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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
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!

Monday
Oct012018

Protected land improves water quality in Hubbard County

Property photo trees and waterGary and Sandy Roerick have seen first hand the impact people can have on a landscape, first through Gary’s decades at the US Forest Service, and then as the stewards of a unique 80 acre piece of land in Hubbard County. Having managed and restored their land over the past 20 years, the Roerick’s recently protected it with a conservation easement through the Minnesota Land Trust, meaning it will stay in its natural state forever.

It all started 20 years ago, when the Roericks bought the property adjacent to the Lester Lake Scientific and Natural Area and Paul Bunyan State Forest. The forest features trees of varying ages, including some with fire scarring that could be over 200 years old. The cedar had regenerated in the 1950’s, and there was a deer wintering area on the property, which the DNR asked for help with the upkeep and feeding of. As Gary grew more involved in the maintenance of the property, he applied what he learned from his time as a land management practitioner at the Forest Service. He began thinning the trees, and restoring the land to the unique natural state. "We did plant surveys, and found all sorts of rare and unique plants that had moved in just since the clearing," says Gary. Thinning the forest not only was good for the trees on the property, but as sunlight began to creep in, so did new plants and animals. "It just triggered a whole new response."

Cutting aspen on the property led to beavers coming in to feed on new aspen saplings, and now there are 6 or 7 beavers dams on the property. A healthy white tail deer population has brought timberwolves as well, whose tracks can be seen crisscrossing in the snow in the winter. Finally, whole new plant communities have sprung up along the open areas and trails on the property, including a variety of orchids and some rare ferns.

"Cedar trees and orchids are now king on our rare and very unique Lester Lake property,” says Gary. “Conserving our land, trees, our very diverse plant communities and water is paramount for the future."

"Gary and Sandy have done an amazing job reviving this land, and showing how private landowners can play a big role in protecting the natural resources we all depend on and love" says Vanessa Perry, program manager for the Minnesota Land Trust. "We’ve worked closely with Gary to create a habitat management plan to make sure the hard work he's done in restoring this land is maintained. This property is at the head of the watershed that feeds Kabekona Lake, so protecting land and water quality is very important for the area."

Fire scarring on a treeBy protecting their land with a conservation easement the restoration work that Gary and Sandy have done will be protected from future development, and they retain ownership of the property. Beyond the immediate plants and animals on the land, protecting the property has real benefits for the water quality and plants and animals of greater Hubbard County as it connects to existing protected public properties.

“Protecting the water quality and natural areas of our state depends on the generous spirit of Minnesotans like Gary and Sandy Roerick, says Kris Larson, executive director of the Minnesota Land Trust. “By taking this important step to preserve this land forever, they are is ensuring that the natural systems they’ve brought back will continue to grow and thrive.”

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 Gary and Sandy Roerick who protected this unique property forever!