Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. The original proposal planned for 15,000 acres of wetland/shallow lake enhancement to provide critical habitat for each life stage of waterfowl and wetland wildlife. The six projects subsequently completed with this appropriation enhanced 13,800 acres of wetlands and shallow lakes in the Prarie and Forest/Prairie Ecosections of Minnestoa.
Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. Recent tiling and ditching have accelerated this situation. Through this program, shallow lakes and wetlands were designed, constructed, and intensively managed to benefit wetland wildlife and Minnesota residents. Habitat accomplishments from this proposal have enhanced 19,365 acres of wetlands and shallow lakes to benefit waterfowl and wetland wildlife. Work was accomplish through constructed infrastructure, cattail control, and a significant prescribed wetland burn.
The proposal was to accelerate the protection of 1,220 acres of prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitat as State Wildlife Management Areas open to public hunting. Over the course of the appropriation, we acquired 11 parcels for a total of 1,484.05 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 1,220 acres by 264.05 acres. Breaking down acres by ecological section we acquired 876 acres in the metro, 152 acres in the forest/prairie, and 456 acres in the prairie. We have a balance of $52,798 that will be returned to the Fund despite exceeding our acre goals.
The program was to accelerate the protection of 1,230 acres of prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitat as Waterfowl Production Areas open to public hunting in Minnesota. Over the course of the appropriation, we acquired 14 parcels for a total of 1,240.79 acres which exceeded our total acre goal of 1,230 acres by 10.79 acres. Breaking down acres by ecological section we acquired 160 acres in the forest/prairie and 1,080.79 acres in the prairie. We have a balance that will be returned to the Fund despite exceeding our acre goals.
The Anoka Sand Plain Partnership restored / enhanced 3,714 acres of priority prairie, savanna, forest, wetland, and shoreline habitat on public lands and waters within the Anoka Sand Plain EcoRegion within the Metropolitan Urbanizing, Forest-Prairie, and Northern Forest regions. Total R/E acreage achieved over the course of the appropriation is 126% of our stated acreage goals, and was accomplished through a robust partnership of four direct recipients improving a total of 16 priority sites including WMAs, state forest, national wildlife refuges, city and county lands.
The occurrences of contaminants including antibiotics, other pharmaceuticals, and personal care products in the environment have gained increasing attention in recent years because of their potential health and ecological impacts. However, serious gaps remain in our understanding of these contaminants and the significance of the threats they may pose, such as to drinking water. Through this appropriation scientists at the University of St.
This project is studying the response of certain aquifers to groundwater pumping. Research involves an aquifer test, which is an experiment where a well is pumped at a known, constant, pumping rate; changes in groundwater levels and stream flows in the areas around the aquifer test site are observed while the well is being pumped. These tests help us understand how groundwater flows between aquifers, which are underground rock and sand layers that hold water.
Permanently protected 496 acres (142% of our protect goal) within the Cannon River watershed; areas include wetlands, prairies, Big Woods forest, and shallow lake shoreline. This has reversed habitat loss, improved watershed function, and increased access to public lands.
Protect approximately 270 acres and restore approximately 50 acres near the Cannon River headwaters, including wetlands, prairies, Big Woods forest, and river & shallow lake shoreline to reverse habitat loss, improve watershed function and provide access.
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.
Terrestrial invasive plants such as buckthorn, wild parsnip, garlic mustard, and others are becoming widespread threats throughout many sites in Minnesota. Present chemical and mechanical control methods tend to be costly, effective only in the short-term, or have other negative environmental impacts. However, an alternative practice of using grazing animals for invasive species management is used successfully in many parts of the western United States.
The Minnesota County Geologic Atlas program is an ongoing effort begun in 1979 that is being conducted jointly by the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This portion, called Part B and conducted by the DNR, analyzes water samples to understand water chemistry and sensitivity to pollution.
During this grant time frame, Dakota County was able to protect habitat through acquisition of seven parcels, totaling 409 acres. The fee title ownership of three of the parcels, totaling 197 acres, was transferred to the Minnesota DNR as part of establishing the new Hampton Woods Wildlife Management Area in Hampton and Castle Rock townships.
DNR completed nine stream habitat projects with this appropriation. Four fish passage projects opened up access to 180 miles of river and 13,521 acres of lake and wetland habitat. We enhanced habitat on 39 Aquatic Management Areas, totalling 1440 acres, through the efforts of four positions funded by this appropriation. It also funded two stream habitat positions that oversaw the completion of 23 DNR projects and over 50 partner-lead projects funded by various OHF sources.
With this appropriation, the DNR enhanced and restored over 11,700 acres of public lands or permanently protected private lands under easement. Projects under this appropriation included prescribed fire, prescribed or conservation grazing, woody removal, and enhancing plant diversity. With this appropriation we were able to exceed our target acreage by 38 percent.
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.
DNR modified six dams to allow fish passage and enhanced in stream habitat on two rivers with this appropriation. Also, habitat enhancement project were completed on 28 Aquatic Management Areas and three metro parks, totaling 1,002 acres. Stream habitat work for this appropriation and LSOHC-funded projects from other appropriations was aided by funding for a stream restoration coordinator and interns. These positions aided in public outreach, survey work, design, permitting, contracting, and coordination with project partners on these complex projects.
Floodplain forest enhancement projects were implemented at 10 sites covering 292 acres along the Mississippi River from Red Wing to the Iowa border. We completed site preparation; controlled invasive species; planted trees and shrubs using a combination of direct seeding, bare root seedlings and large, potted trees; protected trees from deer and voles; completed post tree planting weed control; and installed willow and cottonwood cuttings. Outcomes varied by site, ranging from poor to excellent tree seedling survival.
The Minnesota DNR and the Minnesota Forest Resources Council work with forest landowners, managers and loggers to implement a set of voluntary sustainable forest management guidelines that include water quality best management practices (BMPs) to ensure sustainable habitat, clean water, and productive forest soils, all contributing to healthy watersheds. This project will monitor the implementation of these forest management guidelines and BMPs on forested watersheds in MN.
During this grant funding timeline, this project only protected one 14-acre, permanent natural area conservation easement; but was able to restore and enhance way more than the anticipated 178 acres and 157 acres, respectively, of wildlife habitat, by restoring a total of 696 acres and enhancing 251 acres prior to the funding deadline.
Woody biomass energy systems have shown themselves to offer more locally-based, stable energy supplies for some communities. Itasca Community College is using this appropriation to design a renewable energy system based on woody biomass that will serve as a demonstration and educational tool in the region.
In this Phase 4 of our ongoing "Living Lakes" program to enhance shallow lakes and restore wetlands, DU successfully enhanced 5,952 acres of shallow lakes and wetlands and restored 59 acres of wetlands by completing 16 separate projects for waterfowl and other wildlife in the Prairie, Transition, and Metro Sections in partnership with Minnesota DNR, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and private landowners.
The Lower Mississippi River Habitat Partnership included three distinct project components. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enhanced 700 acres of wetland and bottomland forest habitat on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge’s (Refuge) Root River Tract in Houston County.
Friends of the Mississippi is using this appropriation to permanently protect six acres through fee title acquisition for addition to Fish Creek Natural Area near Maplewood, MN, and to restore and enhance approximately 134 acres of permanently protected prairie, savanna, wetland, and forest habitat in Dakota, Washington, Ramsey, and Hennepin counties. Specific restoration and enhancement 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 90 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.
Through this appropriation Dakota County plans to permanently protect approximately 27 acres of shoreland and contiguous upland in the Marcott Lakes area of Inver Grove Heights by securing a conservation easement from a willing landowner. 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 40 acres.
With this appropriation, the Minnesota Land Trust plans to protect 100 acres of high quality forest, prairie, wetland, or shoreline habitat by securing permanent conservation easements and dedicating funds for their perpetual monitoring, management, and enforcement. Lands being considered for permanent protection in this round of funding are located in Chisago, Goodhue, Hennepin, Isanti, and Washington counties.
The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust is using this appropriation to purchase a total of approximately 100 acres of land and donated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife 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. Restoration and management plans will be completed for all acquired lands.
This project will establish a groundwater monitoring network in the 11 county metropolitan area. The network will provide information about aquifer characteristics and natural water trends by monitoring healthy aquifers (non-stressed systems). The project will also develop an automated system that captures groundwater level and water use data. This system will enhance evaluation of changes in aquifers that are stressed by pumping from existing wells.
Metro Big Rivers' restoration and enhancement partners (FMR and GRG) achieved their goals, converting through restoration a former rail yard in the urban core to 32 acres of prairie and enhancing 98 acres of prairie and forest at four other public conservation sites in the metropolitan area. The easement partner (MLT) exceeded goals and permanently protected 131 acres under two conservation easements in Washington County.
In Phase 5, Friends of the Mississippi River and Great River Greening enhanced 277 acres at six sites, exceeding their goals by 48 acres (21%). The Minnesota Valley Trust acquired fee title to 32.4 acres for two high-priority additions to the Rapids Lake Unit, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The Minnesota Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land were unable to finalize their easement and fee title acquisitions when landowners changed their minds. OHF grant funds spent were leveraged more than 110% with $1,343,128 in other funds.
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.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited enhanced in-stream and riparian habitat for trout and other wildlife along more than 11 miles of coldwater streams across the state. We far exceeded our original targets, enhancing habitat on 135 acres rather than 78. We completed 16 separate stream habitat projects. Leveraging other funding and efficiently contracting projects allowed us to add habitat projects and adjust to changing conditions.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited enhanced in-stream and riparian habitat for trout and other wildlife along coldwater streams located on public lands and Aquatic Management Area easements across the state. We completed 12 separate projects encompassing 118 acres and 9.3 miles of stream habitat. Leveraging other funding and efficiently contracting projects allowed us to increase the scope of some projects and adjust to changing conditions. We enhanced more acres of habitat and more stream length than originally proposed.
The DNR has been charged by the legislature to develop rules that protect and manage the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA) for natural resource, economic development, transportation, historic preservation, and other values. This project engages stakeholder groups in a public process to balance regulatory protections with local flexibility and control.
Prior to European settlement more than 18 million acres of prairie covered Minnesota. Today less than 1% of that native prairie remains, and about half of those remaining acres are in private landownership without any formal protection currently in place. Through this appropriation the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will work with private landowners of high quality native prairie sites to protect remaining native prairie using a variety of tools. Approximately 200 acres are expected to be permanently protected through Native Prairie Bank conservation easements.
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.
Though many parts of the Twin Cities metropolitan area are urbanized, there are also has large areas of natural lands that continue to serve as important habitat for fish, wildlife, and plant communities. However, pressure on these remaining lands continues to intensify as population and development pressures increase.