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Tuesday
Apr012014

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.

Monday
Mar242014

A Fond Farewell to Anne Murphy!

It's true, Conservation Stewardship Director Anne Murphy is leaving us this week to become the Executive Director of the Shasta Land Trust based in Redding, California. This is a growing land trust with over 20,000 acres already under protection in northern California.

Anne has been with the Minnesota Land Trust since 2009, and has organized and professionalized our conservation stewardship area into one that is a model for land trusts across the country.

Completing land protection projects is exciting, but everyone on our board and staff knows that it takes a special kind of person to manage the long term care and feeding of the 462 (and counting) easements now held by the Minnesota Land Trust.

Anne's exceptional organization skills and unwavering commitment to uphold the conservation values of each and every easement has laid the groundwork for protecting and preserving our treasured places long into the future.

Yes, that means our Lucy, Director of Cheerfulness will be leaving us as well. So, while we may be a little long in the face now and then, we couldn't be happier for Anne and wish her well on this exciting new leg of her conservation career.

Wednesday
Jan152014

Pine River easement protects nearly 4,000 feet of natural shoreline

Old cranberry bog with shallow water ideal for migratory and native birds.Glacial formations, old cranberry bogs, natural river shoreline and acres of wetland describe a recent Cass County easement which was donated by landowner David Heegaard.

Working with the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, the Minnesota Land Trust has permanently protected 160 acres of forest and wetlands which include nearly 4,000 feet of shoreline along the Pine River, a DNR designated state water trail.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec172013

New easement fills in crucial piece of habitat puzzle 

Just last week we completed easement number 458 - and it's a A series of ponds connect Lower Whitefish lake to Star Lake, location of a youth wilderness camp, filtering water as it goes.nice one for good, solid practical reasons, and also for a warm fuzzy reason.

First the practical reason: this easement functions as the missing puzzle piece between an easement that was completed last June on Whitefish Lake, and the Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area to the south. It creates a 175-acre oasis of undeveloped shoreline and natural area that is exactly perfect for the fox, black bear, otter, sharp-tail grouse and hooded merganser that live there.

Located on the very busy Whitefish Chain "My parents taught us to respect the natural ecosystems, maintain habitat for wildlife, and protect our water resources." Katy Uppgaard-Flaherty of Lakes, this easement includes over 500 feet of shoreline on Whitefish Lake, and another 3,500 on the neighboring ponds that connect Whitefish Lake to Star Lake, site of a wilderness youth camp to the south.

That gets us to the warm fuzzy reason. This easement represents three generations of Uppgaards who have generously donated land for the benefit of wildlife and their neighbors.

Click to read more ...