With these funds we were able to restore, protect, and enhance 24,611 acres of native and restored grassland in Minnesota. Much of this work was done through the DNR Roving Crews, a new program funded with these dollars that has significantly increased the state's habitat management capabilities. In addition to these enhancement activities we were able to enroll acres in the DNR's Native Prairie Bank Easement Program as well as acquire acres for the SNA program.
This program will increase populations of a variety of game and non-game wildlife species by protecting and enhancing forest habitats on which wildlife depends. This program of on-the-ground forest conservation projects will amplify the wildlife value of forest communities on DNR administered forestlands. Our forest enhancement will treat 4,472 ac. These activities are not conducted as part of the DNR's commercial timber operations. Additionally, our program will acquire 404 acres of forestland that contributes to habitat complexes and other high priorities.
Our program will coordinate with partners, with emphasis on Prairie Conservation Plan implementation, and acquire priority lands for Wildlife Management Areas, Scientific and Natural Areas, and Native Prairie Bank easesments for public hunting, trapping and compatible outdoor uses consistent with the Outdoor Recreation Act.
The Conservation Fund and Minnesota Land Trust will protect 380 acres of high-priority grassland, prairie, and wetland wildlife habitat with working lands conservation easements in western, central, and southeastern Minnesota. Grasslands represent one of Minnesota’s most threatened habitat types. Privately-held and well-managed grasslands in strategic habitat complexes have provided lasting benefits for Minnesota’s wildlife. This project will permanently prevent the conversion of grasslands to row crops.
The Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Partnership will protect, restore and enhance high priority habitat land in fee and easement in the quickly developing Mississippi Headwaters landscape resulting in connectivity of shoreline and forest habitat, and water quality benefits.
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.
Protect up to to 1,500 acres of at risk, priority forest habitat adjacent and near the Crow Wing River that will consolidate and link public forestland parcels, provide management and recreational access and protect surface and ground water quality.
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 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.
Twenty six easements protecting 1,173.3 were recorded which exceeded the original proposal by 173 acres (15%). 11.6 miles of shoreline were protected which exceeded the 8 acre goal by 30%. Total expenditure was $1,355,000 which was 17% lower than originally budgeted. No fee-title land acquisition opportunities on wild rice lakes that fit within DNR and other government agency land plans were available during this time period thus DU did not expend any of the $100,000 budgeted for fee-title acquisition. Instead the program focused on RIM easements.