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Monday
Oct202014

Blanding's turtle habitat now protected forever.

A new conservation easement protects 50 acres of wetland and over 700 feet of shoreline on Height of Land Lake in Becker County, an area targeted for conservation because of its importance to wetland wildlife habitat.

The prairie pothole lakes and associated rivers and wetlands in this landscape form the backbone of one of the continent’s most important flyways for migratory waterfowl.
 
Preservation of the land, located across the lake from Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, also provides a unique opportunity to protect part of a wetland complex that is home to Blanding's turtles and short-eared owls, as well as uplands which provide important habitat for migrating waterfowl, song birds and other wildlife.

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Wednesday
Aug202014

We're doing our part to get outdoors & have fun!

The Duluth News Tribune recently published a great story about our pilot program with the City of Duluth, with the goal of improving the city's recreation infrastructure. You can read more about this new initiative below, and you can read the article here.

Hansi Johnson, our new Director of Recreational Lands. Photo by Clint Austin, Duluth News Tribune.

Friday
Aug082014

Meet Our New Recreation Lands Program Director

We are piloting a new initiative to protect and promote nature-based recreational lands, including those essential for hiking, paddling, bird watching, trail running, skiing, mountain biking, and more.

Photo: Hansi JohnsonHansi Johnson of Duluth, a nationally-recognized expert in trail development and adventure sports, will spearhead this new program for the Minnesota Land Trust beginning September 2, 2014.

As Director of Recreational Lands, Hansi Johnson brings a wealth of experience and a passion for outdoor recreation to his new position, based in the Minnesota Land Trust’s Duluth office.

For the past five and a half years, Hansi was the Regional Director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), helping volunteer clubs such as the Duluth-based Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) work within their communities to create destination quality, sustainable, off road cycling trail experiences. 

You can read more about this exciting new initiative here.

Thursday
Jul242014

Wetland Habitat Protection Program Underway!

Undeveloped shoreline along Otter Lake provides important habitat and ecosystem services that are now protected for generations to come.Wetlands act as the “kidneys of the landscape,” filtering runoff that flows into lakes, streams, rivers, and underground aquifers. They also provide critical nesting and feeding habitat to many species and are a distinct feature of the Minnesota landscape. Yet the area that they cover in the state has been cut in half since pre-settlement. Wetland loss is particularly severe in the western, prairie-pothole region, where over 90% of wetlands are gone.

            The Minnesota Land Trust is working to combat wetland loss with its new and innovative Wetland Habitat Protection Plan. The program uses a market-based and cost-effective approach to acquire conservation easements from private landowners in the Prairie-Forest transition area in Central Minnesota. The project was made possible by grants from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the McKnight Foundation.

          One of the first project complexes under the Wetland Protection Program has been completed around Otter Tail Lake and Little Crow Lake in Lida and Dora Townships. The properties, which have been in landowner, Carol Kratzke’s family for decades, include sensitive shoreline, aquatic ecosystems, prairie, and hardwood forests that provide important habitat to a variety of plant and animal species, especially amphibians and migratory songbirds.

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