Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources


Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

M.L. 2008 Projects

M.L. 2008 Projects

MN Laws 2008, Chapter 367, Section 2 (beginning July 1, 2008)

NOTE: For all projects, contact us to obtain the most up-to-date work programs for current projects (project updates are required twice each year) or the final reports of completed projects.

The following documents are short abstracts for projects funded during the 2008 Legislative Session. The final date of completion for these projects is listed at the end of the abstract. When available, we have provided links to a project's web site. The sites linked to this page are not created, maintained, or endorsed by the LCCMR office or the Minnesota Legislature.

Subd. 03   Land and Habitat
Subd. 04   Water Resources
Subd. 05   Natural Resource Information
Subd. 06   Environmental Education
Subd. 07   Establishment of an Emerging Issues Account

Subd. 03   Land and Habitat
03aMetro Conservation Corridors (MeCC) - Phase IV
03bVermillion River Corridor Acquisition and Restoration in Dakota County
03cMinnesota's Habitat Conservation Partnership - Phase V
03dPreserving the Avon Hills Landscape
03eMinnesota River Valley Green Corridor Land Protection
03fScientific and Natural Area Acquisition
03gState Land Acquisition Consolidation
03hState Park and Trail Land Acquisition
03iMetropolitan Regional Park System Land Acquisition
03jLocal Initiative Grants - Regional Parks and Natural Areas
03kConservation Partners/Environmental Partnerships Matching Grant Program
03lCounty Trail Systems Design
03mAccelerated Prairie Management, Survey, Acquisition and Evaluation
03nPrairie Ecosystem Restoration
03oBest Practices for Native Prairie Management
03pImpacts of Climate Change and CO2 on Prairie and Forest Production - RESEARCH
03qBiofuel Production and Wildlife Conservation in Working Prairies - RESEARCH
Subd. 04   Water Resources
04aFuture of Energy and Minnesota Water Resources - RESEARCH
04bAccelerating Plans for Integrated Control of the Common Carp - RESEARCH
04cTesting Pesticides and Degradates in Public Drinking Water
04dAssessment of Riparian Buffers in the Whitewater River Watershed
04eIntra-Lake Zoning to Protect Sensitive Lakeshore Areas
04fNative Shoreland Buffer Incentives Program
04gSoutheast Minnesota Stream Restoration Projects
04hSouth-Central MN Groundwater Monitoring and County Geologic Atlases
04iLake Superior Research - RESEARCH
Subd. 05   Natural Resource Information
05aUpdating the National Wetlands Inventory for Minnesota
05bSoil Survey
05cUpdating Precipitation Intensities for Runoff Estimation and Infrastructure Designs
05dThe Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas
05eRestorable Wetlands Inventory
05fWildlife Disease Data Surveillance and Analysis - RESEARCH
05gConservation Easement Stewardship, Oversight and Maintenance
05hConservation Easement Stewardship and Enforcement Program Plan
Subd. 06   Environmental Education
06aWaters of Minnesota Documentary on Watersheds
06bGlobal Warming - Reducing Carbon Footprint of Minnesota Schools
Subd. 7   Establishment of an Emerging Issues Account

Funding Sources: (**note: all projects are TF, unless otherwise noted)
Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (TF)
Great Lakes Protection Account (GLPA)

Subd. 03  Land and Habitat

Back to top of page

Metro Conservation Corridors (MeCC) - Phase IV
Subd. 03a      $3,150,000

Sarah Strommen
Minnesota Land Trust
2356 University Avenue West, Suite 240
St. Paul, MN 55114

Phone:  (651) 647-9769
Email:  sstrommen@mnland.org
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/metroconservationcorridors/index.html

During the fourth phase of the Metro Corridors project, the Metro Conservation Corridors Partners continued their work to accelerate protection and restoration of remaining high-quality natural lands in the greater Twin Cities Metropolitan Area by strategically coordinating and focusing conservation efforts within a connected and scientifically-identified network of critical lands. This corridor network stretches from the area's urban core to its rural perimeter, including portions of 16 counties.

The Partners employed a multi-faceted approach, which included accomplishments in four specific result areas:

  1. Partnership and Program Coordination: Partners met quarterly to review project accomplishments and coordinate activity. With DNR support, the partners also continued efforts to develop an online database to facilitate tracking and reporting of MeCC projects over time.
  2. Restore and Enhance Significant Habitat: Collectively, the partners restored 775 acres of land. Restoration of an additional 464 acres and 0.06 miles of shoreline was completed using other funds.
  3. Acquire Significant Habitat: Collectively the partners protected 1,183 acres of land, including more than 4 miles of shoreline through acquisition of fee title and conservation easements and leveraged an additional 773 acres of land and more than 5 miles of shoreline using other funds.
  4. Other Conservation Tools and Incentives: The Metro Greenways Program assisted three cities, two soil & water conservation districts, and one county with the development and gathering of natural resources information to identify sites for protection or restoration and/or to implement conservation measures.

Since 2003, MeCC partners have protected more than 8,000 acres and restored more than 6,500 acres. These strategic and coordinated efforts address a number of recommendations of the Statewide Conservation and Preservation Plan, including protecting priority land habitats, protecting critical shorelands of streams and lakes, restoring land, wetlands, and wetland-associated watersheds, and improving connectivity and access to outdoor recreation.

As projects were completed, the individual partners were encouraged to publicize accomplishments through press releases, organization newsletters and websites. These efforts resulted in information being distributed to the public through websites, email lists, daily and weekly newspapers, newsletters, and other print materials. Additionally, once the MeCC database development is complete, the partnership plans to incorporate a public web portal, which will display accomplishments.


Abstracts and Reports of Individual Partner Projects

    1.1   Overall Summary and Coordination and Administration of MeCC Partnership (DNR)
    2.1   Restore/Enhance Significant Watershed Habitat (Friends of the Mississippi River)
    2.2   Lower Minnesota River Watershed Restoration & Enhancement Project (Friends of Minnesota Valley)
    2.3   Restore and Enhance Significant Habitat (Great River Greening)
    2.4   Metro Greenways Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Grants (DNR)
    2.5   Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) Restoration and Enhancement (DNR)
    3.1   Critical Lands Protection Program - Fee Title & Conservation Easement Acquisition (Trust for Public Land)
    3.2   Protecting Significant Habitat by Acquiring Conservation Easements (Minnesota Land Trust)
    3.3   Fee Acquisition for Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust)
    3.4   Metro Greenways Habitat Acquisition (DNR)
    3.5   DNR Fish and Wildlife Acquisition (DNR)
    3.6   Acquisition of Significant Habitat (DNR)
    4.1   Metro Greenways Community Conservation Assistance Grants (DNR)

Project completed: 06/30/2010

Back to top of page

Vermillion River Corridor Acquisition and Restoration in Dakota County
Subd. 03b      $400,000

Alan Singer
Dakota County
14955 Galaxie Ave
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Phone:  (952) 891-7001
Email:  al.singer@co.dakota.mn.us
Fax:  (952) 891-7031
Web:  http://www.co.dakota.mn.us

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Vermillion River, a designated trout stream, flows through four cities and five rural townships starting in Scott County and running through Dakota County. The existing watershed plan, like most other comparable plans, identified and addressed water quality issues, but recommended and required that management efforts do not include corridor-related wildlife habitat protection and restoration, or recreational use and conflicts.

The new Vermillion River Corridor Plan developed with these funds establishes a vision and philosophy for the corridor along the main stem and primary tributaries of the Vermillion River from New Market Township in Scott County to Vermillion Falls in Hastings. It is based on integrating multiple benefits: environmental (water quality and upland habitat), social (recreation), and economic (sustainable high-quality places to live and work). The plan creates a foundation for coordinating and prioritizing funding, implementation and management. The plan also includes the "Vermillion River Corridor Handbook", a searchable, online Best Management Practices tool intended for use by a broad audience. The tool includes practices indexed by primary benefits (water quality, habitat, and recreation) and by the predominant landscape type of interest to the user (urban, rural, and developing). Information on and links to potential funding sources and technical information is included. The plan, process, and products were designed to be replicable.

The corridor plan also creates the framework for initiating a comprehensive riparian buffers initiative throughout Dakota County. An 800-point criteria system that includes water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation, financial, and other considerations was developed to evaluate and select future land protection projects. An innovative system for determining financial value for corridor buffer easements based on land cover/use types was developed.

The plan and resulting selection system resulted in the acquisition of a 193-acre permanent conservation easement that protects the headwaters of South Branch of the Vermillion River, a very high quality restored prairie, and a network of trails open to the public.

Project Results Use and Dissemination As the project transitioned from planning to implementation, information has been shared with the general public through various venues and media forms. See the Final Report, Section VII "Dissemination" for more information.

Project Publications:
Vermillion River Corridor Plan: Improving Water Quality, Habitat, and Recreation (PDF - 13.2 MB)
Vermillion River Corridor Handbook (Web-based)


Project completed:  6/30/2011

Back to top of page

Minnesota's Habitat Corridors Partnership - Phase V
Subd. 03c      $3,150,000

Joe Pavelko
Pheasants Forever, Inc
7975 Acorn Circle
Victoria, MN 55386

Phone:   (612) 532-3800
Email:  jpavelko@pheasantsforever.org
Web:  http://www.mnhabitatcorridors.org

Overall Project Outcome and Results
During the period between July 1st, 2008 and June 30th, 2010, Minnesota's Habitat Conservation Partnership (HCP) collectively expended $3,100,005 of Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) dollars to restore, enhance, or protect 8,143 acres of habitat and 199,832 feet of shoreline and riparian areas. Additionally, HCP used these funds to leverage an additional $6,607,398 of other non-state funds to restore, enhance, or protect 8,423 acres of habitat and 23,585 feet of shoreline and riparian areas. In total, HCP expended $11,877,328 to restore, enhance or protect a total of 17,397 acres of habitat and 152,780 feet of shoreline and riparian areas within the defined HCP project areas.

Partners expended a total of $1,926,055 ($1,140,480 ENRTF; $785,575 other non-state funds) to restore/enhance a total of 9,081 acres (7,244 acres ENRTF; 1,837 other non-state funds). Work included 5,230 acres of grassland restoration/enhancement, 3,054 acres of wetland restoration/enhancement, 185 acres of woodland restoration, 27,380 feet of shoreline restoration, & 200 acres of wild rice restoration. Other accomplishments included shallow lake surveys, dam modifications, and site access/development.

Partners expended a total of $7,484,898 ($877,500 ENRTF; $6,607,398 other non-state funds) to acquire 6,951 acres (616 acres ENRTF; 6,335 acres other non-state funds) of perpetual conservation easements. Grassland/wetlands continued to be a priority for HCP partners working on easements, with 6,152 acres protected. Shoreline/riparian areas were also a priority with almost 32,000 feet protected. In addition, 504 acres of woodland was also permanently protected.

Partners expended a total of $1,868,112 ($994,985 ENRTF; $873,127 other funds) to permanently protect 560 acres (309 acres ENRTF; 251 acres other non-state funds) in fee-title acquisition. HCP achieved 290 acres of new WMAs, 66 acres of AMAs, 124 acres of SNAs, and 80 acres of WPAs. Additionally, almost 10,000 feet of shoreline/riparian areas were protected.

For complete information, go to http://www.mnhabitatcorridors.org.

HCP Partners included: Ducks Unlimited, Fond du Lac Reservation, Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, MN Board of Water and Soil Resources, MN Deer Hunters Association, MN Department of Natural Resources, MN Land Trust, MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Project Results Use and Dissemination The partnership acknowledges funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Accomplishment report information, mapping products, and project information can be found at http://www.mnhabitatcorridors.org. Other forms of information can be obtained by contacting Joe Pavelko, the HCP Coordinator, at (612) 532-3800.


Abstracts and Reports of Individual Partner Projects

    0x     Overall Summary of HCP - Phase IV
    1a     Project Coordination and Mapping (Pheasants Forever)
    2a     Hides for Habitat Restoration (Minnesota Deer Hunter Association)
    2b     Partners for Fish and Wildlife (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
    2c     Living Lakes Enhancement (Ducks Unlimited)
    2d     Shallow Lakes Assessment and Management (DNR)
    2e*   Fond du Lac - Wild Rice Habitat Restoration (Fon du Lac Band of Chippewa) [*Dollars turned back; no expenditure. No Final Report.]
    2f     Habitat Enhancement on Shallow Lakes and Forested Impoundments (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe)
    2g     Wildlife Areas Management (DNR)
    2h     Fish Habitat Restoration (DNR)
    2i      Set out Seedlings (National Wild Turkey Federation)
    2j      Lakescaping (DNR)
    2k     Prairie Management (DNR)
    2n     Campaign for Conservation (The Nature Conservancy)
    2o     Working Lands Partnership (Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District)
    2p     Bluffland Restoration (National Wild Turkey Federation)
    3a     Shorelands Protection Program (Minnesota Land Trust)
    3c     Living Lakes Enhancements (Ducks Unlimited)
    3d     Wetlands Reserve Program (Ducks Unlimited and U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service)
    3e     RIM Reserve (BWSR)
    4a     Critical Lands Conservation Initiative (Pheasants Forever)
    4b     Fisheries and Widlife Acquisition (DNR)
    4c     Critical Lands Protection Program (Trust for Public Land)
    4h     Habitat Acquisition for Minnesota Valley Wetland Management District of USFWS (Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust)
    4i      Habitat Acquisition - Professional Services (DNR)

Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Preserving the Avon Hills Landscape
Subd. 03d      $337,000

Thomas Kroll
Saint Johns Arboretum and University
Box 3000
Collegeville, MN 56321

Phone:  (320) 363-3163
Email:  tkroll@csbsju.edu
Fax:  (320) 363-3202
Web:  http://www.csbsju.edu/arboretum/avonhills

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Avon Hills Initiative is a group of local citizens interested in preserving the rural nature of the 50,000 acre Avon Hills 15 miles west of St. Cloud. The group helped steer this project made possible with Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund support. Saint John's provided the staff and fiscal support. This project had three goals:

1. Increase the level of interest and understanding of all citizens and landowners interested in the Avon Hills, mostly through conferences. Outcome: Three day-long conferences were held with nearly 900 total attendees indicating very strong local support.

2. Negotiate and complete acquisition of permanent conservation easements. Outcome: Six conservation easements totaling 400 high quality forest, wetland, and grassland acres in Stearns County were successfully enacted. Two of the easements, totaling 99 acres, were purchased, and four of the easements, totaling 301 acres, were donated by the landowners. These acres contain a total of more than two miles of shoreline on streams, ponds, and lakes, and provide habitat to a variety of species, including several of greatest conservation need. Additionally, through this process we tested a new method for prioritizing and acquiring easements for the best value. Called MMAPLE, the Minnesota Multi-faceted Approach for Prioritizing Land Easements, the system weighs the measurable environmental benefits against the cost that the current landowner wants to provide a permanent easement on that land. Using sealed bids, each landowner chooses their own price which results in lower costs and fewer complaints from landowners and taxpayers about the "fairness" or "price" of the easement process.

3. Provide support for township and county officials to review and change zoning and ordinances that impeded protection of the open space. Outcome: Two "conservation design" conferences for officials and the public as well as reviews of the existing ordinances by professionals resulted in positive feedback from the participants. This gradual education helped create sufficient support for Stearns County to pass a land-use ordinance that requires new housing developments in the Avon Hills to permanently preserve at least 80% of the land. This is believed to be the highest standard in the United States.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The success of the land use concepts used in the Avon Hills of Stearns County to preserve open space and working forests and farms has been disseminated in a variety of ways. Staff, officials, and citizens have been asked to discuss the concepts with neighboring county officials and at professional meetings.

Todd County, a neighboring county, sent several officials to the land use conferences and has gradually begun to implement similar practices in their county.

The MMAPLE method developed under this grant is being used to apply for a Outdoor Heritage Fund grant for more easements.


Project completed:  6/30/2011

Back to top of page

Minnesota River Valley Green Corridor Land Protection
Subd. 03e      $1,000,000

Nancy Fasching
Southwest Initiative Foundation
PO Box 428
Hutchinson, MN 55350

Phone:  (320) 587-4848
Email:  nancyf@swifoundation.org
Fax:  (320) 587-3838
Web:  http://www.swifoundation.org

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Green Corridor Legacy Program will provide Minnesotans public access to high quality game and wildlife habitat through a multi-year land acquisition plan.

The initial phase of this project included:

  • Acquisition of 249.23 acres of easement free fee-title acquisition conservation lands from willing sellers. This program acquired land from willing and supportive landowners. The land is purchased and then transferred to the DNR for long-term habitat conservation, outdoor recreational access, sustainability, and monitoring. These properties include the Whispering Ridge Aquatic Management Area in Redwood County (182.87 acres), Beaver Falls Aquatic Management Area in Renville County (6.6 acres), and two additions to Fort Ridgely State Park in Renville County (29.85 acres and 30 acres).
  • Development of a conservation plan guidance document that insures both the natural resources and the natural history of this corridor are restored, conserved, protected and utilized in manners that balance the ecological, cultural, socio-economic and recreational needs of today, while preserving these resources for future generations.
  • Organization of a variety of stakeholders into a working partnership team committed to the vision for a Green Corridor in the Minnesota River Valley.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Results from this project have been disseminated as follows:

  • The conservation plan will be used to guide and vet proposed acquisitions by Green Corridor, Inc.
  • More importantly, the plan will be used as a key decision support system by a wide variety of conservation partners and stakeholders within the project area to craft and implement a conservation and economic vision for the project area.
  • The plan will be disseminated principally through the web, but is also available in limited numbers via CD and hard copy format. In the near future, once the new Tatanka Bluff Council website is fully operational, a recap of these FY08 ENRTF appropriation accomplishments will be posted on this website under the "Green Corridor" icon tab. The website will ask viewers for comments and feedback concerning the various strategies and outcomes related to this project and the Conservation Plan. The project will also served as a cornerstone for future funding requests to the LCCMR and from the Outdoor Heritage Fund.

The communications and outreach activities that have been done for the Minnesota River Valley Green Corridor Project include:

  • The plan has been adopted by Green Corridor, Inc. as its conservation vision for the Middle Minnesota Valley.
  • The final plan was presented to the public on May 6th, 2010 at the Tatanka Bluffs Council annual meeting at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls MN.
  • The conservation plan entitled, "Conservation in the Middle Minnesota Valley: A Blueprint and Action Plan" was produced in hard copy, CD and web format. The product will be available via the following web sites: Green Corridor, Inc. (www.tatankabluffs.com) and Great River Greening (www.greatrivergreening.org).
  • Since the start of this project in the summer of 2008 numerous meetings, public forums, and media outreach activities have taken place that have illustrated the intended outcomes, accomplishments, and public benefits of this appropriation.

Project Publication:
Conservation in the Middle Minnesota Valley: A Blueprint and Action Plan (PDF - 14.6 MB)


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Scientific and Natural Area Acquisition
Subd. 03f      $1,000,000

Peggy Booth
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5088
Email:  peggy.booth@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-1811
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) dollars from this appropriation contributed toward the acquisition of six sites protecting a total of 673 acres (211.3 acres using ENRTF dollars; 461.7 acres using other funds) with rare features and native plant communities. These acquisitions resulted in three new Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) units within the State Outdoor Recreation System - Chimney Rock SNA (Dakota County), Clinton Falls Dwarf Trout Lily SNA (Steele County), and Lester Lake SNA (Hubbard County) - plus additions to three existing SNAs - Franconia Bluffs SNA (Chisago County), Lake Alexander Woods SNA (Morrison County), and St. Wendel Tamarack Bog SNA (Stearns County).

About the sites:

  • The 77-acre new Chimney Rock SNA acquisition included a landowner donation and funding from Dakota County and the Department's rare species mitigation funds (pro-rated at 44.6 acres for this appropriation). Chimney Rock SNA is named for its unique geological feature of statewide significance and contains four rare plant species.
  • The 21-acre Clinton Falls Dwarf Trout Lily SNA contains the world's largest population of the Minnesota endemic species of dwarf trout lily which straddles and is riparian to the Straight River.
  • The new 440-acre Lester Lake site - jointly managed as an SNA and an Aquatic Management Area (320 acres designated as SNA and 120 acres designated as AMA) - was acquired through the Trust for Public Land with funding support from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, Kabekona Lake Association and Foundation, and Reinvest in Minnesota (pro-rated at 30.3 ENRTF acres for this appropriation). This site fully contains the undisturbed 70-acre Lester Lake, forested and sedge meadow native plant communities, and habitat for state special concern red-shouldered hawk and white adder's mouth orchid.
  • Additions to existing SNAs include various native forest communities at the 35-acre Franconia Bluffs SNA, Parcel 2 (prorated at approximately 15.4 acres ENRTF), a 40-acre addition to Lake Alexander Woods SNA, and a 60-acre addition to the St. Wendel Tamarack Bog.


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

State Land Acquisition Consolidation
Subd. 03g      $500,000

Craig Engwall
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
1201 E Hwy 3
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Phone:  (218) 999-7913
Email:  craig.engwall@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (218) 327-4263
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The goal of a land consolidation revolving fund was, and is, to enable Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to purchase lands of significant natural resource value adjacent to, or imbedded within, lands that are already managed by public agencies. Many of these purchases are likely to be private, industrial forest lands that would otherwise be subdivided and sold for development. At the same time, the DNR would sell parcels of state-owned land that are isolated and difficult to manage from a resource or public benefit standpoint. The proceeds from the sale of these parcels would go back into the land consolidation revolving fund. By strategically purchasing and selling parcels through this fund, the state could achieve a net gain from both a natural resource and economic perspective.

The appropriation for this project enabled DNR to purchase five parcels in Koochiching County and two parcels in Itasca County, totaling 800 acres. These were key acquisitions as each one was selected because it either was a sole private parcel imbedded in tens of thousands of acres of public ownership, or it was adjacent to DNR managed lands and would enhance that management and provide natural resource benefits. Development or subdivision of these parcels would create fragmentation and potentially hinder forest management activities on adjacent lands.

On the sale side, results were not as successful. DNR identified six parcels in the project area for potential sale, but did not succeed in selling any of them. We learned from this project that the geographic scope of this project was too small. The vast majority of the land in the project area (well over 90%) is state trust fund land and the proceeds of sales from these lands must go to the corpus of the school trust fund and not the revolving account. Had the project been broadened to include some northwestern Minnesota counties, where there are significantly more acquired lands, the project would have had more success. On a positive note, DNR has statutory authority to continue the purpose of this project statewide and will do so. We will continue to provide LCCMR updates on our work in this area.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The State Land Acquisition Consolidation project information has been disseminated to DNR staff who manage lands in the project area, as well as county land departments and county commissioners in Koochiching and Itasca counties.

As stated above, we were in regular contact with the counties. We also have communicated with third party non-profits such as The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Lands, and The Conservation Fund.


Project completed:  6/30/2012

Back to top of page

State Park and Trail Land Acquisition
Subd. 03h      $1,500,000

Larry Peterson (Parks) and Stan Linnell (Trails)
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  Larry Peterson: (651) 259-5593; Stan Linnell: 651) 259-5626
Email:  larry.peterson@state.mn.us and stan.linnell@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-6532 [Parks]; (651) 297-5475 (Trails)
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Trust Fund funding allowed for the following State Parks and State Trails land acquisition projects:

  • Ownership of approximately 158 acres currently for sale adjacent to Monson Lake State Park. Adding this parcel will provide additional access to a high quality lake and is adjacent to state park ownership.
  • Ownership of approximately 360 acres at George Crosby Manitou State Park. Acquisition of this parcel will provide protection to one of the largest and highest quality old-growth northern hardwood forest complexes in the Lake Superior Highlands.
  • The DNR Parks and Trails Division made offers to acquire four parcels of land for the Mill Towns State Trail that were rejected by the landowners at the end of June 2010. An Amendment request to transfer the remaining funds to Result 5-acquisition of approximately 1.25 miles of Paul Bunyan State Trail was approved on August 17, 2010.
  • The DNR Parks and Trails Division made offers to acquire one parcel in Maplewood State Park that was rejected by the landowner at the end of June 2010.
  • Ownership of approximately 1.25 miles of the Paul Bunyan State Trail. The property acquired is comprised entirely of former industrial property and is located adjacent to the shoreline of Lake Bemidji. This acquisition is partially funded through LCCMR and provides for State ownership of a significant segment of the remaining authorized Paul Bunyan State Trail. The acquired trail segment is to be constructed during 2011. Additional funding through Capital Bonding (2005 and 2006) and 2009 LCCMR was also used for this project.

See map in final report for locations.

All acquisitions are from willing sellers, within the statutory boundaries of state parks and for statutory authorized state trails as determined by the Commissioner.


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Metropolitan Regional Park System Land Acquisition
Subd. 03i      $1,500,000

Arne Stefferud
Metropolitan Council
390 N Robert St
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone:  (651) 602-1360
Email:  arne.stefferud@metc.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 602-1467
Web:  http://www.metrocouncil.org

Overall Project Outcome and Results
This $1.5 million appropriation leveraged a total of $1,833,241 of other funds to acquire 66.7 acres for the Metropolitan Regional Park System as follows:

  • 0.5 acres including shoreline of the Mississippi River for Above the Falls Regional Park in Minneapolis (Grant SG-2008-143: $81,392 Environment Trust Funds and $54,261 Metro Council bonds, and matched with $45,216 of Minneapolis Park & Rec. Board funds for a total of $180,870).
  • 9.42 acres along Rush Creek for Rush Creek Regional Trail managed by Three Rivers Park District in suburban Hennepin County (Grant SG-2009-021: $244,440 Environment Trust Funds and $152,528 Metro Council bonds, and matched with $132,233 of Three Rivers Park District funds for a total of $529,200).
  • 8.89 acres including shoreline of Schulz Lake for Carver Park Reserve, managed by Three Rivers Park District in Carver County (Grant SG-2009-059: $431,640 Environment Trust Funds and $287,760 Metro Council bonds, and matched with $239,800 Three Rivers Park District funds for a total of $959,200).
  • 8.12 acres including shoreline of Cedar Lake for Cedar Lake Farm in Scott County (Grant SG-2009-062: $221,810 Environment Trust Funds and $147,873 Metro Council bonds, and matched with $123,228 of Scott County funds for a total of $492,911).
  • 38 acres including shoreline of the Mississippi River for Grey Cloud Island Regional Park in Washington County (Grant SG-2010-045: $445,455 Environment Trust Funds, and $296,970 Metro Council bonds, and matched with $247,475 of Washington County funds for a total of $989,900).
  • 1.8 acres including shoreline of the St. Croix River for the St. Croix Valley Regional Trail in Washington County (Grant SG-2010-052: $75,263 Environment Trust Funds and $60,608 Metro Council bonds, and matched with $45,290 of Washington County funds for a total of $181,161).

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Each regional park agency that received a grant or grants from this appropriation informs the public about the land acquisition with its own website and news releases. The Metropolitan Council also publishes a "Regional Parks Directory and Map" that informs the public about the recreation activities available at each regional park and trail and includes website addresses and phone numbers for each park agency for more information. Finally, the Metropolitan Council's website includes an interactive parks map that contains the same information as the paper version of the "Regional Parks Directory and Map" at http://www.metrocouncil.org/parks/r-pk-map.htm.


Project completed:  6/30/2011

Back to top of page

Local Initiative Grants - Regional Parks and Natural Areas
Subd. 03j      $1,000,000

Wayne Sames
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 259-5559
Email:   wayne.sames@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:   (651) 296-6047
Web:   http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Co- Project Manager:
Marc Mattice
Wright County Parks
1901 Highway 25 North
Buffalo, MN 55313

Phone:   (763) 682-7693
Email:   marc.mattice@co.wright.mn.us
Fax:   (763) 682-7313
Web:   http://www.co.wright.mn.us/department/parks/

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The first phase of acquisition for the proposed regional park on the Bertram Chain of Lakes in Wright County was completed in December 2008 with the acquisition of 319 acres having a total purchase price of $3.6 million. This land will form the nucleus of a new regional park that, when acquisition is completed, will total approximately 1,200 acres. A map showing the area acquired is included in the final report. The lake shore acquired through this first phase, including shore land on one of the largest of the chain of lakes (Long Lake), totals 6,279 linear feet.

This is the first of a series of acquisitions for the Bertram Chain of Lakes project. Wright County and the City of Monticello have a MOU with the YMCA of Minneapolis, owner of the property, until 12-31-2013 to complete the entire purchase. Funding for this first phase includes the $1 million appropriated through this subdivision as well as $200,000 from a grant through the Metro Greenways program.

The goal is to complete acquisition of the entire 1,200 acres (approximately 200 acres of lakes and 1,000 acres of land), including four undeveloped lakes (consisting of 5.75 miles of shore land and 1.5 miles of streams) in Wright County (Monticello Township/Monticello City). The land will be used for the preservation and protection of shore land, open space, natural resources and access for public recreation and enjoyment.

Project Results and Dissemination
Several site tours of the proposed park property have been conducted by Wright County and the City of Monticello for legislators, state and local government staff and officials, and other interested individuals. Background information, photos and maps have been disseminated to explain the proposed project and illustrate the features of the landscape.


Project completed:  2/02/2009

Back to top of page

Conservation Partners/Environmental Partnerships Matching Grant Program
Subd. 03k      $150,000

Wayne Sames
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 10
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5559
Email:  wayne.sames@state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-6047
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/habitat/env_cons_part.html

Overall Project Outcome and Results
A total of seven projects were completed for a total grant amount of $123,000. Five Conservation Partners habitat projects were completed for $87,000. The projects included reforestation and invasive species removal in Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park; improving the aquatic ecology of a 130 acre shallow lake in Kandiyohi County; restoration of 1,300 feet of Minnesota River shoreline in Mankato; a 15 acre restoration of prairie, savanna and wetland in Ramsey County; and implementation of several lake shore conservation projects in Stearns County.

Two Environmental Partnership projects were completed for $36,000. The projects involved implementation of innovative storm water management and interpretation at Square lake Regional Park and demonstration of innovative storm water management practices with environmental interpretation by the Washington County Conservation District.

Two projects originally awarded grants were withdrawn by the applicants.

Administration of the grants was completed by DNR local grants staff for a total of $10,000. A summary of the funded projects is attached.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Grant recipients are required to submit a final report on the project to the DNR. This information is maintained in the project file and is available on request. Some projects involve the development of informational signing, brochures, booklets, etc., that are made available to the public.


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

County Trail System Design
Subd. 03l      $175,000

Mary Vogel
University of Minnesota
151 Rapson Hall
89 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (612) 626-7417
Email:  vogel001@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 626-7424
Web:  http://ccl.design.umn.edu/

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Using a publicly engaged process involving citizens, county trail committees, local officials, and trail users, and building on the Center's previous state trail work, the Center for Changing Landscapes created designs/plans for individual county trail systems in Brown, Lyon, Redwood, and Renville Counties. While celebrating the region's and each county's environmental and cultural assets, the county-wide, community, district, and site scale plans/designs link the counties and the communities within them and connect to the existing city trails and the authorized state trails.

Project Goals:

  • Create county trail plans/designs that promote recreation and environmental awareness and stewardship by addressing issues of environmental type, quality, and preservation along trail corridors and in the larger trail landscapes by preserving, enhancing, and interpreting natural and cultural landscape systems and features;
  • Leverage the effectiveness of existing and planned recreational, natural, and cultural assets such as parks, trails, historic sites, conservation lands;
  • Create community and county consensus around trail opportunities; and
  • Create plans/designs for use to empower county trail funding from local and other sources.

Project Products:

  • Community-focused and county-wide trail discussions: local input and critiques of plans/designs were given in over 25 public meetings with trail committees, citizens, and local officials;
  • A printed and digital report that includes analyses of the landscape of the region and the four counties; 4 county trail system plans/designs; 49 county system routes through individual communities; 54 community trailhead locations; 19 community trailhead designs; 5 trailhead & special place designs; 5 county park trailhead designs; 4 signature element package that brand each county trail: logos, signs, kiosks, and rest areas; and a plan/design for the Chief Sleepy Eye Spur.
  • Over 60 display boards of trail work for trail committee and larger public meetings
  • Power point presentations for committee and public meetings

Plans are available for download at http://ccl.design.umn.edu/publications.html

Project Results Use & Dissemination

  • Local media have publicized project meetings and the work. There have been newspaper articles, newsletter articles, radio interviews, and website postings.
  • The plans/designs have been presented to and discussions held with county trail committees, park committees, city councils, and county boards.
  • Plans/designs for Chief Sleepy Eye Spur were presented to the Minnesota Senate's Capitol Investment Committee and the House's Capitol Investment Finance Division.
  • The work has been adopted including in the newly updated Southwestern Trail Plan and Lyon County's trail plan in its comprehensive plan.
  • Plans are being made for a public meeting in September that will roll out all of the work in the four counties and set the stage for cooperation among the counties and for the development of a coordinated implementation strategy.
  • Project results distributed to each county in both printed and digital form for their use and posted on LCCMR's and the Center for Changing Landscape's websites.


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Accelerated Prairie Management, Survey, Acquisition and Evaluation
Subd. 03m      $1,250,000

Carmen Converse
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5083
Email:  carmen.converse@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  651) 296-1811
Web:  http://dnr.state.mn.us/eco

Overall Project Outcome and Results (includes Use and Dissemination)
Minnesota's native prairie covered about 18 million acres at the time of the public land surveys (1847-1908); currently less than one percent remains. This multi-faceted prairie project was designed to increase conservation of native prairie and provide tools for long-term management and assessment of this rare resource. Project results addressed:

  1. Rapid assessment of remaining native prairie;
  2. Completion of the Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS) in six prairie counties;
  3. Increased technical assistance to private prairie landowners;
  4. Acceleration of management of public and private prairie lands;
  5. Establishment of a baseline dataset for long-term status trend monitoring and analysis;
  6. Acquisition of prairie bank easements.

1) Rapid Assessment: The effectiveness of a computerized procedure to detect changes in mapped prairies was explored in this result. Detailed feature extraction, segmentation, and change analysis procedures using the SPRING software was completed for 1,521 prairie/savanna sites identified by the MCBS prior to 1994. The total area assessed included 65,444 acres of prairie/savanna habitat in 32 counties and over 192,000 acres of surrounding "buffer" area. Statewide, the prairie habitat examined had a 4% change affecting 2,332 acres from 1991 to 2008. Prairie habitat outside of protected areas had significantly higher amounts of prairie loss or woody vegetation encroachment. A separate report, Accelerated prairie management, survey, acquisition and evaluation result 1: Rapid assessment of remaining native prairie was completed.

2) MCBS completed surveys in six counties. Less than 1,700 acres of prairie in these counties was recorded as compared to approximately 2,053,300 acres recorded in the late 1800's. The rarity of prairie species is largely due to prairie habitat loss and fragmentation. Rare plant populations were recorded at 281 new locations, including new distributional data on species such as Wild quinine and Valerian. Vegetation samples (relevés) were collected at 26 locations. A State Wildlife Grant for concurrent animal surveys resulted in 70 new records. Sites of high biodiversity significance such as the 15 acre Dexter Prairie were identified for protection as natural areas.

3) Technical assistance: DNR prairie specialists provided consultation regarding management and protection strategies for native prairies at eight public events and individually to 63 private landowners. Forty prairie stewardship plans were delivered to landowners.

4) Management: The Scientific and Natural Area program (SNA) prairie management activities resulted in 545 acres of woody plant removal, 2085 acres of prescribed burning, 2162 acres of exotic species treatments, and 84.5 acres of prairie reconstruction.

5) Status Trend Monitoring: A total of 683 vegetation transects, 42 relevés, and 1596 bird point counts were completed at 38 sites containing high quality prairie providing a baseline dataset for future proposed long-term monitoring and analysis on at least 35 sites. A separate report, Accelerated prairie management, survey, acquisition and evaluation result 5: Prairie monitoring and evaluation was completed.

6) Protection: SNA protected high quality prairies in Big Stone, Pipestone, Goodhue, and Fillmore counties through acquisition of five Native Prairie Bank conservation easements (totaling 476.2 acres) that provide habitat for species such as Greater Prairie Chicken, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Prairie bush clover and Plains wild indigo.


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Prairie Ecosystem Restoration
Subd. 03n      $80,000

Rich Perrine
Martin Soil and Water Conservation District
923 N State St, Ste 170
Fairmont, MN 56031

Phone:  (507) 235-6680
Email:  richard.perrine@mn.nacdnet.net
Fax:  (507) 235-8171
Web:  http://www.martinswcd.net

Overall Project Outcome and Results
31 prairie remnant owners gave written permission to collect native plant materials from their property. 18 Township Boards gave permission for the collection of native plant materials from township road right-of-ways. The Martin County Board of Commissioners granted permission to collect native plant materials from county road right-of-ways and native populations within county parks.

MCIA inspected nearly 700 acres on 28 collection sites and 578 acres on 23 planting sites. MCIA was contracted to perform site inspections, identification and verification of native species in order for the seeds collected to maintain their "Yellow Tag" eligibility.

Two interns hired in 2008 to assist with project implementation, secured permission and started the seed collection. In June, 2009 four interns were hired and they immediately went to work learning plant and seed identification and seed stratification requirements. Daily tasks included identifying and monitoring prairie remnants and sites with local ecotype native species, planting trays, using GPS to mark species locations, placing no mow and/or no spray signs in selected ditches, shelling and cataloguing seed types and amounts collected. Of the 104 different local ecotype native species collected, we consider at least 34 species to be at-risk for further decline.

As time ran out for the planting phase of the project, seed, rootstocks and cuttings from 104 native plant species had been collected from 40 local remnant populations. These remnants, ranged from less than an acre to over 100 acres in size, totaling almost 800 acres. Of these, only about 25 acres could be considered high quality, and almost no acres were without some impact from invasive species. Reed Canary grass, Smooth Brome and Kentucky bluegrass are major grass invaders found on nearly every site, along with Canada thistle. Sweet Clover and Buckthorn are starting to dominate areas as well. No chemicals were used or recommended within the higher quality portions of the remnants. Hand pulling seemed somewhat effective on low level Sweet Clover infestations. Stripping buds and Collecting seed heads from thistles was used primarily to reduce seed contamination as was done with smooth brome before collecting native seed in those areas.

In order to reduce the risk of entire collection sites from being sprayed or mowed, Canada thistle had to be kept from maturing past the bud stage. Hand pulling seemed to produce the least impact to the native plants.

With conversion of land to other uses, if given an opportunity to collect native plants, we learned to prioritize species to remove and salvage them in priority order in the time available, because once converted, there is not a single plant left on the site! Every year we seem to lose a site with remnant native plant populations.

Letters describing the project were sent to perpetual easement owners, inviting them to participate. With the wonderful response, we were able to plant on 758 acres of the 1,589 acres where permission was granted. Two landowners had significant acreage which allowed us to plant 15 smaller plantings within various landscape positions on their easements.

32.27 lbs of seed and about 3,000 propagated plants were then transferred to suitable locations on 1,589 acres of land protected by perpetual conservation easements. Planting sites were selected where niches remained between existing plants and where invasive species were absent. Species with a small seed supply were planted in plots of only a few square feet, while seed from many species were broadcast over much larger areas of 100 acres or more with a Vicon seeder mounted on an ATV. Seed supplies ranged from less than a gram to several lbs. for some of the more common species and those having a good seed year. Plantings were strategically located to expand over time, allowing many of the species to move into their preferred niches and increase diversity over the 1,589 acres of easement area.

Increasing the plant diversity will improve the natural functions, replace some of our rapidly declining native prairie habitats and provide a better habitat for our insects, birds, and mammals. Plant materials from these areas are to be made available as foundation seed sources, with their origination tracked in accordance to MN Crop Improvement Association's (MCIA) "Yellow Tag" program guidelines.

Projects Results Use and Dissemination
Articles were published in Martin SWCD's Conservation Update and several radio spots were aired discussing this project and updating county residents on the projects progress. We also set up information booths at the annual County Fair, Corn and Soybean Days, Spring Expo, and talked about the project at our rain garden seminars and weed management workshops. An interpretive planting around the foundation of the Martin County Courthouse features the project which is referenced on a bronze plaque.


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Best Practices for Native Prairie Management
Subd. 03o      $45,000

Michelle Snider
Minnesota Recreation and Park Association
200 Charles Street NE
Fridley, MN 55432

Phone:  (763) 571-1305 x100
Email:  snider@mnrecpark.org
Fax:  (763) 571-5204
Web:  http://www.mnrpa.org

Overall Project Outcomes and Results
The 2004 LCMR Parks Study and the 2003-2008 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) recommended better coordination among Minnesota's outdoor recreation providers. This project addressed these recommendations by engaging public and private outdoor recreation leaders to transform better coordination into shared knowledge and practices.

Two native prairie demonstration projects will identify best management practices and maintenance methodologies as the sites continue to mature. The first native prairie demonstration area is located within Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in East Bethel, Minnesota. One-half of the area was mowed, and one-half was burned prior to seeding. This 23-acre demonstration area features five treatments: burn/broadcast seed; burn/drill seed; mow/broadcast seed; mow/drill seed; and forb plantings.

The second native prairie demonstration project is located within two city parks in Hutchinson, Minnesota. The two areas' objectives were to restore turf back to native prairie, and to further an oak savanna restoration. This approximately 10-acre demonstration area (total acreage within the two sites) features four treatments: drill seed near lowland river area; broadcast seed near high-ground river area; hand-seed; and over-seeding of a continued restoration project.

Three regional workshops were conducted to exchange information and techniques used during the demonstrations, and overall native prairie best practices. The first regional workshop focused on native prairie impacts, research, and reconnecting children to nature. Session content included biodiversity and its impacts on prairie ecosystems; bioenergy; climate; productivity and resistance to drought, disease, and pests; and reconnecting children with the native environment by teaching them the value of the native prairies, lands, and waterways.

The second regional workshop was designed to gather a cross-section of professionals to discuss strategies and solutions for best practices in native prairie management. Session content included best practices in native prairie management from numerous perspectives: engineering, wildlife, natural resources, park resources, and water resources. Workshop presenters also provided information on partnerships, stormwater program and vegetation, prairie maintenance, prairie seed installation, and forestry inventories.

The third regional workshop centered on small and large suburban native prairie areas. Session content included prairie and native plant/tree protection and restoration; and agricultural development that has been one of the largest sources of local habitat removal with current efforts to restore these prairies to their original native habitats. Workshop presenters also provided information on efforts to convert 600 acres of former agricultural land to native prairie and wetland.

Projects Results Use and Dissemination
The two demonstration areas were components of two of the regional workshops to share the site preparation, seed selection, and methodology information with participants. Project results have been provided within the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association's 2009 annual report, and Minnesota's state report during National Recreation and Park Association meetings.

Additionally, project updates are included on the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association's website and the best practices website. Further project results dissemination will be shared during Minnesota Recreation and Park Association educational conferences and trainings.


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Impacts of Climate Change and CO2 on Prairie and Forest Production
Subd. 03p      $330,000

Peter Reich
University of Minnesota
1530 Cleveland Ave N
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-4270
Email:  preich@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 625-5212
Web:  http://www.forestry.umn.edu/people/facstaff/reich/


Overall Project Outcome and Results
Funds from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) were used to help establish, maintain, and expand studies regarding impacts of elevated carbon dioxide and changing climate on productivity (i.e. carbon acquisition) and carbon sequestration of woody and herbaceous vegetation. Two new state-of-the-art open air experiments were begun. A new biofuel-oriented experiment was installed in 72 elevated CO2 plots within the ongoing BioCON (Biodiversity, CO2, and Nitrogen) experiment - an effort started in 1997 that is examining how plant communities respond to environmental changes in biodiversity, CO2, and Nitrogen; these plots were planted with potentially "high-yielding" woody and herbaceous perennials. A Boreal Forest Warming experiment in Cloquet and Ely was installed, planted and warming treatments implemented in 2009 and 2010. ENTRF funds were also used to support specific carbon cycling measures in the original, ongoing BioCON experiment. The following findings were documented:

  1. In all studies, results showed that acquisition of new carbon is likely in a world with higher CO2 levels and/or with modest warming, but is significantly dampened during periods of low water availability or when soil nutrients are limiting.
  2. Long-term sequestration in soil of acquired carbon is likely modest due to the rapid return (through respiration of roots and decomposers) of new carbon to the atmosphere.
  3. Soil carbon storage is likely dependent upon soil characteristics however, with sandy soils in our experiments less able to build up carbon stores than finer-textured soils might be.
  4. Results suggest considerable potential to grow biomass carbon that could potentially contribute to biofuel offsetting of fossil fuel use and to carbon sequestration in live biomass, dead biomass, and potentially in soils.

Project Results Use and Dissemination Several publications are in preparation. These include experiment-specific papers (about individual experiments), cross-experiment papers for several related experiments at the Cedar Creek station, and meta-analyses and synthesis papers for which data from this ENRTF project have been combined with similar data from other experiments in North America, Europe, and Asia.


Project completed:  6/30/2011

Back to top of page

Biofuel Production and Wildlife Conservation in Working Prairies
Subd. 03q      $750,000

Clarence Lehman
University of Minnesota
100 Ecology Building,1987 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-5734
Email:  lehman@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 624-6777
Web:  http://www.cbs.umn.edu/eeb/faculty/LehmanClarence/


Overall Project Outcome and Results
Minnesota prairies reliably produce bioenergy resources which largely go untapped. This project sought management practices to promote wildlife and habitat diversity on future working prairies used for bioenergy in Minnesota. It combined harvested areas with refuges and monitored wildlife populations and bioenergy potential in Minnesota grasslands, while developing protocols for future long-term work.

We collaborated with land managers of established prairies to survey birds, insects, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, plants and soils in regions across western Minnesota. Statistical trends show that harvesting grasslands with refuge remaining does not reduce wildlife abundance. In fact, harvested areas supported greater biomass of insects for bird food. Harvesting can also increase overall small mammal abundance when equal area is left as refuge. These results are being clarified in the ongoing second phase of this project.

We measured bioenergy potential measured by harvesting prairies with production-scale equipment. We tested various harvesting machinery, techniques, and bale types, and found current round baling technology more amenable to these plots, a discbine cutter mounted on a four-wheel drive tractor as the most effective cutting equipment, and tractors with custom-made front and rear mounted bale spikes worked best for transport. We obtained noticeably higher quantities of biomass per acre in the south, but biomass quality was approximately the same. Harvesting three years in a row did not reduce yield, and we found mixed-species biomass can produce at least as much liquid fuel per unit mass as switchgrass. Our bioenergy partners reported that bales of prairie grass have better storage life than other renewable feedstocks they used.

The large amount of data produced is being made available on the project website for general use. Results from this first phase of the project will inform future land management by analyzing the intersection of renewable energy and wildlife conservation.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
We have a project website available (www.cbs.umn.edu/wildlife) to make the ideas and results available world-wide. This website will continue to develop as the protocols for this project are refined and as data become available. The project will also be featured in Cedar Creek educational programs for school-age and other groups. Presentations (oral and poster) to special interest groups, research groups, and other interested parties continued by project collaborators throughout the project. The first publication from this project in a peer-reviewed scientific outlet is now available. (Jungers et al., Characterizing Grassland Biomass for Energy Production and Habitat in Minnesota, Proceedings of the 22nd North American Prairie Conference, 2010). Further publications will be submitted as the project moves into its second phase.


Project completed: 6/30/2011

Subd. 04  Water Resources

Back to top of page

Future of Energy and Minnesota Water Resources
Subd. 04a      $270,000

Sangwon Suh
University of California - Santa Barbara
3422 Bren Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131

Phone:  (805) 893-7185
Email:  suh@bren.ucsb.edu


Overall Project Outcome and Results
Minnesota's water resources are poised to undergo significant changes in the coming decades. For example, with new bioenergy policies aiming to reduce fossil fuel dependency, Minnesota has become one of the top five bioethanol producers in the United States in the past two decades. Bio-energy production, together with increasing population, energy demand, and climate uncertainties present a great challenge for water authorities seeking to sustainable future water supply. There is an urgent need to integrate an analysis of demands on Minnesota's water resources with scenarios of future energy production. This project aimed to envision Minnesota's temporal and spatial water schemes by 2030 in response to population, energy, and climate scenarios, by integrating a system dynamics model with geographic information system (GIS) data. We developed an integrated spatial model that analyzes the future of Minnesota's water budget with particular attention to changes in water demand under different scenarios. Key trends incorporated into the scenarios include (1) biofuel production (considering water needs for irrigation of the biofuel feedstock as well as for processing); (2) changes in the electricity grid mix considering Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standards; (3) demographic changes; and (4) climate change. Scenarios of water demand was combined with GIS mapping and water balance techniques, which can deliver spatially and temporally explicit water budget projections for each scenario.

The results indicate that population growth and increasing demand on electric power generation are two primary factors driving increasing future water demand in Minnesota. Water management should be coupled with urban development and planning to reduce water stress induced by population growth and electric power generation. Late summer and winter are two periods of time in which it is particularly challenging to support human demand of water without the potential of drawing down the water resources. This report produced by this project presents maps and regional monthly water availability graphs for various scenarios tested in this study. These system characteristics shown in the current scenario analysis can play an important part of future water conservation and management planning.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The study results were presented in more than four national and international conferences hosted in the US and Portugal, in which a poster summarizing the findings of this study won the poster contest in the prestigious Gordon Research Conference in 2010. One paper was published in a high-impact journal, Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T) in 2009; the paper was one of the top-three most-cited and downloaded articles in September, 2009. Another, follow-up article has been submitted to the same journal and is currently under review. In 2008, a round-table forum was hosted at the University of Minnesota to discus water sustainability modeling and its application. Scholars from state agencies, research institutes, and NGOs attended the forum to brainstorm feasible frameworks for assessing Minnesota's water future under different uncertainties. Detailed information of the presentations in this forum and relevant supporting information can be found at http://www.iel.umn.edu/forum/waterforum.htm PI. Suh is participating in a publication by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on biofuel's water implication as an author based on the knowledge and findings gathered from this project. The publication is expected to be released in early 2010.

PROJECT PUBLICATION: The Future of Energy and Minnesota's Water Resources


Project completed: 6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Accelerating Plans for Integrated Control of the Common Carp
Subd. 04b      $550,000

Peter Sorensen
University of Minnesota
1980 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-4997
Email:  soren003@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 625-5299
Web:  http://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/sorensen/


Overall Project Outcome and Results
The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) was introduced to Minnesota in the late 1800s and quickly came to dominate the fish communities in the south-central portion of the state where it is now responsible for poor water quality and greatly reduced duck habitat. Our previous Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) funded projects from appropriations in 2003 and 2005 had suggested that recruitment (survival of fertilized eggs to adulthood) might be a key weakness in the life history of the carp and that predatory fish, odors, or sounds might be used to control recruitment. This project investigated these possibilities in six studies ('results'):

  1. For the first, we monitored the fate of carp eggs and larvae in both the field and lab to determine if predators might be eating them. We discovered that bluegill sunfish, a native game-fish, consume large numbers of carp eggs and larvae.
  2. For result 2 we examined correlations between the abundance of young-of-the-year (YOY) carp and predatory game-fish across two dozen lakes using trap-net surveys. We discovered the YOY carp are rarely found in lakes that have bluegills, suggesting that bluegills control carp in lakes.
  3. A third study examined the age structure of several populations of adult carp. It found that YOY carp only recruit in years and places where winter oxygen levels are low enough to kill bluegills.
  4. A fourth study examined whether food odors might be used to enhance capture rates of YOY carp. While, we found evidence that certain baits are attractive in the lab, field results were variable and application appeared impractical.
  5. A fifth study examined pheromones for use in YOY removal and came to a similar conclusion.
  6. Lastly, we examined whether air-bubble curtains have potential to reduce the movement of YOY carps from nursery areas by producing sound. These results were promising.
  7. In summary, this project provided compelling evidence that populations of invasive carp can be controlled by promoting the abundance of native predators and controlling movement using bubble barriers.

Project Results and Dissemination The results of this project are presently being implemented by the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District and the Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District. Both watersheds report that carp densities are reduced and under control while water quality has improved. The barrier bubble developed here is now being developed further by another ENRTF project. This work has been described in 6 peer-reviewed publications (with more in review), over a dozen scientific meetings, a dozen agency meetings and in at least 6 press and TV reports.


Project completed: 6/30/2011

Back to top of page

Testing Pesticides and Degradates in Public Drinking Water
Subd. 04c      $368,000

John Hines
MN Department of Agriculture (MDA)
625 Robert St N
St Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 201-6694
Email:  john.w.hines@state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 201-6117
Web:  http://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/pesticides/maace.aspx

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Pesticides are known to impact Minnesota's groundwater and there are new pesticides being developed and registered for use every year. To ensure the safe use of new pesticides it is essential to measure the concentration and frequency of their detection in the state's water resources. In addition it is critically important, for proper pesticide management, to be able to analyze water samples for the compounds parent pesticides break down into. It is only through the precise measurement of extremely small quantities of pesticides in the state's water resources that impacts to human and ecological health may be determined.

Through this project the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) laboratory acquired the necessary analytical equipment and developed appropriate analytical methods for analyzing water samples for additional new generation pesticides and their degradates in groundwater and drinking water in Minnesota. The new equipment and related methods expanded the spectrum of compounds the MDA is able to detect in water samples, increased precision of water sample analysis, and improved the overall efficiency of water sample analysis at the MDA. Furthermore, the MDA laboratory is now capable of measuring many pesticides to levels of sub parts-per-trillion in a water sample. Measures of such precision will allow the MDA to manage pesticide use to keep concentrations below levels injurious to humans or the environment.

Prior to completion of this project the MDA was able to analyze water samples for 36 pesticide parent compounds and 11 breakdown products. The new methods are able to analyze samples for 88 parent pesticides and 22 breakdown products. Before the new methods were developed the lowest measurable value for a specific pesticide was between 50 and 1000 parts-per-trillion while the laboratory is now able to measure pesticide quantities between 0.8 and 50 parts-per-trillion, depending on the specific pesticide being measured.

Sample results for monitoring conducted by the MDA during winter and spring periods in 2010 are showing interesting results. A small number of pesticides never before discovered have been detected, albeit at very low concentrations. A clearer image of the occurrence of various pesticide breakdown products is also beginning to emerge and ongoing work should provide insight to the balance between pesticide parent and degradate detections in the state's water resources. These results will also allow the MDA to more precisely determine pesticide impacts to the water resources and aid in understanding the effectiveness of recommended BMPs and other pesticide management practices.

To the degree that time and lab resources allow, the equipment purchased and methods developed through this project will also be available for use by any future publicly funded projects at no cost except standard operating expenses.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Immediately following successful development of the new methods the MDA laboratory analyzed 100 samples from public drinking water wells across the state. These wells were selected and sampled by the Minnesota Department of Health from the available community wells that are not typically included in the US-EPA Safe Drinking Water Act pesticide monitoring requirements. As of this report results are just becoming available. Results of the testing will be made available by the Department of Health following proper notification of the participating communities.

In addition to the one time sampling of the community wells, every sample collected by the MDA monitoring program for both surface water and groundwater will be analyzed with the new methods. The first results from the MDA monitoring program samples will be published in mid 2011 as part of the program's annual water quality monitoring data report. Development of the methods and analysis of samples utilizing the methods will also be reported to the US-EPA as part of the federal reporting requirements enabling the registration of pesticides for use in the state of Minnesota.


Project completed: 6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Assessment of Riparian Buffers in the Whitewater River Watershed
Subd. 04d      $52,000

Megan Kranz-McGuire
Whitewater Joint Powers Board
400 Wilson St, Box 39
Lewiston, MN 55952

Phone:  (507) 523-2171
Email:  megankm@charterinternet.com
Fax:  (507) 523-3717
Web:  http://www.whitewaterwatershed.org

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Riparian buffers can provide significant water quality benefits by filtering contaminants such as nitrate, phosphorus, sediment, and pesticides from surface runoff. In addition, buffers stabilize streambanks, enhance riparian and in-stream habitat, and provide landscape connectivity. The DNR's Shoreland Rule requires that landowners maintain a 50 foot buffer of perennial vegetation on public waters. According to previous BWSR estimates, 50% or more of the buffer area in some counties was cropped. Local officials have often struggled to increase compliance with the buffer rule because they did not know the extent and locations of un-buffered streams. This project eliminated that barrier by mapping land use along all public waters in the ten county region of Southeast Minnesota.

The Whitewater River Watershed Project contracted with Cannon River Watershed Partnership to produce the maps. The mapping process utilized aerial photography and a Geographic Information System (GIS) to conduct an assessment and analysis of existing stream courses, channels and land use within shoreland areas. The assessment included all perennial streams within the 10-county region and utilized post flood aerial photos where available. Land cover adjacent to protected waters in all participating counties was also identified based on aerial photo interpretation.

From this assessment and analysis, two GIS shapefiles were created for each county: a retraced stream layer and a shoreland layer, which maps the land use within 300 feet of the center line of streams.

A total of 3,800 linear miles of streams were mapped, equaling 430 square miles of buffer area. Approximately 60,000 individual polygons were traced, representing 40 unique land uses. These detailed maps show that a much smaller area is being cropped than previously estimated. All counties had 50 foot buffers on at least 90% of their streams.

All GIS files are available to the public on the CRWP website. However, some experience with GIS is necessary to successfully utilize this data. For non-GIS users, contacting your County for maps they have produced using this data will be more efficient.

Surveys and Focus Groups
In addition to mapping shoreland land use, the project also conducted landowner surveys and focus groups to 1) explore the barriers to buffer adoption, 2) identify opportunities for establishing and maintaining buffers, and 3) explore what actions would increase adoption of these buffers. Reports summarizing the survey and focus group results are available.

Many counties are moving forward to address areas that lack shoreland buffers. Goodhue is implementing a "Hayable Buffer" program, Olmsted has sent out letters to landowners that are out of compliance, Winona is developing a buffer plan, and additional counties are making progress to ensure all streams are protected by perennial buffers.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The results of the mapping, surveys, and focus groups were presented and discussed at regional meetings including the Basin Alliance of the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota, the Southeast Water Resources Board, and the Southeast Minnesota Association of County Planning and Zoning Administrators. The maps and land use summary statistics are available on the CRWP website (http://www.crwp.net/Programs/Conservation/ShorelandMapping/ShorelandMapping.html). The project was discussed in a July 8th, 2010 article in AgriNews, a newspaper that reaches many farmers in Southeast Minnesota.

In addition to county staff and commissioners, others are using the data for a variety of purposes related to water quality. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency staff is using the maps to help identify stressors to the ecology of streams in the Root River Watershed, and the Fillmore SWCD is using the data to help identify gullies in pastures adjacent to streams. The data can also be used to assess habitat connectivity.


Project completed:  6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Intra-Lake Zoning To Protect Sensitive Lakeshore Areas
Subd. 04e      $125,000

Paul Radomski
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
1601 Minnesota Dr
Brainerd, MN 56401

Phone:  (218) 833-8643
Email:  paul.radomski@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (218) 828-6043
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Protection of critical fish and wildlife habitat, particularly for "species in greatest conservation need", is necessary given the substantial near-shore habitat losses estimated to date and the losses projected with future shoreland development. This cooperative Cass County/State project identified sensitive shoreland for the county's largest and most valuable waters. The project used objective, science-based criteria to identify sensitive shoreland parcels. Cass County selected seventeen lakes that were the highest priority for assessment (e.g., Ten Mile, Woman, and Leech). The objectives of this project were to: (1) identify and map sensitive shorelands, (2) develop and adopt shoreland ordinances to provide greater protection to sensitive areas, and (3) propose and implement zoning districts for identified sensitive shorelands.

Biological surveys were completed on the 17 priority lakes, as well as three connecting waterbodies. Species presence was recorded in extensive spatial detail. Botanists documented a total of 69 native aquatic plant taxa, including 42 submerged and free-floating, 7 floating-leaf, and 20 emergent taxa. Surveyors mapped over 2,000 acres of bulrush, and over 6,000 acres of other emergent and floating-leaf plant stands. Seventeen unique or rare plant species were documented. Biologists recorded four fish species in greatest conservation need. Pugnose shiners were the most widespread of these species, and were recorded on 10 study lakes. Longear sunfish, least darters, and greater redhorse were collected on four lakes each. Biologists documented 161 bird species, including 45 species in greatest conservation need. Four of these species are listed as Threatened in Minnesota and seven species are of Special Concern status. Mink and green frog breeding locations were identified on all surveyed lakes.

A total of 190.2 miles of shoreline, representing 40% of the total shoreline miles, were identified as sensitive. Nearly 28,000 acres of shoreland were identified as sensitive. Cass County proposed and adopted innovative zoning provisions within their shoreland ordinance to protect water quality and near-shore habitat.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
We completed sensitive lakeshore assessments on the 17 priority lakes, as well as three connecting waterbodies. Lake reports summarizing sensitive lakeshore assessments were completed for the 20 lakes. These reports describe the results of the biological surveys and provide maps of identified sensitive lakeshore. Reports were distributed to Cass County as well as to interested lake associations, organizations, and individuals. They are also available online at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/sli.

Public presentations explaining the sensitive area identification process and results were given to the Cass County Board of Commissioners, Cass County Planning Commission, Association of Cass County Lake Associations, U.S. Forest Service, multiple lake associations, and many other groups.

Several organizations have used the sensitive lakeshore identification information to help protect critical and vulnerable lakeshore areas. In 2010, Cass County received Environment & Natural Resource Trust Fund monies to provide assistance for donation of conservation easements to protect sensitive shoreland parcels in Cass County. The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation has identified large, undeveloped parcels that when overlaid with areas of sensitive shoreland have become priorities for conservation easements and acquisition. Recently implemented conservation easements on Wabedo Lake properties protect from development over 3500 feet of shoreline and nearly 70 acres of shoreland. Additional conservation easements that will protect another three to five miles of shoreline are currently in process. In addition, the information has been utilized within the DNR to help identify priority conservation areas (e.g., aquatic management areas). Finally, a project funded by an Outdoor Heritage Fund appropriation to the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, Minnesota Land Trust, and DNR will pay for acquisition-related expenses and monitoring costs of donated permanent conservation easements on sensitive shorelands in north central Minnesota.

Cass County developed and adopted sensitive lakeshore and conservation subdivision ordinances. Other local governments are considering these ordinances for their own use. Crow Wing County modified Cass County's ordinance provisions for sensitive lakeshore protection, as the county is pursuing sensitive lakeshore zoning districts to better protect areas in their jurisdiction. In addition, the DNR used Cass County's conservation subdivision ordinance within its draft state shoreland standards.


Project completed:  6/30/2011

Back to top of page

Native Shoreland Buffer Incentives Program
Subd. 04f      $225,000

Mark Hauck
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
940 Industrial Drive South
Sauk Rapids, MN 56379

Phone:  (320) 255-4279 ext. 236
Email:  mark.hauck@state.mn.us
Web:  http://mndnr.gov/nsbi

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Through a competitive grant process, the MN DNR offered two $75,000 grants. East Ottertail SWCD and the Itasca Water Legacy Partnership (Itasca SWCD) collaborated with DNR and the Water Resources Center (WRC) at the U of M to craft shoreland restoration incentive programs for lakeshore residential properties. Unique to this project was the focus on assessing the effectiveness of applying social science methods (KAP Studies) in promoting the planting of native shoreland buffers. Using a process that is well known but rarely used in natural resources, Dr. Karlyn Eckman (WRC) used KAP Studies to determine Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of target audiences. The process has three steps:

  1. Survey landowners
  2. Design & implement incentives
  3. Survey again

The second survey determines the effectiveness of project activities in changing the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the target audience. Target audiences for East Ottertail County were lakeshore owners 50 to 70 years old owning 120 feet or more of shoreline and for Itasca County, all landowners on 5 selected lakes. Funds were utilized for designing incentives and analyzing results.

Project conclusions:

  • Using a "KAP Study" contributed to more successful outcomes (more shoreland restored) by predicting better incentives and better communication methods.
  • People were more knowledgeable than expected about water quality.
  • People in these particular studies were not motivated to action by a financial incentive - they took it because it was offered. Therefore, funds intended for financial incentives may have greater impact if they are re-allocated to hire high-quality, knowledgeable professionals.
  • Social networks were more important than previously realized. Groups like lake associations, churches, garden clubs, informal groups of neighbors helped spur interest and motivation.
  • More projects should incorporate KAP methods so they are "evaluation-ready" before implementation to better utilize the use of conservation funding and document project success to funders.
  • Social science practices could be used in areas such as invasive species, habitat restoration, and recreation. Practices include KAP studies, message re-framing and utilizing existing social networks in the community.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The DNR project manager and partners have shared the results of the project and project components on several different occasions at conferences to a total of approximately 365 attendees.

This project was submitted for consideration for the 2011 Environmental Initiative Awards. Now that the project is complete consideration is now being given for submission again in the spring of 2013.

In order to widen the influence of the results of the demonstrations, several actions are being considered at the present time. They include:

  1. This final LCCMR report and the individual detailed survey evaluations will be entered into the DNR Documents Library for reference to others.
  2. Development of a Native Shoreland Buffer Initiative web page hosted by the DNR that will provide a gateway to information on the buffer projects including survey examples, final reports from the University of Minnesota, resource products developed by the project partners.
  3. Communication back to the original 'class' of buffer proposers participating in the initial workshop.
  4. The DNR's Division of Ecological and Water Resources widely distributes results in order to adopt social science principles into natural resources work.

Discussions are ongoing as to the applicability of the project results to other programs within the Department of Natural Resources and elsewhere.


Project completed:  6/30/2012

Back to top of page

Southeast MN Stream Restoration Projects
Subd. 04g      $240,000

Jeff Hastings
Trout Unlimited
E7740 Hastings Ln
Westby, WI 54667

Phone:  (608) 606-4158
Email:  jhastings@tu.org
Web:  http://www.tu.org/driftless

Overall Project Outcome Results:
The overall objective of this project was to accelerate stream restoration in Southeast Minnesota by building the capacity of county and federal conservation staff and private citizens to implement future projects.

Early European settlement and agricultural practices from the 1850's to the 1930's led to wide scale erosion, flooding, and altering of streams and valleys in Southeast Minnesota. Many of the streams today still have steep eroding banks, incised channels, and poor in-stream habitat. Annual sedimentation coming off streambank ranges from 250 to 1000 tons per mile and is responsible for as much as 85% of the total sediment load that enters the stream.

One of our primary goals was to have eight showcase stream restoration projects; we were successful in having eleven. Our other primary goal was to educate and train volunteers and professionals about the various techniques and the planning involved in implementing a stream restoration project. Through a combination of 12 workshops, 4 symposiums, and 8 in-the-field demonstrations over 45 volunteers were trained on how to install various habitat practices for fish and non-game species, and contributed over 2,300 volunteer hours working on stream restoration projects. Projects were completed in four of the seven targeted counties, and approximately 3 miles were restored.

Volunteers and contractors installed over 100 different habitat structures for trout, and non-game species of fish, turtles, birds and frogs. Cost of designs, permits, materials, earth moving, and professional oversight of the projects was close to half a million dollars. Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund dollars contributed $188,535, with Trout Unlimited Chapters, County and Federal agencies contributing over $357,447.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Over the three year period of this project we more than quadrupled the educational and informational events we proposed for in our original plan. Promoting, educating and accelerating stream restoration projects were accomplished through a variety media formats:

  • 41 Workdays - involving volunteers clearing brush, installing habitat for fish and nongame species, seeding and mulching grade banks.
  • 6 News releases - on completed projects.
  • 8 Newsletters - newsletters to volunteers, county, state and federal employees.
  • 4 Driftless Symposiums - regional symposium on riparian and watershed management.
  • 2 Driftless Stream Bus Tours - free tour for professionals and volunteers of recently completed projects.
  • 7 In-the-field workshop - for volunteers on how to seed, mulch and install fish and non-game habitat practices.
  • 4 Minnesota Great Waters Fly Fishing Expos - handouts, talks, displays on cold water stream restoration projects.
  • 2 Television Programs - on cold-water stream restoration.
  • 5 Stream Restoration Project Planning Workshop - 2-day workshop for volunteers on how to organize projects, write grants, workdays, easements, etc.
  • Conducted one tour for Outdoor Writers Association - Southeast MN streams.
  • 7 Presentations to MN TU chapters on cold water stream restoration.
  • 12 Presentations to County and Federal employees of Southeast Minnesota on cold water stream restoration.
  • Presentations to Winona State students and St. Paul Fisheries graduates.
  • Presentation at the Lakes and Rivers Conference in Rochester.
  • 4 presentations in MN at the American Fisheries Association conference.
  • 6 Local Work Group meetings (meeting of local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Natural Resources Conservation Service) to plan on where spending of federal Farm Bill dollars will be directed.
  • 42 Hand guides on habitat practices for trout and non-game species to volunteers, county, state and federal employees.


Project completed:  6/30/2013

Back to top of page

South-Central MN Groundwater Monitoring and County Geologic Atlases
Subd. 04h      $1,600,000

Part 1 ($894,000)
Jim Berg
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5680
Email:  jim.berg@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-0445
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Part 2 ($706,000)
Dale Setterholm
Minnesota Geological Survey
University of Minnesota
2642 University Ave. W.
St. Paul, MN 55114

Phone:  612) 627-4780
Email:  sette001@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 627-4778
Web:  http://www.geo.umn.edu/mgs/

PART 1: MN Department of Natural Resources

Overall Project Outcome and Results

To better understand the recharge dynamics of the Mt. Simon aquifer the western edge of this aquifer was investigated through observation well installations, water level monitoring, groundwater chemical analysis, and aquifer capacity testing. Most data collected for this study are derived from the 27 observation wells, drilled to depths of 70 to 718 feet, that were installed at 14 locations by contracted drilling companies.

The combination of chemical residence time indictors, continuous water level data from nested well locations, and a general knowledge of the regional hydrostratigraphy, shows the Mt. Simon aquifer in this region has a very slow recharge rate from a large source area located south of the Minnesota River, and a smaller source area located in the northern portion of the study area. The younger Carbon-14 residence time values of Mt. Simon groundwater (7,000-8,000 years) from this project roughly correspond to a time after the last ice sheet had receded from southern Minnesota suggesting groundwater in the Mt. Simon aquifer in this region began as precipitation that infiltrated during the post-glacial period. The stable isotope data of oxygen and hydrogen support this conclusion. A recharge estimate of the Mt. Simon aquifer south of the Minnesota River based on these minimum residence time data suggest an infiltration rate of approximately 2 cm/year. The resulting 5 billion gallons/year of recharge from the southern source area is approximately equal to permitted volumes (volume of water that the users are allowed to pump) for appropriators in this area. At current groundwater extraction rates the region appears to be in a steady state. A major accomplishment of this project was the creation of a network of observation well nests, base line water level data, and geochemical data in this region that will enable future hydrologists to evaluate the local and regional affects of any future expansion of Mt. Simon groundwater pumping beyond current volumes. This effort is documented in a report "South-Central Minnesota Groundwater Monitoring of the Mt. Simon Aquifer". A document titled "Minnesota Groundwater Level Monitoring Network-Guidance Document for Network Development" was also completed as part of this project. The Guidance Document outlines how Minnesota's current groundwater level monitoring network of approximately 750 wells should be expanded to meet monitoring needs. This expansion is necessary because large areas in Minnesota are not adequately monitored. Many areas of Minnesota are underlain by multiple aquifers, all of which must be considered in developing the long-term network that will provide adequate resource data.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The reports from this project will be available on the DNR website during the summer of 2011. An abstract of the project results will be submitted to the Geological Society of America for the national conference in Minneapolis during October 2011. In addition, a summary of the project will be submitted to the Minnesota Groundwater Association for inclusion in the quarterly newsletter. The well log and well construction information is currently available in the project report and the Minnesota Department of Health County Well Index. The wells have become part of the DNR observation well network. Water level data is currently available at: http://climate.umn.edu/ground_water_level/.

Project Publication:
South-Central Minnesota Groundwater Monitoring of the Mt. Simon Aquifer (PDF - 3.0 MB)
Minnesota Groundwater Level Monitoring Network-Guidance Document for Network Development (PDF - 3.3 MB)


Project completed: 06/30/2011

PART 2: Minnesota Geological Survey

Overall Project Outcome and Results

County geologic atlases are created to support water and mineral resource management. An atlas provides maps and associated databases at scales appropriate for land use planning and water management decisions. An atlas greatly improves our ability to monitor the resource, to predict the effects of pumping, and to respond effectively to contamination. This project created atlases for Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Sibley counties in paper, digital, and web-accessible formats. They will be published as MGS C-24, C-25, and C-26, and workshops will be held to train users.

Geologic maps describe the distribution of earth materials. The materials determine where water can enter the ground (become ground water), where it can be taken from the ground (aquifers), and how aquifers connect to rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Each geologic atlas contains the below parts.

Database map: shows the location of all well records, borings, scientific drilling, natural exposures, and geophysical measurements used to support all the maps in the atlas. The data itself is also provided.

Surficial Geology map: this map shows the earth materials immediately beneath the soil zone, and describes their composition and ability to convey water. The surface described by this map is the interface between human activities and ground water. Its character determines to a great degree the sensitivity of ground water to contamination.

Glacial Stratigraphy and Sand Distribution Model: A series of maps show the location, depth, and thickness of sand or gravel bodies (aquifers) in glacial materials. This map is useful in finding a water source, determining pumping effects, and in understanding the results of water monitoring.

Bedrock Geology map, bedrock topography map: These maps describe the location and type of bedrock present, and its ability to host and transmit groundwater. Where a sequence of sedimentary rocks are present the contacts between layers are mapped as digital surfaces and this enables numerical simulations of the ground water system that can predict the effects of pumping before wells are drilled.

Through this project, MGS also provided support to the DNR Mt. Simon monitoring well project by examining and describing samples, conducting downhole geophysical surveys, and providing interpretations of the geologic units penetrated by these wells.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Geologic atlases are created to support informed decision-making. They are applied to wellhead protection, water appropriation decisions, well field design, onsite water treatment designs, facility siting, monitoring, and remediation of contamination. The atlases are printed for those who don't use computers and for use in the field. They are also provided in several digital formats for electronic use including geographic information systems. When the atlases are complete we hold workshops in the county to explain the products and their uses.

FINAL REPORT - Part 2 (MN Geological Survey)

Project completed: 06/30/2011

Back to top of page

Lake Superior Research
Subd. 04i      $86,000 (GLPA)

Steve Colman
University of Minnesota
Large Lakes Observatory, UMD
2205 E. 5th St.
Duluth, MN 55812

Phone:  (218) 726-8522
Email:  scolman@d.umn.edu
Fax:  (218) 726-6979
Web:  http://www.d.umn.edu/llo


Overall Project Outcome and Results
There is a surprising lack of study and understanding of the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and their properties, especially in the deepwater basins. We know more about many marine systems than we know about the Great Lakes. With current concerns about the environmental health of the Great Lakes, studies supported through this project aimed to contribute to alleviating some of the unknowns. A series of studies were conducted that research the condition, functioning, and processes of Lake Superior, its sediments, and its ecosystem including:

  • Studies related to the entire living ecosystem, from top predator fish down to picoplankton.
  • Studies of the circulation of the lake using numerical models and oceanographic instrumentation.
  • Studies of the water column including the balance between CO2 production and oxygen consumption, the processes related to the fate of organic matter and nutrients, and the effect of these and other water column processes on primary producers.
  • Studies of the transport and delivery of organic and inorganic materials to the lake floor as sediments that accumulate in deep waters of the lake and the erosion, transport, and storage of coarse-grained sediment in coastal waters.

In all of these studies, we took a holistic, "physics to fish" approach, examining the interactions between physical and biological processes.

We conducted a total of 24 field projects, with project funds going primarily to the cost of using of our research ship for an aggregate of 53 days at sea. Project funds leveraged other funding as most of these studies were small pilot projects, extensions to projects funded from other sources, and projects to collect preliminary data often required for proposals to the national science agencies. The projects have a common theme of understanding the dynamics of Lake Superior, its sediments, and its ecosystem. Through these studies, we hope to provide Minnesotans, from lay citizens to environmental managers, a better understanding of how Lake Superior works and how it might change in response to climate change and human activity.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
We have now collected a wealth of environmental data for Lake Superior. A significant part of those data have already been used for larger research proposals to the National Science Foundation and other agencies, some of which have already been successful in bringing new federal funding into the state. Plans are for the results of studies supported through this project to be published in peer-reviewed journals where they will be available to Minnesota managers and regulators. With other funding, we are in the process of developing a system called the Global Great Lakes Data and Modeling Center, which will allow incorporation and assimilation of existing data, new data like those collected in this project, and ongoing real-time observational data. The Data and Modeling Center will allow numerical models to be run and compared in real time using the different data sets and make all data readily available though an internet interface.


Project completed: 10/31/2009

Subd. 05  Natural Resource Information

Back to top of page

Updating the National Wetlands Inventory for Minnesota
Subd. 05a      $550,000

Doug Norris
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 259-5125
Email:  doug.norris@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:   (651) 296-1811
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/wetlands/index.html

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Over the past 100 years, about half of Minnesota's original 22 million acres of wetlands have been drained or filled. Some regions of the State have lost more than 90 percent of their original wetlands. Urban development, agricultural drainage, mining, road construction, and utility projects result in additional losses each year. The National Wetland Inventory (NWI) is the only comprehensive inventory of wetlands for Minnesota, but it is inaccurate in many places because it is 25-30 years out-of-date. Updating the NWI is a key component of the State's strategy to monitor and assess wetlands in support of efforts to assure healthy wetlands and clean water for Minnesota.

This project is the first phase of a multi-phase effort to update the NWI for all of Minnesota. Under this project, the project team:

  1. developed wetland mapping standards and quality control objectives to assure that the final product can meet the broad array of data needs for various stakeholders,
  2. developed a request for proposal that incorporates these standards and objectives,
  3. acquired high-resolution, spring, leaf-off, digital aerial photography for northeastern and east-central Minnesota (22,500 square miles),
  4. developed updated wetland mapping procedures for northeastern and east-central Minnesota that incorporate modern high-resolution digital imagery, radar imagery, and LiDAR elevation data,
  5. provided training to DNR and Ducks Unlimited staff (total of six people) on the application of the updated wetland mapping procedures, and
  6. performed initial data processing for updating NWI maps for east-central Minnesota and northern Koochiching County.

Subsequent phases of this project are focused on producing updated NWI maps for five different regions of Minnesota; east-central, southern, northeastern, central-lakes, and northwestern. These subsequent phases will also include the continuation of the imagery acquisition for the southern, northeastern, and central-lakes regions.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The wetland mapping standards and quality assurance objectives developed through this project are presented in reports found on the project website. Imagery acquired as part of this project are freely available to the public through the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office website. The imagery for northeastern Minnesota receives an average of about 62,000 requests per month and the imagery for east-central Minnesota receives an average of more than 300,000 requests per month. Wetland mapping procedures based on pilot studies in northeast and east-central Minnesota are contained in two separate reports. Three hard copies and one electronic copy on CD have been submitted with the final project report to LCCMR. Presentations and workshops have been provided by the University of Minnesota regarding the updated wetland mapping methods as described above.

Project Publications:
Comprehensive Project Plan for the National Wetland Inventory Update of Minnesota
Requirements for the National Wetland Inventory of Minnesota
Quality Assurance PRoject Plan for the National Wetland Inventory of Minnesota
Wetland Mapping Methods for the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area
Wetland Mapping Methods for the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota


Project completed: 06/30/2011

Back to top of page

Soil Survey
Subd. 05b      $400,000

Megan Lennon
MN Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR)
520 Lafayette Road North
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 296-1285
Email:  megan.lennon@state.mn.us
Fax:   (651) 297-5615
Web:   http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Accurate soils information is essential for evaluating the potential for land to support development, crop and forest production, and for identifying the most suitable locations for conservation practices and other land uses. Readily accessible local soil information is critical to informing conservation decisions and provides a foundation for sustainable land use planning. The soil survey is the mechanism for how this basic natural resource information is made available to land use authorities and landowners to make the best land use decisions.

In the ongoing, multi-year project to map, classify, interpret, and Web-publish an inventory of the soils of Minnesota, this one-year phase of the project focused on accelerating the completion of a Statewide soil survey, increase soil mapping in targeted areas, and enhancing soils data through increased sample collection, availability, and interpretation. Specifically:

  1. 71,000 acres mapped in Crow Wing County;
  2. 32,000 acres mapped in Pine County;
  3. 85,000 acres mapped in Koochiching County;
  4. 80,000 acres mapped in the Crane Lake subset of St. Louis County;
  5. Data from 1,000 soil samples (some dating back to the 1970's) were interpreted for the first time and incorporated into Soil Surveys for many Minnesota counties;
  6. Landuse effects on soil carbon were determined on 118 sites in 14 counties throughout the State, this data can be used to develop soil carbon management guidance.

The soil survey project was extremely successful and many of the mapping goals were exceeded. Mapping surpassed initial acreage goals in both Crow Wing and Pine Counties, and the soil surveys for Koochiching and St. Louis Counties were completed 1 year ahead of schedule. A report detailing the results of re-analysis of lab samples from the 1970's highlighting landuse impacts on soil carbon will be available in January 2011.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The Soil Survey project funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is highlighted as a BWSR feature project (www.bwsr.state.mn.us/projects/soil_survey.pdf) on the Agency's homepage. All the data, mapping information, and interpretations are available on the Web Soil Survey as a user-friendly, GIS-based application. Web Soil Survey provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world.


Project completed: 6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Updating Precipitation Intensities for Runoff Estimation and Infrastructure Designs
Subd. 05c      $100,000

Bruce Wilson
MN Pollution Control Agency (PCA)
520 N Lafayette Rd
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 282-2619
Email:   bruce.wilson@state.mn.us
Fax:   (651) 297-8337
Web:   http://www.pca.state.mn.us

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Checking the daily weather forecast for where and how bad the next storms will be has become a more important part of our daily routines. Recent variable climate (dry periods, intense storms and floods) have brought heightened awareness by farmers, engineers, cities, and water managers of rainfall intensity (how fast) and duration (how long). Up to now, available summaries (done in the early 1960's) were based on relatively crude analyses of rainfall data collected through the 1950's. This project has updated precipitation intensities based on the compilation of hundreds of rainfall monitoring locations in and around Minnesota (including our neighboring Canadian and adjacent state partners) with continuous data collected through 2009 via a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service (NOAA/NWS). State-of-the-art computer-based statistical procedures have generated summary information and maps with a resolution of 4 km by 4 km (or about 2.5 miles by 2.5 miles). NOAA required one contract with all 11 Midwest states (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas) with pass-through funding via the Pooled Highway Fund. All Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund dollars were expended by June 30, 2011 with additional funding provided by the Minnesota DOT being used to complete the final work components. This study has generated rainfall frequency estimates for durations from 15 minutes to 60 days and for average recurrence intervals from 1 to 1,000 years along with trend analyses. Final web-based products will be available in early 2012 due to delays associated with reducing huge amounts of data from about 1/2 of the contiguous United States. The results of this work are required for standard engineering practices associated with runoff routing, flood prevention and safe road & culvert designs - and will become part of our daily forecasts ("today's storm is called a hundred year event").

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Precipitation frequency information is required for standard engineering practices for building new roads, highways, bridges, and developments so as to minimize flooding and for water quality treatment, agricultural and other watershed management purposes.

This study has resulted in rainfall frequency estimates from 15 minutes to 60 day durations and for average recurrence intervals from 1 to 1,000 years. Data has been summarized in NOAA's nationally recognized standard engineering tables. New products have been developed for inclusion in GIS formats for a wide variety of computer-based applications and website distribution for watershed management purposes. Regional patterns and comparisons to old TP-40 rainfall frequency data will also be available.

Project products will be freely available from the NOAA website www.nws.noaa.gov/ohd/hdsc, including reports, maps and spatial data with precipitation frequency estimates and downloads of digital files.


Project completed: 6/30/2011

Back to top of page

The MN Breeding Bird Atlas
Subd. 05d      $270,000

Part 1 ($169,000)
Mark Martell
Audubon Minnesota
2357 Ventura Dr, Ste 106
St. Paul, MN 55125

Phone:   (651) 739-9332
Email:   mmartell@audubon.org
Fax:   (651) 731-1330
Web:   http://www.mnbba.org/

Part 2 ($101,000)
Gerald Niemi
Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) - University of Minnesota
5013 Miller Trunk Hwy
Duluth, MN 55811

Phone:   (218) 720-4270
Email:   gniemi@nrri.umn.edu
Fax:   (218) 720-4328
Web:   http://www.mnbba.org/


Overall Project Outcome and Results
These were the first 2-years of an anticipated six-year effort which will result in a comprehensive, statewide survey documenting the breeding distribution of all species of birds in Minnesota. After six years the final atlas products will include the publication of a book and an interactive on-line atlas, both with detailed distribution maps, data on species breeding status, and a summary of data from other surveys. Full access to the information will be provided to the public as well as conservation agencies and organizations.

The first two years of the project, focused on project development, volunteer recruitment, establishment of a data management system, and 2 seasons of data collection. This is a statewide multi-partner project overseen and advised by steering and technical committees. One full-time and one part-time temporary project staff were hired during this period and were assisted by 30 volunteer coordinators overseeing 638 volunteer surveyors. Written materials, workshops, and field sessions were used to recruit and train participants in the project. A data access and information website was established (http://www.mnbba.org) and we contracted with Cornell University to adapt their web-based data entry, management, and reporting system (the e-bird database) to our project (http://bird.atlasing.org/Atlas/MN/Main?cmd=Start). The MNBBA website and the Cornell database are linked and complement each other.

Each Township in the state is divided into 4 "blocks" with one block (usually the NE) designated as the "priority block". Data collection began in spring of 2009 and by the end of the six-year project will include every one of the approximately 2,120 Township in Minnesota. An all-species, volunteer driven survey, and a separate specialized "point count" survey (overseen by NRRI) will be conducted in each of townships across the state. By June 30, 2010 data had been entered into our database from 2,076 survey blocks. The 638 volunteers reported spending 6,939 hours doing surveys. A total of 48,425 individual sightings were submitted on 238 species.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Results from the Breeding Bird Survey are updated daily and available on our website at http://www.mnbba.org. Further analysis and dissemination of the data will be available at the conclusion of the project at the end of year 6 or 7. To date the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas has received coverage in a number of newspapers statewide and various organizational publications and newsletters.


Project completed: 6/30/2010


Overall Project Outcome and Results
This project is the first two-years of an anticipated six-year effort in the development of the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas - the first-ever comprehensive survey of Minnesota's breeding birds. The overall project is divided into two parts - 1) volunteer observations organized by Audubon Minnesota and 2) systematic surveys of Minnesota's breeding birds organized by the University of Minnesota (summarized here). Because of the vastness of Minnesota, both of these efforts are necessary and complementary. Objectives of this portion of the project were to gain uniform statewide coverage for all of Minnesota's birds, estimate breeding bird populations by habitat type, and contribute to a nationwide network of bird atlases in the United States. The first two years of this project focused on the experimental design to sample all townships in Minnesota over a five-year period, an interactive data entry system, data gathering using standard 10-minute point counts, and a brief data summary. Data gathering was primarily completed by graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and Twin Cities campuses. All were required to pass a test of 80 bird songs, verify their hearing ability, and participated in field standardization exercises.

Over the two breeding seasons (2009 and 2010) covered by this project, the target of 40% of Minnesota townships (>920) was sampled. We observed over 200 species of birds and counted over 78,000 individual birds during the first two years of these efforts in over 950 townships and in over 2800 individual point counts. In addition, all bird censusers contributed thousands of observations to the volunteer data base in the complementary study organized by Audubon Minnesota, including over 4,000 probable or confirmed breeding records for Minnesota birds. Over 98 % of the data gathered in 2009 and 2010 have been entered and error checked.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
These data will be downloaded to the Minnesota breeding bird atlas during the fall of 2010 through the Cornell University interface. All of these data will be incorporated into a comprehensive atlas of Minnesota's breeding birds that will be used as 1) a first-ever baseline on the current population status of this important Minnesota resource, 2) critical information for future conservation planning, and 3) as a guide for such activities as identifying important bird areas or for nature-based tourism activities.


Project completed: 6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Restorable Wetlands Inventory
Subd. 05e      $245,000

Darin Blunck
Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
1 Waterfowl Way
Memphis, TN 38103

Phone:   (901) 758-3788
Email:   dblunck@ducks.org
Fax:   (701) 355-3575
Web:   http://www.ducks.org

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Restorable Wetlands Inventory (RWI) is a complement to the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) completed in late-1980s by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. An administrative decision was made developing the original NWI not to map wetland basins in Minnesota identified as completely drained. The number and acreage of completely drained wetlands that were not mapped by the NWI process is significant.

The RWI project identifies and digitizes the completely-drained depressional wetlands that were not mapped by the NWI process. Restorable wetlands mapping is based upon protocols established for NWI allowing seamless integration of the two datasets.

In the Southwest Prairie Complex, over 300,000 individual restorable wetland basins were identified and mapped. Upon completing the Southwest Prairie Complex mapping, townships in 42 western and south-central counties in the prairie and transition zone eco-regions of Minnesota have been mapped, adding an important component to the State's spatial data infrastructure that informs environmental planning and research. Through this investment in RWI - combined with the National Wetlands Inventory, landcover classifications, and a growing catalogue of high-resolution elevation data - our capacity to understand (and importantly, restore and manage) Minnesota's wetland resources is continuing to improve.

Project Partners were the LCCMR, Ducks Unlimited, Inc., and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The photo-interpretation and digitization work was contracted to the GIS Lab at South Dakota State University.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The Restorable Wetlands Inventory mapping product for the Southwest Prairie Complex is complete and will be distributed on the Minnesota Data Deli and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. websites by the end of August 2010 in GIS-compatible formats.

Attached are maps showing mapping extent of the current M.L. 2008 appropriation and the cumulative RWI mapping effort.


Project completed: 6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Wildlife Disease Data Surveillance and Analysis
Subd. 05f      $100,000

Patrick Redig
University of Minnesota
1920 Fitch Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:   (612) 624-4969
Email:   redig001@umn.edu
Fax:   (612) 624-8740
Web:   http://www.theraptorcenter.org


Overall Project Outcome and Results
Wildlife is an integral part of the complex interrelationship between human, animal, and environmental health, yet there is no centralized system for collection of wildlife health data. The study of wildlife health is limited by the logistics and expenses involved with sample acquisition. Wildlife rehabilitation centers represent an untapped resource as they admit a larger number of wild animals with a greater variety of species than any other resource.

This project developed a centralized database for tracking morbidity and mortality of wildlife seen in wildlife rehabilitation centers in Minnesota. A central goal was the development of standardized terminology, a critical step in the ability to integrate data from multiple rehabilitation centers. Initially, a survey was designed and distributed to ascertain current practices for clinical wildlife health data management. Next, a series of workshops was held with experts in the field of wildlife health to define data sets for signalment, animal recovery information, cause of admission and initial clinical signs. The animal recovery and signalment descriptors were used to integrate 10 years of historical data from Minnesota's two largest wildlife rehabilitation facilities. This established baseline data for normal patterns of wildlife admissions and created a preliminary GIS and web-based information system. A pilot project involving six wildlife hospitals focusing on avian species susceptible to lead poisoning, was begun to evaluate the functionality of the circumstances of admission, clinical signs and pathophysiological diagnosis terminology. This project is ongoing.

The results of this project were instrumental in the creation of a template for wildlife health data reporting and the development of a system for surveillance of wildlife health issues. This information will be important for wildlife conservation projects, wildlife management, disease surveillance, and as an indicator of ecosystem health. The data can be accessed through the new web site, http://wildlifedisease.nbii.gov/cwhi/, or by contacting The Raptor Center.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The information resulting from this project has already been used to inform the development of a wildlife health reporting system being developed by the Wildlife Center of Virginia and to be distributed to wildlife rehabilitation centers around the country. A secondary outcome of this project, the development of a collaborative group called the Clinical Wildlife Health Initiative, has resulted in the expansion of this work to a national level. Discussions are underway on the potential use of this information in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service permitting process for rehabilitation center reporting, as well as the use of the new system for long-term monitoring at rehabilitation centers along the Gulf Coast as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.


Project completed: 6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Conservation Easement Stewardship, Oversight and Maintenance
Subd. 05g      $180,000

Kevin Lines
MN Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR)
520 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 297-8025
Email:   kevin.lines@bwsr.state.mn.us
Fax:   (651) 297-5615
Web:   http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Since collection of digital easement data within the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) first began in the late 1990's, every effort had been made to keep the database accurate and complete. However, over a decade later, and with over 5,000 easements and growing, it became prudent (particularly with the advent of more advanced technology) to reexamine, update, and enhance that database.

Attributes and boundaries for easements and conservation practices (planned land cover types based on the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide) that previously only existed in paper format were scanned and digitized, then added to a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database for the RIM Reserve easement program. The GIS database is flexible enough to implement future easement monitoring technology that can capture stewardship data such as easement condition and compliance, habitat quality, easement maintenance, and enhancement.

Prior to this undertaking, it would have been impossible to implement a modern long-term conservation easement stewardship plan. Easement boundaries only existed on paper and an outdated database placed limitation on reporting and analysis. As a result of this project, the framework is in place for implementing such a plan. A modern database is being implemented. 220,329 acres of conservation practices within 5,882 easements have been digitized into a GIS database, and a GIS-based monitoring field application has gone through pilot testing.

BWSR now has increased capabilities to target new easement projects using GIS reporting and analysis, as well as ensure the quality of past projects through easement stewardship and monitoring. This maximizes the return of each dollar spent, benefitting Minnesotans through better water quality, reduced soil erosion, and enhanced wildlife habitat.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
As a result of this project, a conservation easement database that is more streamlined has been implemented, giving BWSR staff the ability to edit and update easement boundaries and attributes, conduct geospatial reporting and analysis using GIS technology, create online delivery applications available via BWSR's website, and develop and test future easement stewardship and monitoring applications.

Conservation easement data has been made publically available as both an interactive online web map and a GIS shapefile download, both available at BWSR's web site: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/easements


Project completed: 6/30/2011

Back to top of page

Conservation Easement Stewardship and Enforcement Program Plan
Subd. 05h      $520,000

Kathy Lewis
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 259-5404
Email:   kathy.lewis@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:   (651) 296-6047
Web:   http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Co-Project Manager
Susan Damon
MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 259-5961
Email:   susan.damon@dnr.state.mn.us
Web:   http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The DNR needed comprehensive information about its conservation easements in a centralized database and an agency-wide plan to monitor and enforce the easements.

Project objectives were to:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive inventory of DNR's easements, classify conservation easements by type, and capture relevant data about each easement in DNR's land records system;
  2. Develop a conservation easement stewardship plan that integrates an easement monitoring computer application developed through DNR's Land Records Management Project;
  3. Recommend solutions to long-term conservation easement stewardship funding.

The inventory consisted of a review of all deed and easement records maintained by DNR's Lands and Minerals Division, capture of relevant easement data, and reconciliation of the data with records maintained by DNR's conservation easement administrators. The stewardship plan was developed after test monitoring a sample of existing conservation easements and obtaining extensive input from a working group comprised of representatives of DNR divisions that administer conservation easements.

The inventory identified 13 DNR conservation easement types and a total of 974 conservation easements covering 355,623 acres. The stewardship plan outlines monitoring methods and monitoring frequency for each conservation easement type, estimates stewardship costs and identifies options for funding. Project results are detailed in the "Conservation Easement Stewardship and Enforcement Program Plan" dated Feb. 28, 2011.

Under a work program amendment, project staff converted scans of 600 conservation easements into a format for use in the new conservation easement monitoring application, developed GIS tools that identified subdivisions and ownership of 557 trout stream easements and created shapefiles for 170 conservation easements from legal descriptions. The Aug. 15, 2011 Final Report Supplement contains examples of these work products.

The database, forms, tools, and plans developed in this project provide the foundation for the DNR to implement an agency-wide conservation easement stewardship program.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Project results are currently being used by the DNR in several ways:

  • Conservation easement data entered into the DNR's existing land records system in the project are being used to respond to inquiries from DNR staff and the public about DNR's conservation easements.
  • A conservation easement Geographic Information Systems (GIS) layer developed by project staff and Division of Lands and Minerals GIS staff is available to all DNR ArcGIS users.
  • The DNR is beginning the process of implementing the conservation easement stewardship plan developed in the project.
  • Staff in divisions that administer conservation easements are currently using the baseline property report and monitoring forms developed in the project.
  • The DNR's land records system contractor, International Land Systems, Inc. (ILS), is using the baseline property report and monitoring forms developed in the project and input about application design provided through the project to build the conservation easement administration application in the DNR's new land records system.
  • Staff in divisions that administer conservation easements and project staff for the Conservation Easement Stewardship and Enforcement Program, Phase II will use shapefiles prepared under the Jan. 31, 2011 Work Program Amendment to create maps for baseline property reports and conservation easement monitoring.
  • The Division of Fish and Wildlife is in the process of merging its existing GIS layer, which contains trout stream easement shapefiles, with the geoprocessing tools developed in the project to identify subdivisions and current landowners. This will enable Fisheries staff statewide to access the subdivision and landowner data using ArcGIS.
  • All data entered into DNR's existing land records system in the project, as well as trout stream subdivision and landowner data and the Access database of easement terms created under the Work Program Amendment, will be migrated to and used in the new land records system currently being built by ILS.

Project results have been disseminated both within the DNR and to members of the public.

Project Publication:
Conservation Easement Stewardship and Enforcement Program Plan (PDF - 10.6 MB)


Project completed: 6/30/2011

Subd. 06  Environmental Education

Back to top of page

Waters of Minnesota Documentary on Watersheds
Subd. 06a      $349,000

Barbara Coffin
Bell Museum of Natural History - University of Minnesota
10 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:   (612) 624-4986
Email:   bcoffin@umn.edu
Fax:   (612) 626-7704
Web:   http://www.bellmuseum.org/

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The documentary film that resulted from this project, "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story", examines our relationship to the Mississippi River and its surrounding watershed through the competing interests of food, fuel, and environment. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus, fertilizers essential to the growth of plants, are contaminating the nation's rivers, lakes, and aquifers at the same time as precious soils wash away. The film tells the complex story of these troubled waters, both here in Minnesota and downstream as far away as the Gulf of Mexico, and highlights innovative solutions, such as high-tech farmers that practice precision agriculture and conservation farming methods; cattle farming while maintaining perennial cover on the landscape; and new technologies that hold water back on the land. Farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs offer new ideas for meeting the goals of an ambitious, food-producing nation while ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of one of its most precious resources: the Mississippi River and its watershed.

Engaging, serious, and hopeful documentary video has proven to be an innovative and effective environmental education tool that reaches a broad audience of students and adults. Following the successful model of the recent Emmy award-winning television series Minnesota: A History of the Land, this new documentary will be broadcast on public television and be available in DVD format for local distribution.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story will be broadcast on Twin Cities Public Television. Subsequent broadcasts are planned for the Minnesota Channel. Public television stations along the length of the Mississippi River will have the opportunity to air the film. A public premiere screening event is planned for October 3, 2010. The documentary is available in professional quality DVD format for educational uses. The DVD will be distributed to Mississippi River venues (e.g. the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Interpretive Center).

"Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story" was the winner of three 2011 Emmy Awards: Best Topical Documentary, Best Writer (Program - Non-news), and Best Editor (Program - Non-news).

View "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story" online for free on the Twin Cities Public Television website.


Project completed: 6/30/2010

Back to top of page

Global Warming - Reducing Carbon Footprint of Minnesota Schools
Subd. 06b      $750,000

William Sierks
MN Pollution Control Agency (PCA)
520 N Lafayette Road, Ste. 200
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 757-2722
Email:   bill.sierks@state.mn.us
Fax:   (651) 215-0246
Web:   http://www.pca.state.mn.us

Project Outcome and Results
Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon (MnSCC) is a three-year project that engaged over 7,000 students in 100 public high schools, colleges and universities across Minnesota to save energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at their schools.

Results: The 100 MnSCC schools collectively saved their schools about 5 million kWh of electricity (totaling 18 billion BTUs) and $325,000 in energy costs annually, which means the three-year program paid for itself in two and a half years. The project also avoided 9.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2 is a greenhouse gas).

In addition, 23 of the MnSCC schools received a total of $202,828 in competitive grants for renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling, and transportation reduction projects. Fourteen schools were able to measure and report savings of over 3 million kWh of electricity; 10,500 therms of natural gas; and 26,000 gallons of gasoline - totaling 14.4 billion BTUs. These projects saved approximately $300,000 in annual energy costs and avoided 6.2 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

The cumulative impact of all 100 MnSCC school projects saved schools 32.4 billion BTUs of energy, $625,000 in energy costs, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 15.7 million pounds, the equivalent of taking 1,700 cars off of Minnesota roads.

Our project team helped schools create clean energy teams, personally visited every school, provided individual school reports with recommendations on saving energy and resources, and gave students the opportunity to develop and lead energy-saving projects, network with other schools, and share success stories.

Student leadership was a key focus of our project, and there are many great examples of students having a direct impact on their schools and communities:

  • Students presented at the biennial Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) conference in St. Cloud in February 2011 to over 100 conference attendees over two days.
  • Students rallied in the State Capitol Rotunda on Earth Day 2010, meeting fellow students and several legislators.
  • Students presented before the LCCMR and the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee to talk about how their work has impacted their school.

Overall, MnSCC demonstrated that our students are highly motivated and very effective. They achieved significant energy savings, and they directly influenced their schools and communities through their leadership and interactions with school officials, teachers, fellow students, and community representatives.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
One of the primary objectives of this project was to raise awareness of energy issues and to implement low cost and no cost energy-saving actions in schools through the leadership of students. We also were focused throughout the project on creating opportunities for students to talk about their projects, share results, and for MnSCC to recognize their successes. A variety of resources, detailed in the final report, were created and made available to enable schools to take clean energy actions and make presentations to their communities and local officials. These resources were made available on a robust MnSCC website. Many schools also used the website to share their project success stories and post rleated text, pictures, and videos. Additionally, ongoing communication, outreach, and interaction with Minnesota's schools, colleges, and universities through a variety of means was at the heart of this project from beginning to end.


Project completed: 6/30/2011

Subd. 07  Establishment of an Emerging Issues Account

Back to top of page

Emerging Issues Account
Subd. 07      $155,000

Susan Thornton, Director
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.
Rm 65 State Office Bldg
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:   (651) 296-2406
Email:   susan.thornton@lccmr.mn.gov
Fax:   (651) 296-1321
Web:   https://www.lccmr.mn.gov

Funds will be used by the LCCMR to provide assistance for an unexpected, urgent, or emergency need where time is of the essence, as authorized in Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.08, subdivision 4, paragraph (d).


Statewide Ecological Ranking Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Other Critical Lands - $155,000 (completion date for this portion is 6/30/2010)

Other funds include:
M.L. 2007, Chp. 30, Sec. 2, Subd. 7 "Emerging Issues Account" - $13,000 (completion date for this portion is 6/30/2009)

M.L. 2009, Chp. 143, Sec. 2, Subd. 4g "Statewide Ecological Ranking of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Other Critical Lands" - $107,000 (Project due to be completed: 6/30/2011)

Project completed:  6/30/2011

100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 65 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155