Hidden Pages

Sensitive Shoreline Protected from Development in Cass County

Like many scenic areas in Minnesota, development on One Lake, about seven miles northeast of Backus in Cass County, is exploding. Small lake cabins are being expanded and converted into winterized, year-round dwellings, and increasing numbers of vacation homes pop up along lake shores.

In the face of such changes, sensitive shorelines are impacted. Thanks to the Outdoor Heritage Fund and in partnership with the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation (LLAWF),the Minnesota Land Trust has protected 1,Undeveloped shoreline creates a much better environment for fish habitat, and improves lake water quality.521 feet of pristine sensitive shoreline on One Lake (also known as Sand Lake) in an effort to preserve the conservation and scenic values of the area.

The conservation agreement protects over 40 acres of woodlands, mixed northern hardwoods, and diverse wetland types interspersed with open grasslands. These natural terrestrial and aquatic communities provide significant habitat and foraging grounds for a large variety of plant and wildlife species, including black bears, bald eagles, common loons, red-necked grebes, and least darters. The easement also provides outstanding scenic views visible from highway 84.

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Unique Moose Lake Wildlife Habitat Preserved for Generations

Realizing a dream of creating a nature sanctuary along the busy I-35 corridor has been a bucket list item for Minnesota nature photographer Craig Blacklock and his wife Honey. For years, the Blacklocks have acquired acreage in the Moose Lake area with the intention of someday finding a permanent way to protect the land from development.  

Earlier this week, this dream became a reality on their land located in Carlton and Pine Counties. The beautiful photograph above was taken by Craig, and shows the extraordinary natural beauty and exceptional wildlife habitat found on the Blacklock property.

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A work in progress: Peregrine Falcon Chicks!

Each year, a nesting pair of peregrine falcons return to a safe and secure nest on the Mississippi River blufftops because the land is protected by the Howe family with a conservation easement held by the Minnesota Land Trust. (click on the space below to activate the live video cam)

In the next few weeks, chicks will hatch. Bob Anderson from the Raptor Resource Project will come to band the chicks so their progress can be tracked over the years.

The Howes tell us that they had received offers from developers - and why not? Their spectacular property overlooks the Mississippi River and is only a few minutes from LaCrescent: perfect for development.

But the family made a decision to value the wildlife above the significant monetary return they might have realized on their property.

We're grateful for their generosity, and we're grateful for the gifts of so many of our members who help to make projects like this one possible.

Your support makes a difference. Can you help?

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Investing in the Future of Wetlands

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. 

You can learn more here, and download an application here.