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Minnesota Land Trust

Minnesota Land Trust, a nonprofit 501(c)(3)

 2356 University Avenue West, Suite 240

Saint Paul, MN 55114

Phone: 651-647-9590

1-877-MLT-LAND

Email: mnland@mnland.org

 

Staff Directory

Office Locations & Directions

 

Located on the Green Line, across the street from Raymond Station. On bus routes 16, 21, 63 and 67. Nice Ride location across the street, available seasonally. Parking available on the south side of the building and on the street (metered).

 

 

 

 
Land Trust Accreditation Commission    Charities Review Council


 

Interest for Others  Guidestar Platinum

 

Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund

Monday
Dec102018

It Takes a Neighborhood

For over 21 years, a group of neighbors in Rochester have worked to preserve and maintain the beautiful natural woods behind their homes. A conservation easement through the Minnesota Land Trust has protected their hard work.

A stream runs through Baihly Woods.In 1997 a group of neighbors in Rochester came together to form the Baihly Woods Preservation Association (BWPA), and to protect a 10.2 acre parcel of woodland directly behind their homes. Motivated by a desire to keep the area in its natural state, the group worked with the Minnesota Land Trust to protect the land with a conservation easement.

“The Association studied a number of options but decided to engage with the Minnesota Land Trust based on its excellent reputation and an interest to preserve the woodland in perpetuity, an interest that has grown ever stronger through the years,” says Tim Buchholtz, current president of the Association.

But as many neighbors with good intentions, the full scale of the endeavor they had undertaken wouldn’t become clear until a few years in. “In the past 21 years we’ve realized that nature doesn’t just take care of itself. Sometimes it needs some help. Sometimes it needs a lot of help!” says Tim. Erosion, buckthorn, and stormwater runoff challenged the property, and created headaches for the newly founded Association.

The neighbors were determined though – faced with a stream that “looked like a river” at times, and was creating holes big enough to drive a bus into, they created a long-term management plan to ensure the conservation values of the woods remained intact.

Restored wetlands in Baihly Woods.The City of Rochester installed an enhanced stormwater runoff system, and the landowners restored a natural wetland to absorb excess water. “After years of raising the alarm with the city we finally completed our ravine stabilization project and now have a beautiful new wetlands area with multiple new plantings of trees and bushes,” says Tim. “But most importantly, in the past 21 years our love of this woodland has grown immeasurably and we’ve matured.”

Even as the woods have been improved, challenges remain. Invasive species like buckthorn and garlic mustard are ever-present, and require constant vigilance. The upside is that management has been a community affair, and has brought together neighbors with a common goal. “There are many other invasive control techniques and suggestions outlined in the BWPA Restoration Plan and many of these speak to actively engaging our members in the restoration journey,” explains Tim.

“This fall we plan to kick off “Project Pathways” in an effort to create a walking path in Zone 2 of the property which will allow us to support maintenance of the BWPA property, provide easier access for ongoing inspections by the Minnesota Land Trust, promote unity of our membership by providing a walkable path for BWPA members, and encourage ownership of our common vision to eradicate invasive species in the woodland. Our eventual goal is to connect all zones of the property with a ring of perimeter paths.”

In the long-term, protecting natural habitat on its own isn’t enough – land needs active management and restoration to remain high quality for people, plants, and animals. Organizations like the Baihly Woods Preservation Association are an example of how private property owners can come together to create and manage a community asset in perpetuity.

“Not only has the BWPA woodland been a natural playground for our children, it has also planted in them the seeds of conservation and our hopes that future generations will also come to value these nature preserves and work to protect them. The BWPA woodland has also been an inspiration for other property owners with similar woodland treasures they wished to protect through partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust.”

Tuesday
Nov132018

Protecting the Keystone Woods for future generations

Population growth in the Twin Cities metro area has accelerated in recent decades, putting development pressure on the forests, wetlands, farmland, and lakes around it. Washington County landowners have taken a step to protect their land from development forever with a conservation easement through the Minnesota Land Trust and Washington County.

“In the years I've been in Hugo, I’ve seen gigantic growth in the area,” says Bob Rosenquist, who, with his wife Marilyn, put 20 acres of their wetland and forest land into a conservation easement. “When I look at the history of the area I'm in, of it being logged off - I thought if I could do something to preserve this small piece of it for the future, it would be a marvelous thing to do.”

Washington County has identified 387 acres of natural lands as a priority for conservation in an area called the Keystone Woods Priority Conservation Area. The Rosenquists’ property falls in this complex of lands, and is the first piece of a much larger puzzle of connected properties that could someday be a natural gem in the heart of Washington County.

“As we watch the continued development in Washington County, we become more aware of our responsibility and role in preserving high-quality environments for future generations, and for the safeguarding of unique ecosystems in our midst,” said Fran Miron, Washington County commissioner from District 1, which is home to the land. “We are always grateful when property owners step forward to work with us in those efforts.

The Rosenquist property isn’t just important as wildlife habitat, but also plays a role in keeping groundwater clean. “This Keystone Woods area is important for surface and groundwater across Washington County, and for the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers,” says Vanessa Perry, program manager for the Minnesota Land Trust. “Private landowners here hold the keys to ensuring that the whole watershed is healthy; and when landowners protect their land in its natural state, it can act like a giant filter for the water the rest of us rely on.”

By protecting land with a conservation easement, the property is still owned by the individual property owner, but future development is limited. “As more and more landowners realize the benefits of protecting their land with a conservation easement, we’re making sure the waters and lands we all rely on will be here for future generations,” says Perry. “By using a conservation easement, we’re also ensuring the land will stay in private hands, and that landowners will continue to pay taxes, recreate on the land, and be able to pass it on to their family in the future to enjoy as they have.”

“This act of land preservation is especially important now, as we see increased threats to our groundwater,” Miron said. “Efforts to maintain quality landscapes will help in maintaining healthy sources of groundwater for the future.”

This permanent conservation easement was made possible by the members of the Minnesota Land Trust, with funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature and recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC), as well as support from Washington County and the voter-supported Washington County Land and Water Legacy program. Bob and Marilyn Rosenquist also deserve thanks for protecting this unique property forever.