Search our site:

Give today and protect wildlife habitat forever

Include the Land Trust in your estate

Newsletter Sign-Up

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
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.

Monday
Oct082018

Protecting Winona’s water started with a rattle

The distinctive rattle of the timber rattler most times is a sign that you’re headed down the wrong path, but for Bill and Dawn Farrell of Winona County, that sound set them down a path that ended up with them creating a complex of protected lands for future generations. Recently the Farrell’s protected their land with a conservation easement through the Minnesota Land Trust, protecting it from development forever.

“It all started with me a few years ago,” says Bill. “I have a rattlesnake den on my property, so the DNR contacted me about protecting my land. I asked if I could invite some of my neighbors to talk about it, and in the last 10 years my neighbors have protected their land through the Land Trust. Took me longer to make up my mind, I guess!”

Photo by MN DNR.The Timber Rattlesnake is a threatened species in Minnesota, and one that relies on intact bluffland habitat to survive. The DNR has been working to identify sources of the snake to ensure it is protected as more and more of our bluffs are developed.

“Wildlife doesn’t know boundaries, so you can’t work in isolation,” says Jaime Edwards of the DNR who worked with Bill and his neighbors on protecting the timber rattler. “We were doing habitat work on Bill’s property, and the neighbors started seeing results and getting interested. So I put them in touch with the Minnesota Land Trust.”

Since that fateful meeting 10 years ago, hundreds of acres in the area have been protected through the Minnesota Land Trust, meaning a complex of protected lands has sprung up where there are few existing protected public and state lands.

But the Farrell property isn’t just important as wildlife habitat; it’s also the start of Looney Creek. “Protection of this whole watershed starts right there on Bill’s property,” says Jaime. “Being able to have protection on his land is pretty significant for water quality.”

Nick Bancks, program manager at the Minnesota Land Trust agrees. “This watershed protects drinking water for cities in the area like Winona and Houston, as well as important trout streams in the area. With the strong development pressures in the area, the time is now to protect this important resource for all of us.”

By protecting their land with a conservation easement, the property is still owned by each property owner, but future development is limited. Beyond their memories, protecting the property has real benefits for the water quality and plants and animals of greater Winona County.

“I hope that landowners realize that they can play a significant role in conservation, and that they don’t have to sell their land to the state for that, because there are other options for protection,” says Jaime. “This project provided us a unique opportunity to do some landscape-scale conservation, without public ownership. They’re having a big impact on the ground!”

This permanent conservation easement was made possible thanks to 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). Thank you to all our members and supporters, and most of all to Bill and Dawn Farrell who protected this unique property forever!