairies and wetlands in southern and western Minnesota. As a result of this appropriation, an estimated $4 million of additional funding for conservation is anticipated to be provided in match by the federal Wetland Reserve Program.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is working within the Leech Lake Reservation boundaries to address loss and degradation of aquatic habitat for wild rice and waterfowl. Efforts will include regulating water levels on shallow lakes by controlling beaver activity and conducting periodic water level draw-downs, reseeding of approximately 200 acres of wild rice, and implementing adaptive management based on analysis of wild rice productivity.
There funds are enabling Pheasants Forever to acquire in fee title approximately 86 acres of habitat along the borders of existing Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) or Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA) in LeSueur, Lincoln, or Rice counties and convey the lands to a public agency for long term stewardship and protection. These strategic acquisitions will leverage and expand the existing habitat, water quality, and recreation benefits already provided by existing protected lands.
This on-going program is for detecting, mapping and controlling invasive plant species and re-establishing native vegetation in their place on lands administered by the Division of Parks and Trails. Control of invasive plant species furthers progress to preserve and restore the quality of native plant communities on Parks and Trails lands as well as helps prevent the spread of invasives to new locations.
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS The impetus for this project was the need to better protect and manage functional lake ecosystems in Minnesota. There is widespread concern about the consequences of poorly planned development on water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Given the increased demands for water and shoreland, continued habitat fragmentation and loss of species diversity, protection of sensitive lakeshores is critical.
This program is to restore acres of state parks and trails land to native plant communities. MS 86A.05 directs PAT to preserve, perpetuate and restore natural features in state parks that were present in the area of the park at the time of European settlement. Approximately 31 restoration projects have been completed, are in progress, or will be implemented in the spring of 2012, at over 20 state park units. These projects total 1,283 acres.
Through this appropriation Dakota County plans to permanently protect approximately 287 acres along rivers, including the Vermillion and Cannon Rivers, by securing conservation easements from willing landowners. For all acres protected, natural resource management plans will be prepared to ensure their long term stewardship. Additionally, restoration and enhancement activities are expected to occur on approximately 75 acres.
The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust is using this appropriation to purchase a total of approximately 125 acres of land to expand the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and to restore and enhance approximately 405 acres of oak savanna and remnant native prairie communities within the refuge. Many benefits are anticipated from this project, including improved habitat connectivity, protection of native species, improved water quality in the Minnesota River, and increased public access to natural lands for activities such as hiking, hunting, and fishing.
Friends of the Mississippi is using this appropriation to restore and enhance approximately 163 acres of permanently protected prairie and forest lands in Dakota, Washington, Ramsey, and Hennepin counties in order increase the amount of high quality habitat within designated conservation corridors. Specific activities will include updating management plans, soil preparation, prescribed burning, native vegetation installation, woody encroachment removal, and invasive species control.
These funds will enable Great River Greening to restore approximately 121 acres of permanently protected forests, savanna, prairie, and wetland habitat and 0.18 miles of shoreland habitat while engaging hundreds of volunteers in the stewardship of the Metropolitan area's remaining natural areas. Specific activities include invasive species control, seeding/planting, prescribed burning, and other associated activities.
With this final report, Metro Big Rivers Phase 2 is complete and significantly exceeded its original acreage targets of protecting, restoring and enhancing priority wildlife habitat within the three big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area. Specifically:
* Metro Big Rivers 2 planned to protect 733 acres, but actually protected 1,430 acres.
* Metro Big Rivers 2 planned to restore 15 acres and enhance 135 acres, but actually restored 15 acres and enhanced 178 acres.
Goals for Phase 2 of the MN Prairie Recovery Program were to: protect 1200 acres native prairie/savanna; restore 250 acres grassland; enhance 6000 acres grassland/savanna with fire, invasive species removal, and grazing; and continue a new prairie conservation model.
This project will create a high accuracy elevation dataset - critical for effectively planning and implementing water quality projects - for the state of Minnesota using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and geospatial mapping technologies. Although some areas of the state have been mapped previously, many counties remain unmapped or have insufficient or inadequate data. This multi-year project, to be completed in 2012, is a collaborative effort of Minnesota's Digital Elevation Committee and partners with county surveyors to ensure accuracy with ground-truthing.
This project works with local partners that implement conservation project to provide learning opportunities, technical help, and grants that result in cleaner water through healthier watersheds and shorelands. The DNR's natural resource experts help prioritize conservation areas and target project locations so they improve water quality while providing habitat and other benefits. Stream experts provide designs for stream projects that provide long-term stability by using natural features.
The SRRWD has successfully acquired fee title to 257 acres of land that encompasses the headwaters of the Shell Rock River located at the Albert Lea Lake outlet. This 257 acre parcel will now be a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Management Area (AMA) guided by an Aquatic Management Plan.
Protecting 980-acre LaSalle Lake property adjacent to the Upper Mississippi River, with biologically-significant forest habitat and miles of deep-lake and coldwater stream shoreline, to be managed by multiple DNR divisions.
Funds from this appropriation were directed wholly toward the Division of Parks & Trails (PAT) resource management program. The PAT resource management program was established in 1978 and is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing natural/cultural resource management efforts on division-administered lands. PAT administers approximately 250,000 acres of land, of which less than 5% is developed as campgrounds, roads/trails or other use areas.
The DNR's Regional Clean Water Specialists and Area Hydrologists work with other state agencies and local partners to help identify the causes of pollution problems and determine the best strategies for fixing them. A statewide coordinator works with the DNR and external partners to ensure funds are spent in the most effective and efficient manner to meet the State's clean water goals.
The DNR provides technical support regarding the causes of and solutions to drainage impacts, actively engaging with other Minnesota modelers and scientists working on issues related to altered hydrology. We use state-of-the-art models to look at cumulative impacts of drainage and land-use practices and determine the benefits of site-specific best management practices. This involves collaboration with multiple partners and at multiple scales.
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS This project identified and prioritized areas in the Zumbro River Watershed that were determined critical for restoring and protecting water quality. Studies suggested that small areas of the landscape contribute disproportionately to nonpoint source pollution. So implementation of conservation projects that focus on those areas will maximize water quality benefits and ensure efficient use of resources.