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.
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.
The table below provides a short summary of the acres and sites accomplished. We enhanced or restored 59,495 acres in 458 separate habitat projects.Project Type # Sites # AcresFencing for conserv grazing 6 721grassland conversion 33 1,124Invasive Species Control 43 1,599mowing 3 104Prescribed burn 214 48,368Restoration 13 123Woody Removal 146 7,457
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.
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. Legacy funds have also substantially increased the numbers of projects completed each year. Design and project management levels of work have increased correspondingly. Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Parks and Trails staff conduct these efforts.
This project will develop a watershed approach plan, including impaired waters allocations, for the Mustinka Watershed, located at the headwaters of the Red River of the North, in western Minnesota, lying partly in Grant, Stevens, Ottertail, Big Stone, and Traverse counties. The watershed approach plan will set water quality goals for the watershed, recommend allocations for achieving total maximum daily loads where waters do not meet state standards and are listed as impaired.
The I Can Camp! program provides people new to the outdoors with a safe and comfortable way to learn the basics of tent camping, through first-hand experience, providing all equipment and instruction, combined with conservation education and hands-on outdoor recreational skills activities. The DNR offered and conducted two, overnight workshops each week from June 4 through the September 4, 2011.
Many people are interested in paddling but don’t have the equipment or expertise to head out on their own. The “I Can Paddle!” program is designed to provide participants with first-hand opportunities to learn basic skills necessary for planning and taking a safe, fun and efficient canoe trip on both Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.
New in 2011, the “I Can Paddle!” program saw much success and received rave reviews from participants. 10 programs were hosted between June and August providing 166 participants with paddling opportunities.
This program is designed to attract new audiences to Minnesota State Parks. Primarily young families and young adults that often look beyond state parks for their means of recreation, along with youth looking for an “extreme” or “adventure” experience. Programs will offer participants the opportunity to experience rock climbing, outdoors on real rock. This program targets the state’s climbing parks (Blue Mounds, Interstate and Tettegouche State Parks) by offering one “I Can Climb!” - rock climbing experience - every month from June to August at each of the climbing parks.
The I Can Camp! program provides people new to the outdoors with a safe and comfortable way to learn the basics of tent camping, through first-hand experience, providing all equipment and instruction, combined with conservation education and hands-on outdoor recreational skills activities. The DNR offered and conducted four, one-overnight workshops each week for a 10-week period from mid-June through the third week in August, 2010.
Grassland ecosystems evolved to depend on periodic disturbances, such as fire and grazing, to maintain their health and stability. Periodic disturbances help control invasive species, add nutrients back into the soil, germinate plant seeds, enhance wildlife habitat, and more. In Minnesota habitat managers have used fire as a disturbance tool for decades but the use of grazing has been much rarer, mostly because of a lack of necessary infrastructure such as fencing.
The division has begun a new career-track training program that utilizes "individual placement" corpsmembers, currently stationed at DNR headquarters. With Legacy Funding, the Conservation Corps was able to hire two individual placement positions in 2010 and offered a total of five Legacy Funded positions in the 2011 program year that serve division Legacy program needs.
On behalf of the Metropolitan Council, Environmental Financial Group Inc. generated a matrix of water conservation programs with detailed information about the costs and benefits of the programs. Tools were also developed to allow users to calculate potential water savings, estimate program implementation costs, and test the effects of various water conservation programs and rate structures.
This project will support a civic engagement cohort that will be offered in southwest Minnesota to foster partnering and build capacity of local government, organizations, and residents for effective civic engagement in water protection and restoration. This project will also build networks and the skill set of local resource professionals to do effective civic engagement work for water restoration and protection. The cohort will be administered through the Minnesota River Board (MRB), established in 1995 with a goal of focusing water management efforts on the local level.
This project will set water quality goals for the Minnesota portions of the watershed, recommend allocations for achieving total maximum daily loads where waters do not meet Minnesota state standards and are listed as impaired, and recommend management strategies for those Minnesota waters meeting state standards. This project also recognizes that as monitoring continues in the watershed, additional impairments may be identified.
This project will continue the offering of low-interest loans to citizens, some of whom may not be able to acquire funding otherwise, for upgrading 50 septic systems to ensure compliance with state rules. Grant funds will be used to administer the low-interest loan program.
This is a legislatively mandated project. In order to receive $1,075,000 in water recreation account appropriations for enhancing public water access facilities in FY 2014 and FY 2015 respectively, the commissioner must develop design standards and best management practices specifically for improving water quality by avoiding shoreline erosion and runoff for water accesses.
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 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.
BWSR will administer funding to eligible County projects that provide funds and other assistance to low income property owners to upgrade or replace Noncompliant Septic Systems. BWSR will also manage annual reporting completed by each County.
The goal of the project is the development of an overall strategy for reduction of turbidity/TSS, with sets of sediment reduction initiatives and actions for various sources, to address the Minnesota River Turbidity TMDL and the South Metro Mississippi River TSS TMDL.
This project will maximize the utility and usefulness of three HSPF models that have been constructed and calibrated for hydrology. The contractor will identify and reduce parameterization errors in the following three HSPF models: 1) Buffalo River Watershed, 2 ) Thief River Watershed, 3) Bois de Sioux-Mustinka Watersheds. This will result, not only in a better hydrology calibration, but will also improve each of the models’ ability to more accurately estimate sediment and pollutant loads and concentrations.
Per Minnesota Laws, 2009, Chapter 172, Article 4, Section 2, Subd. 5, "Funds in this subdivision are appropriated to the commissioner of the Department of Administration for grants to the named organizations for the purposes specified in this subdivision. Up to one percent of funds may be used by the Department of Administration for grants administration. Grants made to public television or radio organizations are subject to Minnesota Statutes, sections 129D.18 and 129D.19."
This project will complete the development of two watershed HSPF models for the Mustinka River and Bois de Sioux River watersheds. These calibrated and validated executable models will simulate hydrology at the 12-digit HUC subbasin scale.
The goal of this project is to continue and finalize Hydrological Simulation Program FORTRAN (HSPF) watershed model construction and complete the calibration/validation process for the Minnesota River–Headwaters and Lac qui Parle watersheds that can readily be used to provide information to support conventional parameter Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reports.
With only 1% of Minnesota’s native prairie remaining, many prairie plant and animal species have dramatically declined. Of the 12 butterfly species native to Minnesota prairies, two species, the Poweshiek skipperling and the Dakota skipper, have already largely disappeared from the state and are proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act despite being historically among the most common prairie butterflies and having their historic ranges concentrated in Minnesota.