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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

Tuesday
Jan082019

Protecting our promise of perpetuity

Ruthann Yaeger has been a volunteer monitor for the Minnesota Land Trust for over a decade, going out annually to ensure that protected properties in the Rochester area were in good shape, and forging relationships with the owners over the years. Recently she decided to retire from volunteering, and shared her experiences with us.

Ruthann first became a monitor in 2008. While taking classes to become a master naturalist, she connected with an employee at the Land Trust who shared her experiences monitoring and convinced Ruthann to give it a try. Volunteer monitors visit properties protected by the Land Trust, talk with the owners about any changes, and document the current status of the property. It's a great way to get outside and see natural habitat across our state, while at the same time ensuring the integrity of natural lands in Minnesota!

As a Rochester resident, Ruthann started off by monitoring two properties in the area. She would continue to monitor those same properties over the course of her volunteer time at the Land Trust, seeing not just how they changed, but how the area around them became more developed and built out.

"Rochester is growing rapidly... spreading outwards and buying all this land. As it grows, it's growing around these protected properties, and that makes them even more precious," said Ruthann of the properties. First protected in 2005 and 2009, the properties had been far from the newest developments at the time. In 2019 though, development has crept ever closer, making their protection all the more important. Monitoring the same properties has also given Ruthann a unique perspective on how management and protection of land go hand in hand.

"When I first went up there it was all overgrown, but the Minnesota DNR recognized the potential for a restored oak savanna. We went out a few years later, and the whole savanna had been cleared - it was fantastic! A whole restored hillside with a savanna and beautiful old oak trees. They even found a little pond when they cleared the savannah - that's the kind of stuff that had been there all along."

After monitoring for over a decade, Ruthann decided to hang up her hat this spring. Her experiences and time on the land were inspiring, and she encourages anyone interested in volunteering to give monitoring a go.

"Anyone who really cares about the outdoors and preserving what we have - our heritage here in Minnesota - this is a good way to do it," said Ruthann. "It's really a privilege, and you get to see places you'd otherwise never get to!"

Thank you to Ruthann for your many years of volunteering, and to all of our volunteer monitors for all the work you do! Learn more about becoming a monitor at www.mnland.org/monitor/.

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.”