We're working on an ambitious project to address the significant loss of habitat in West-Central Minnesota's Forest-Prairie transition area. During the first round of the program which began in 2013, seven properties were accepted and work has commenced to protect over 500 acres and 10,000 feet of shoreline. In this second round of funding, we will be using similar ranking and selection criteria.
The goal of the Wetland Habitat Protection Program is to protect high priority wetland habitat complexes in a targeted area by securing permanent conservation easements using a cost-effective approach to maximize conservation benefit and leverage. The Land Trust is working with landowners to permanently protect more than 1,000 acres through a ranking system and market approach for purchasing conservation easements. Funding for this program is provided by grants from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the McKnight Foundation.
Using a multi-faceted approach to prioritizing easements, the Land Trust will weigh the overall habitat benefits of the property against the costs of acquiring the easement.
Up to $1,000,000 is available during this second round of funding for the project. Funding is restricted to lands within this landscape, including all or portions of Becker, Douglas, Grant, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Otter Tail, Stevens, Swift, Pope, and Todd Counties.