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M.L. 2017 Projects

M.L. 2017 Projects

For the FY 2018 and FY 2019 biennium (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2019), approximately $50.8 million is available each year (total = $101,656,000) for funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Additionally, approximately $8.4 million in ENRTF funds remain available from FY 2017 for appropriation during the 2017 legislative session. In response to the 2017 Request for Proposal (RFP) 195 proposals requesting a total of approximately $159.6 million were received. Through a competitive multi-step process, 97 of these proposals, requesting a total of $70.4 million, were chosen to present to the LCCMR and 69 proposals were selected to receive a recommendation for funding to the 2017 MN Legislature. On 05/ 22/17 the Legislature adopted 63 of the recommendations, including 59 without any changes and 4 at a decreased dollar amount; deleted 7 of the recommendations; and added 2 new appropriations for a total of 65 appropriations. On 05/30/2017, 65 appropriations totaling $64,250,000, were signed into law by the Govenor as M.L. 2017, Chapter 96 for appropriation in FY17 ($8,428,000), FY18 ($50,733,000) and FY19 ($5,089,000).

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.

When available, we have provided links to web sites related to the project. The sites linked to this page are not created, maintained, or endorsed by the LCCMR office or the Minnesota Legislature.

MN Laws 2017, Chapter 96 (beginning July 1, 2017)

Chapter 96, Section 2

Other Formats of the M.L. 2017 projects adopted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor:

Jump to Project

When available, we have provided links to web sites related to the project. The sites linked to this page are not created, maintained, or endorsed by the LCCMR office or the Minnesota Legislature.

MN Laws 2017 Chapter 96, Section 2

Subd. 03Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information

County Geologic Atlases - Continuation

Subd. 03a     $2,000,000 TF (FY2017)

Barbara Lusardi
U of MN - MN Geological Survey
2609 Territorial Rd
St. Paul, MN 55114

Phone: (612) 626-5119
Email: lusar001@umn.edu
Web: http://www.mngs.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$2,000,000 in fiscal year 2017 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Geological Survey, to continue acceleration of the production of county geologic atlases for the purpose of sustainable management of surface water and groundwater resources. This appropriation is to complete Part A of county geologic atlases, which focuses on the properties and distribution of earth materials in order to define aquifer boundaries and the connection of aquifers to the land surface and surface water resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Geologic atlases provide maps and databases essential for management of water resources. Of the 16 county atlases covered by this grant, 5 are complete and 6 are past the halfway mark.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

The grant funds have been completely expended. This grant funded work in 16 counties including: Lake and St. Louis ($583,175), Kandiyohi ($225,315), Hennepin ($117,254), Hubbard ($100,206), Aitkin ($227,156), Isanti ($37,780), Cass ($110,692), Rock and Nobles ($261,732), Steele ($60,389), Pennington ($27,824), Lac Qui Parle ($53,801), Lincoln and Pipestone ($18,167), and Otter Tail ($106,227) counties. An additional $36,000 supported initiation of work in new project areas and $34,277 was spent to characterize glacial sediments using geochemistry. Atlases for Kandiyohi, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, and Cass are complete. At this time bedrock and surficial mapping in Lake and St. Louis counties is about 75% complete. Good progress has been made on associated databases. Federal cost-sharing has been applied to this work each year. Effort on Olmsted and Dodge counties have been shifted to another funding source, and both should be complete by the end of the summer. In Aitkin County, the bedrock map is nearly ready for review; the bedrock topography is about 75% complete. The Aitkin surficial map is nearly complete, and work on the cross sections and sand models is underway. For the Rock and Nobles CGAs the bedrock maps are about 85% complete and the bedrock topography is nearly ready for review. The surficial geology for both counties is complete, and the work on the cross sections and sand models is underway. Similarly, in Steele County all bedrock and surficial maps are near completion and work on the cross sections and sand models is underway. The work in Pennington, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln and Pipestone, and Ottertail counties is still in the early stages with mostly field work underway to support maps. We will conduct rotary sonic drilling in all of these counties (underlined) starting this fall. Counties that are not yet complete have been shifted to the LCCMR18 contract funding.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Completed atlas products have been posted to the MGS website and linked to the University’s Digital Conservancy as noted above. PDF products as well as all of the related GIS data are available on these pages.
In addition, the MGS hosts an Open Data Portal on which many of our county geologic atlases are presented as "Story Maps" that allow for direct access of the data without any special software or interface.

The Hennepin County workshop was held on April 22 at the County Library in Ridgedale. An article about the atlas and related workshop was published by the SWNewsMedia. Formal presentations for Cass and Hubbard counties were held on March 6 in Backus and Park Rapids, respectively. An update to the Cass County Board was held last summer and written up by the Echo Journal.

Assessment of Public Benefits of Protecting Source Water

Subd. 03b     $320,000 TF (FY2018)

Bonnie Keeler
U of MN
1954 Buford Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (651) 626-2120
Email: keeler@umn.edu
Web: http://z.umn.edu/keeler

Appropriation Language
$320,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to map and quantify source water risks, determine ecosystem service valuation of clean water, and provide analyses of equity and community capacity to improve decisions about the protection and management of groundwater and surface water. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Preserving Minnesota Prairie Plant Diversity - Phase II - RESEARCH

Subd. 03c     $900,000 TF (FY2018)

Ruth Shaw
U of MN
1987 Upper Buford Cir, 100 Ecology Bldg
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 624-7206
Email: shawx016@umn.edu
Web: http://www.cbs.umn.edu/eeb/faculty/ShawRuth/

Appropriation Language
$900,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to continue collecting and preserving germplasm of plants throughout Minnesota's prairie region, study the microbial effects that promote plant health, analyze local adaptation, and evaluate the adaptive capacity of prairie plant populations. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

We gathered seeds of prairie plants and shared them with producers who are expanding seed availability for restorations. We collected, identified and studied many microbes that prairie plants harbor, documenting their effects on their hosts. Our experiments have clarified the geographic scale of plant adaptation and genetics underlying ongoing adaptation.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Minnesota prairies harbor extraordinary diversity of plants and microbes, while also nurturing wildlife, retaining water and topsoil, and beautifying landscapes. Yet habitat loss threatens the persistence of the once vast prairies and their stunning biotic diversity. Limited understanding of this diversity and insufficient seed availability hinder sustainable management of this iconic Minnesota biome. We conducted Healthy Prairies (HP) Phase II to expand availability of seeds for prairie restorations and study approaches to increase success of restorations. Building on our prior accomplishments under ENRTF funding, we have:

  1. Preserved diverse seed from 57 rarer prairie species, gathering them from widely separated locations.
  2. Obtained, archived, and studied 2,600 naturally occurring microbial partners from two species.
  3. Gathered data to assess the geographic scale important to plant survival and reproduction in MN.

Our extensive collections of source-identified seeds and microbes across a wide range of MN’s prairie region help to conserve the diversity of MN prairies. We have provided seeds to seed producers, who have, in turn, used them in establishing fields and are seeking certification of the seeds that they obtain from them.

Our studies of effects of microbial associates on prairie plants have indicated that the bacteria providing nitrogen to prairie clover (Dalea purpurea, D. candida) disperse widely across MN prairies. Consequently, we can recommend to growers an inoculum that need not be site-specific. In contrast, the communities of fungi associated with roots of S. scoparium are spatially restricted, indicating that a regionally-based inoculum may be preferable.

We continued our large-scale experiment to elucidate the geographic scale of adaptation of six prairie species. We gathered extensive data from this experiment and began analyses of the data. We implemented experiments to investigate genetic structure of two populations of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), including genetic variance for fitness and the fitness consequences of inbreeding and of crossing between populations.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

HP team members have participated in varied opportunities to disseminate findings from this project. These include informal events to communicate with members of the public who are not all well-versed in science and may not be aware of prairies (Market Science), as well as workshops involving other scientists and land managers (Nature Conservancy ‘Science Slams’, Local Adaptation Workshop, held at UM-TC, March 2019, discussions of seed sourcing guidelines led by staff of MN DNR).

A paper providing an overview of the Local Adaptation Workshop has been published in New Phytologist (2020) 225:2246–2248. A manuscript reporting findings about geographic scale of local adaptation has been submitted to Restoration Ecology and has received positive reviews. A second manuscript reporting on a study that used focus groups to identify impediments to use of source-identified seeds for prairie restorations has been submitted to Restoration Ecology and has received positive reviews. Both manuscripts are under revision and will be resubmitted soon.

Minnesota Biological Survey - Continuation

Subd. 03d     $2,900,000 TF (FY2018)

Bruce Carlson
MN DNR
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 259-5083
Email: bruce.carlson@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/mcbs/index.html

Appropriation Language
$2,900,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for continuation of the Minnesota biological survey to provide a foundation for conserving biological diversity by systematically collecting, interpreting, monitoring, and delivering data on plant and animal distribution and ecology, native plant communities, and functional landscapes. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The Minnesota Biological Survey (MBS) collects, interprets and delivers foundational data on native plants, animals, plant communities and functional landscapes. These data help prioritize actions to conserve, manage and restore Minnesota's biological diversity and ecological systems.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

MBS baseline terrestrial plant field surveys occurred in Lake of the Woods, St. Louis and Koochiching counties within the Border Lakes, Littlefork-Vermilion Uplands, and Agassiz Lowlands subsections. MBS baseline aquatic lake plant surveys occurred in lakes in central Minnesota counties. Plant surveys documented numerous rare and notable terrestrial and aquatic vascular plant species. Native plant community surveys occurred in areas that are either representative of the native vegetation in these counties and subsections or are rare, unique or unusual for these areas. MBS field surveys were also targeted in other northern Minnesota counties to address questions stemming from GIS mapping of native plant communities and sites of biodiversity significance.

Pollinator surveys in MBS sites of biodiversity significance focused on native and rare moths and butterflies in far northern, northwest, and southeast Minnesota. Over 3,000 specimens of at least 900 species were collected, some of which have potential to be new state records.

Targeted surveys occurred in southeast, east-central, and northern forests in MBS sites of biodiversity significance to update and expand MBS data from surveys that occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s. Likewise, similar surveys occurred in the Prairie Province to document new sites or expand on previous MBS surveys from the 1980s. This work resulted in the documentation of many new and updated records of rare species and high quality native plant communities.

Updates and improvements to the DNR Rare Species Guide continued that rely heavily on MBS data and technical expertise arising from this a previous MBS ENRTF appropriations. The book, Sedges and Rushes of Minnesota, was published by the MN Press and the final manuscript for the book, Minnesota Red River Valley and Aspen Parkland - A Guide to Native Plant Communities, was submitted to the UMN Press for publishing.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

MBS data are stored in the DNR’s Natural Heritage Information System and biological specimens accessioned to the UMN Bell Museum of Natural History. This includes information on rare species, native plant communities, sites of biodiversity significance. MBS distributes survey results on the MBS website, DNR GIS QuickLayers, and MN Geospatial Commons. Presentations, technical guidance, biological reports, and published books are delivered that describe and interpret MBS results for use by local government units, conservation groups, citizen advisory groups, scientists, land managers, and students. MBS data, products, and staff expertise are used throughout the state to assist conservation decisions.

Minnesota Wildflowers Online Botanical Reference - Phase II

Subd. 03e     $270,000 TF (FY2018)

Katy Chayka
MN Wildflowers Information
1590 Long Lake Rd
New Brighton, MN 55112

Phone: (651) 399-4064
Email: kchayka@c-net.us
Web: http://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/

Appropriation Language
$270,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Minnesota Wildflowers Information to continue surveying and imaging plant species and publishing species profiles for a plant identification reference Web site available to the public and land managers. Images acquired and information compiled using these funds are for purposes of public information available on a Web site. If the organization is no longer able to maintain the Web site, the organization must work with the state and the University of Minnesota, Bell Museum of Natural History, to ensure the materials remain publicly available on the Web. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The Minnesota Wildflowers online botanical reference now covers over 80% of all Minnesota’s flora, providing the most complete, free, user-friendly plant resource for the state, targeting a wide range of users from all age groups and experience levels.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Minnesota Wildflowers, an online field guide to the plants of Minnesota, was launched in 2007 by an amateur botanist who grew frustrated with the lack of information and quality imagery specific to Minnesota's flora. The task of systematically seeking out each species, photographing the identifying characteristics, describing each in non-technical terms, and publishing on the web was undertaken with the goal of becoming a comprehensive reference for all of Minnesota's 2100+ plants. The need for such a reference, especially targeted to non-botanists, has been evident by the number and type of users of the website, virtually anyone asking such questions as: What is that plant? Is it native or a weed? How to distinguish it from similar plants? These users include natural resource managers, restoration specialists, educators from elementary school through university level, citizen scientists, native plant advocates, gardeners and the general public. In 2014 when initial funding began, 799 species (mostly forbs) had been published and the average traffic during peak season was 2,000 visits and 10,000 web pages viewed per day. During the 6-year funding period ending June 2020, the 2-member team traveled 65,000 miles visiting locations in nearly every Minnesota county, photographing over 1500 plant species. This field work resulted in significantly increased coverage. As of June 30, 2020, 1734 species have been published, 82% of all Minnesota’s vascular plants, including trees/shrubs, grass-like plants, ferns and aquatics. Traffic has more than tripled with average 8,000 visits and 33,600 pages viewed per day during 2020 peak season, increases of 60% and 45% respectively over 2017 when the second round of funding began. This clearly shows the website is a valued resource and the more species covered, the more valuable it becomes.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Usage of the website continues to grow; expectations are we will reach 1 million users in 2020. While word-of-mouth and Google searches are the source of much traffic, our web statistics show the single highest usage continues to come from the State of Minnesota, which includes multiple state agencies as well as the University of Minnesota. Our plant images are in high demand for other educational and outreach purposes, including interpretive signs, PowerPoint presentations and invasive species fact sheets, all of which promote the project via photo credits. Our field work puts us in contact with many state parks, nature centers and educational institutions across the state where we promote the project to their staff and visitors. During the past 3 years we collaborated with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on their native plant program, began discussions with the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association Foundation on contributing to their botany-related educational curriculum, manned a booth at the international Botany Conference in Rochester, had an interview on CCTV, and gave presentations about the project to Audubon, Wild Ones, and several other clubs and organizations. A marketing postcard was also developed and distributed to nature centers, educators, organizations and businesses across Minnesota.

Assessment of Microbes for Improving Wild Rice Restoration - RESEARCH

Subd. 03f     $334,000 TF (FY2018)

Chan Lan Chun
U of MN - NRRI
1405 University Drive SCiv 221
Duluth, MN 55811

Phone: (218) 788-2613
Email: chun0157@d.umn.edu
Web: http://www.nrri.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$334,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Natural Resources Research Institute, to evaluate the microbial communities and nutrients associated with wild rice and competing vegetation, with the goal of enhancing restoration success to increase the abundance of wild rice. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The project improved our understanding of microbial and nutrient associations with self-sustaining wild rice wetlands. This information will be useful to develop management strategies for wild rice restoration success, which will improve long-term protection of native species and aquatic biodiversity, and support management of Minnesota’s culturally and ecologically important natural resource.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Wild rice (Zizania palustris), a native emergent aquatic plant, has a multitude of ecological functions and high cultural and economic value in Minnesota. Wild rice was historically abundant in northern Minnesota but its abundance and distribution have been reduced due to various factors. There have been collaborative efforts to restore wild rice wetlands for improved wildlife habitat and increased opportunities for wild rice harvest. Despite ongoing efforts, restoration has been met with mixed success. Much research was conducted on surface water and sediment chemistry that is conducive to wild rice growth. However, one ecological component of the wild rice ecosystem that remains under-explored is microbial communities that are involved in processing key nutrients. This project characterized microbial communities associated with wild rice wetland. Wild rice and coexisting plant samples were collected from 7 wild rice wetlands along with water and sediment. High-throughput DNA sequencing analyses indicated that wild rice-associated microbial communities were distinct from those found in water and sediment. Moreover, the influence of surface/porewater chemistry and nutrients on the microbial communities were evaluated. The project outcomes will allow the restoration partners to understand why restoration efforts are successful or not and can be immediately transferable to restoration managers for the development of applicable restoration practices. Likewise, if beneficial microbial groups associated with self-sustainable wild rice beds were identified from this project, the methods to encourage their abundance and functions for wild rice growth are needed through seeding with inoculants derived from successful wild rice stands and sediment amendments. If coexisting or invasive species alter nutrients and microbial community structure unfavorable for wild rice fitness by imposing some degree of selective pressures, targeted species control is essential prior to current restoration efforts. This will be useful to for the partners to develop effective management strategies for wild restoration goals.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The project findings have been disseminated via reports to LCCMR, publications, and regional and national presentations at conferences. We held four meetings with wild rice managers and the project partners for field sampling plan, project progress, consultation and outcomes. The project findings were shared with the public through the university's news article, public outreach activities (e.g. Lake Superior Youth Symposium), and student stories. Moreover, microbial DNA sequences of environmental samples collected from wild rice wetlands were archived at National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Drainage Records Modernization Cost Share - Phase II

Subd. 03g     $540,000 TF (FY2018)

Mark Hiles
Board of Water and Soil Resources
520 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (507) 766-9818
Email: Mark.Hiles@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$540,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to facilitate statewide modernization of public drainage records under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 103E, and integrate new specifications into existing drainage records modernization guidelines through matching cost-share grants to drainage authorities. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Grants provided to 12 103E public drainage authorities to advance local drainage records preservation and use for enhanced system management and provide hydrographic data in the statewide GIS Database. All grantees set up an account with Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo) and uploaded public drainage system hydrography data to the Minnesota Geospatial Commons website.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Minnesota has an estimated 20,000 miles of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 103E public drainage ditches (Public Drainage Ditch Buffer Strip Study, Feb. 2006), and estimated thousands of miles of Chapter 103E public subsurface tile systems. Records for these public drainage systems are kept by the current 96 drainage authorities (a drainage authority (DA) can be a county, joint county board, or a Watershed district). The drainage system records are in various conditions, including deteriorating hard copy materials and scanned documents with limited electronic access.

Use of consistent GIS database capabilities are needed to advance local management of public drainage systems and to improve public access to statewide hydrographic data. Hydrographic data about the location, type (ditch or tile), dimensions and profiles of public drainage systems are often sought for watershed modeling and water planning but have not been easily accessible. Several hundred systems records containing several thousands of miles of open ditch and tile have been scanned, indexed, digitized and uploaded to local drainage databases and GIS layers as well as MnGeo Commons website. Many of the drainage authorities have completed this work for all systems in their jurisdiction, some have plans to continue their efforts until all systems are complete. A summary of the accomplishments from each grantee is in the attached spreadsheet.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

All grantee organizations and hydrography data can be found at the Minnesota Geospatial Commons public website. This link provides one location to find all the individual datasets. It lets people find the GIS data from which maps could be made, but there are no ready-made maps. In addition, all organizations have updated and posted easily accessible information on their organizational website and a link has been provided on the BWSR Drainage Records Modernization webpage. This has advanced local drainage records preservation and use for enhanced drainage system management and provided hydrographic data about these drainage systems in the statewide GIS database.

Groundwater Contamination Mapping

Subd. 03h     $400,000 TF (FY2018)

Hans Neve
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 757-2608
Email: hans.neve@state.mn.us
Web: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/waste/superfund-program

Appropriation Language
$400,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency to develop a Web-based interactive map of groundwater contamination to improve protection of groundwater resources for drinking water. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The Minnesota Groundwater Contamination Atlas maps areas of groundwater contamination concern and tells the contamination story in a way that is understandable to the general public and is meaningful for technical users. The Atlas currently includes 92 of the thousands of properties where environmental contamination may exist in Minnesota.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

In Minnesota 75% of the drinking water comes from groundwater, a source that is generally out of sight and out of mind. Minnesota properties that were once home to dry cleaners, metal plating shops, manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities in many cases have contaminated our groundwater from spills and leaks of hazardous chemicals. Frequently the contamination spreads off the property creating an area of groundwater contamination. When there has been contamination often costly treatment systems are needed to make the water suitable for use.

Information about the areas of groundwater contamination were contained in individual MPCA Superfund Program project files. The project was developed to expand access to information about groundwater contamination to improve protection of groundwater resources.

This project developed the Minnesota Groundwater Contamination Atlas. The Atlas maps areas of groundwater contamination concern and tells the contamination story in a way that is understandable to the general public and is meaningful for technical users. The Atlas also makes it easy for the public to download contamination testing results from individual wells. The Atlas establishes a public communication platform that can be expanded beyond the 92 superfund sites that were included in this project.

The project extracted well information from project files and loaded it into a state enterprise database,13,605 wells and loaded 3,700 groundwater contamination test results were loaded into the database. The data was used to map 92 contamination source areas and 60 distinct groundwater contamination areas of concern. For each source areas a contamination site story tells how the contamination happened, what the contaminants are, what cleanup work has been done, what additional cleanup work is planned, where drinking water in the area comes from, who to contact with questions and if there is related contamination in soil, sediments and underground vapor. A project development webpage and stakeholder group were utilized to help shape scope and format of the map contamination story elements of the Atlas.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

A project webpage was used to provide project development updates and solicit stakeholder feedback as project elements were developed. The webpage invited interested parties to subscribe to the GovDelivery email distribution list for the project. The GovDelivery list currently includes 832 subscribers. Outreach during the project also include presentation at professional conferences and stakeholder meetings. A recorded presentation of the project presentation at that 2019 Minnesota Groundwater Association (MGWA) Fall Conference “No Longer ‘out of Sight, Out of Mind- Making Groundwater Science Visible to Citizens and Clients” is available on the MGWA website.

Launch of the Minnesota Groundwater Contamination Atlas was communicated through the project Gov Delivery distribution list as well as MPCA social media platforms. As of August 3rd the Minnesota Groundwater Atlas website has been visited by 1,162 non-MPCA users.

Landslide Susceptibility, Mapping, and Management Tools

Subd. 03i     $500,000 TF (FY2018)

Karen Gran
U of MN, Duluth
1114 Kirby Dr
Duluth, MN 55812

Phone: (218) 726-7406
Email: kgran@d.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to create landslide susceptibility maps using a landslide inventory and quantitative analysis of LiDAR to provide tools and data for mitigation and restoration to reduce impacts on water resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Landslides in five regions across Minnesota were mapped and inventoried to identify geologic and topographic conditions vulnerable to slope failures providing resource and emergency managers with better predictive tools to guide land-use decisions. Landslides are a dominant source of sediment to regional waterways, occurring frequently along steep valley walls.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

In June 2014, widespread landslides occurred in south-central Minnesota; a similarly rainy period in 2012 caused two deaths. In June 2012, a two-day rain event in Duluth generated hundreds of landslides, extensively damaging Jay Cooke State Park and surrounding areas. In August 2007, a year’s worth of rain fell in 36 hours in southeastern Minnesota causing extensive landsliding. Weak clay soils in the Red River valley frequently fail, undermining homes and roads. All of these eroding, hazardous slopes present an acute natural resource and emergency management challenge, yet until now, the state lacked landslide hazard maps. Because mass wasting processes vary with geology, we defined five study areas in which we documented the distribution, failure mechanisms, and frequency of landslides in order to help resource managers make sound mitigation decisions.

Each region was mapped by a different partner institution using established data standards and protocols through: 1) historical research, 2) mapping known slides onto high-resolution lidar base maps, and 3) identifying additional landslides using lidar data; topographically-derived maps (slope, hillshade, and red relief); and aerial imagery. Slide sites were field-checked where possible for geology, hydrogeology, vegetation cover, and land use.

In northeastern Minnesota, where repeat lidar data were available, additional work was done. Repeat lidar data collected before and after a major 2012 storm event were properly aligned to allow erosion and deposition to be quantified, and Object-Based Image Analysis was used to define and classify types of change (erosion, deposition in different settings) across the landscape.

Landslide susceptibility modeling in that same, well documented area illuminated which landscape parameters were most important to slope stability: slope, distance to stream, and depth of glacial deposits overlying competent bedrock. The method developed in northeastern Minnesota can be applied to the other four areas of the state.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Project results were disseminated to local and regional stakeholders through presentations at meetings and to the scientific community through conference presentations. The full inventory database is being released through the U. S. Geological Survey with an accompanying U. S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet on Landslides in Minnesota. These products will be available to assist with emergency management planning and natural resource assessments of sediment loading in watersheds across the state. Details on landslide mapping methodologies and results across the state, and multitemporal lidar correction and Object-Based Image Analysis research in northeastern Minnesota will be published through publicly-available scientific papers.

Moose Calf Surveys and Monitoring

Subd. 03j     $348,000 TF (FY2018)

James Forester
U of MN
2003 Upper Buford Cir, 135 Skok Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 626-6721
Email: jdforest@umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$348,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to assess the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in natural resource monitoring of moose populations and changes in ecosystems.

Cedar Creek Natural Area Wolf Recolonization Assessment - RESEARCH

Subd. 03k     $398,000 TF (FY2018)

Forest Isbell
Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, U of MN
2660 Fawn Lake Drive NE
East Bethel, MN 55005

Phone: (612) 301-2601
Email: isbell@umn.edu
Web: https://www.cedarcreek.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$398,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, to assess wolf recolonization impacts on wildlife, biodiversity, and natural resources and provide educational opportunities at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Minnesota's wolves are expanding southward. A new pack recently recolonized Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, which is one of the best-studied ecosystems worldwide. Our project assessed costs (e.g., unwanted impacts on pets and livestock) and benefits (e.g., impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, educational opportunities) of this unassisted wolf recolonization.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Minnesota's wolves (Canis lupus) are expanding southward. A new pack recently became established at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (henceforth Cedar Creek), which is one of the best-studied ecosystems worldwide, located just north of the Twin Cities. The goals of our project were to assess costs (e.g., unwanted impacts on pets or livestock) and benefits (e.g., potential enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, educational opportunities) of this unassisted wolf recolonization. Our project achieved the following outcomes: (1) determine wolf movements inside and nearby Cedar Creek; (2) experimentally test the impacts of wolves on wildlife, biodiversity, and ecosystem functioning; and (3) provide educational programming to K-12 students and adults. We achieved these goals and outcomes by establishing a network of trail cameras, establishing a new experiment to assess wolf impacts on plants and soils, and bringing K-12 students to Cedar Creek for field trips and developing a website for engagement by citizen scientists. We found that wolf pack produced three litters of pups and grew to include up to 19 wolves, but was then lethally removed by federal trappers after preying on livestock and dogs (Mech et al. 2019). We also found that wolf cues shifted when, but not where, deer used the landscape (Palmer et al. 2021). Deer used risky areas at relatively safe times of the day, when wolves are typically less active, attenuating any cascading effects of wolves on plants or soils. Our Eyes on the Wild citizen science website has thus far engaged 12,625 registered citizen scientists who have provided 7,636,071 classifications of 4,153,218 images generated by our network of trail cameras. These data are being included in several national and global studies of wildlife (e.g., Suraci et al. 2021). More than 7,000 K-12 students and adults engaged in programming related to the project.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Project results have been widely disseminated. The Eyes on the Wild website has engaged 12,625 registered users (and thousands more non-registered users), who provided 7,636,071 classifications of 4,153,218 images from our cameras. Project information and results have been widely shared through in-person and online lectures, K-12 school programs and field trips, summer camps, community events, art shows, educational curricula, and local workshops which reached more than 7,000 community members over the lifetime of the project. Additionally, the project has generated four scientific publications, and regular coverage by local print, radio and television outlets.

Effects of Wolves Predation on Beaver, Moose, and Deer - RESEARCH

Subd. 03l     $293,000 TF (FY2018)

Steve Windels
Voyageurs National Park
360 Hwy 11 E
International Falls, MN 56649

Phone: (218) 283-6692
Email: steve_windels@nps.gov

Appropriation Language
$293,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Voyageurs National Park to assess the effects of wolf predation on beaver, moose, and deer in the Border Lakes region. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Mapping Taxonomy and Environmental Toxicology of Minnesota Freshwater Sponges - RESEARCH

Subd. 03m     $258,000 TF (FY2018)

Anthony Schroeder
U of MN, Crookston
2900 University Ave
Crookston, MN 56716

Phone: (218) 281-8252
Email: aschroed@crk.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
258,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Crookston, to determine freshwater sponge distribution, identify and quantify accumulated contaminants, and provide educational research opportunities to undergraduate students. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Our project identified freshwater sponges are widely distributed throughout Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Sponges are thought to be bio-indicators of good water quality, suggesting many rivers and lakes in Minnesota are of relatively good quality. We identified new species of freshwater sponges not described previously, so there is likely significant amounts of biological diversity not described in the state. As filter feeders, it doesn’t appear that freshwater sponges are accumulating pollutants that can be passed through the food chain.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Freshwater sponges are the simplest animals and play a vital role in the aquatic ecosystem by functioning as a filter feeder and providing habitat and nutrients for other aquatic life. As filter feeders, freshwater sponges could potentially accumulate pollutants and transfer them through the food chain to game fish and other economically important aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Furthermore, despite their importance, information on the distribution of freshwater sponges in Minnesota lakes and rivers is very limited. The primary goals of this project were to (1) determine the diversity and distribution of freshwater sponges in Minnesota’s water basins and watersheds and to (2) determine if these freshwater sponges are accumulating toxic pollutants.

From our sampling of freshwater sponges, we found freshwater sponges are widely distributed throughout the state of Minnesota. We sampled over one hundred locations and found freshwater sponges at over 75% of the locations sampled, resulting in a total of 169 individual freshwater sponges collected. The majority of the freshwater sponges collected are species that have previously been identified in the state. We identified one new species of freshwater sponge from this project, while potentially identifying a few more after additional follow-up analyses.

From the chemical analysis of collected sponges there does not appear to be an accumulation of pollutants within the sponge that could be passed through the food chain. Our chemical analysis did identify interesting and unique chemical compounds in the freshwater sponges that has the potential for having bioactivity and could be used for human purposes.

The results of this project showed that freshwater sponges are widely distributed in the state of Minnesota, supporting the notion that these animals are important for the freshwater ecosystem. We have identified new species of freshwater sponges, and importantly, it doesn’t appear that sponges are accumulating pollutants that could remain in the ecosystem. We were also able to train 18 undergraduate students in biological and chemical research. Many of these students have gone on to be scientists, nurses, doctors and other important jobs in Minnesota.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The dissemination of the project has occurred through multiple mediums. This project was highlighted in the Minnesota DNR’s Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine. The project has also been shared with the general public by being added to the Minnesota State Parks and Trails Geocaching Aquatic Quest. An important aspect of this project was providing research opportunities for our undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The research involvement by students was highlighted in a number of publications. This results of this project were also presented at multiple scientific and non-scientific conferences by faculty and students.

Pollinator Research and Outreach

Subd. 03n     $500,000 TF (FY2018 - $411,000 / FY2019 - $89,000)

Daniel P Cariveau
U of MN
1980 Folwell Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 624-1254
Email: dcarivea@umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$411,000 the first year and $89,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for pollinator research and outreach, including, but not limited to, science-based best practices and the identification and establishment of habitat beneficial to pollinators. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Subd. 04Water Resources

Assessment of Household Chemicals and Herbicides in Rivers and Lakes - RESEARCH

Subd. 04a     $236,000 TF (FY2018)

William Arnold
U of MN
500 Pillsbury Dr. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: (612) 625-8582
Email: arnol032@umn.edu
Web: http://personal.ce.umn.edu/~arnold/

Appropriation Language
$236,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to quantify environmental levels of household chemical and herbicide ingredients in rivers and lakes and assess their potential to form toxic by-products.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The levels of quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), which are used widely as disinfectants and for other purposes, were measured in Minnesota wastewaters and sediments. The QACs are present at microgram per liter levels in wastewater. While the QACs are slowly degraded in surface waters by bacteria and light, they accumulate in sediments. The QACs form specific suspected carcinogens during water disinfection in very low yield, and QACs are likely less important than other precursors for these toxins. The results provide information on current QAC levels and provide insights on how to lower them if desired.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Quaternary ammonium compound (QACs) are ingredients in personal care products, fabric softeners, disinfectants, and herbicides. QACs, which are biologically active molecules, are unintentionally and intentionally released into the environment. QACs kill bacteria and may affect microbial communities in wastewater treatment and algal communities in surface waters. In this study, the levels of QACs in the effluent from 12 wastewater treatment plants were determined. Plants with more advanced treatment processes had lower levels of QACs. Sediment samples in a lake demonstrated potential inputs from both municipal wastewater effluent and agricultural sources for QACs. In sediment cores taken from lakes, two distinct trends over time were observed. In lakes with large watersheds and mixed domestic and industrial wastewater sources, peak concentrations of QACs were found at depths corresponding to deposition in the 1980s and decreases after this time are attributed to improved wastewater treatment and source control. In a smaller lake with predominantly domestic wastewater inputs, concentrations of QACs increased slowly over time. In surface waters, QACs were found to degrade by reaction with reactive species (hydroxyl radicals) generated by sunlight and by microbial processes. Even with these loss processes, QACs likely persist from days to weeks in the water, leading to their deposition in the sediments. QACs were found to form low levels of a carcinogenic class of compounds (nitrosamines) when reacted with a drinking water disinfectant (chloramine), but this would be of greatest concern in wastewater potable reuse scenarios. The overall results of the work indicate that QACs are being released by wastewater treatment plants. Once in the environment, degradation by bacteria and by sunlight can occur in surface waters, but accumulation in sediments, where the QACs are persistent, is likely the main removal process. During the wastewater disinfection process QACs can form a carcinogen, but QACs are not as important as other chemicals known to form nitrosamines. The findings allow more robust assessment of potential impacts of QACs and insight into wastewater treatment processes that lead to removal, which is important given the increasing use of QACs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Three papers were published: 1) the detection of QACs in wastewater and sediment (the paper and data set are available online); 2) Photolysis of QACs; and 3) Potential environmental impacts of elevated QAC usage during the COVID-19 pandemic (available online through ACS Publications or PubMed Central). A public lecture that incorporated data for the project was also given at the U of MN, and it is available on YouTube.

Wastewater Nitrogen Removal Technology to Protect Water Quality - RESEARCH

Subd. 04b     $450,000 TF (FY2018)

Paige Novak
U of MN
500 Pillsbury Dr SE, 122 Civil Engineering Bldg
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: (612) 626-9846
Email: novak010@umn.edu
Web: http://www.ce.umn.edu/people/faculty/novak/

Appropriation Language
$450,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop a technology for inexpensive low-energy nitrogen removal in wastewater. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

A group of bacteria (“anammox”) have received attention for their potential in wastewater treatment, transforming harmful reactive nitrogen into harmless dinitrogen gas. However, anammox perform poorly in typical wastewater environments. In this project we developed new materials to selectively enhance anammox growth/retention, supporting more sustainable removal of harmful nitrogen.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Anammox bacteria have received attention for their ability to completely transform harmful reactive nitrogen compounds in wastewater into harmless dinitrogen gas. In addition, when using anammox bacteria, much less oxygen and no supplemental carbon is needed for nitrogen removal, and there is little production of excess biomass in the form of sludge. This reduces costs and energy use for nitrogen removal. It is estimated that the anammox process saves 60% of the energy used in conventional nitrogen removal. Unfortunately, this process has been difficult to implement in typical wastewater systems. Anammox bacteria are slow growing and the ammonium and carbon concentrations in wastewater result in low anammox activity and competition from faster growing bacteria. This leads to the washout of anammox bacteria. In this collaborative research project, our goals were to develop new polymeric materials that could concentrate ammonium to create localized niches for anammox enrichment and retention. We developed two different materials in this project: (1) a porous polymer carrier and (2) a gas-permeable alumina membrane. Both materials were able to concentrate ammonium, while the membrane could also transfer low quantities of oxygen to the surrounding solution. Both materials were also able to enrich and retain anammox when added to a wastewater environment. Further optimization of these materials is needed to enable scale-up and deployment. Nevertheless, given that in the US, the energy used for wastewater treatment costs approximately $2B a year, the predicted energy savings if this technology was implemented would be significant. The impact within the state of Minnesota would also be large, saving millions of dollars and providing more complete removal of harmful nitrogen species. A patent was awarded and the University of Minnesota is exploring commercialization and licensing options. Three peer-reviewed manuscripts were published from this work and have been submitted to the LCCMR.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Information from this project has been shared with several water technology companies who may be able to assist in optimizing and eventually deploying this technology. As stated above, three peer-reviewed manuscripts were published from this work and have been submitted to the LCCMR. Multiple presentations about the research have been given to both regional and national/international conferences. Additional funding is being sought from a large infrastructure company. We anticipate submitting a proposal to the National Science Foundation for additional funding. The University of Minnesota Technology Commercialization Office is working with us to further the technology.

Rearing Native Mussels for Reintroduction and Expanding Water Quality Awareness

Subd. 04c     $591,000 TF (FY2018)

Seth Stapleton
Minnesota Zoological Garden
13000 Zoo Blvd
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Phone: (952) 431-9443
Email: seth.stapleton@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.mnzoo.org

Appropriation Language
$591,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Minnesota Zoological Garden in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources to accelerate the reintroduction of native mussels into Minnesota rivers and streams through expanded mussel rearing, research, and statewide educational activities promoting mussel conservation and water quality. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The Minnesota Zoo increased capacity for rearing mussels to more than 10,000 individuals and researched methods to improve husbandry, enabling us to better support efforts to recover depleted populations. The Show Us Your Mussels challenge engaged >2,200 students, with student-created content reaching >150,000 citizens and encouraging action to benefit conservation.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Native mussels are aquatic engineers, providing important ecosystem services such as water filtration and creating habitat for fish and other wildlife. However, many populations are depleted in Minnesota due to factors such as overharvest and pollution. With this project, the Minnesota Zoo sought to support state-wide recovery efforts led by the DNR and improve mussel conservation by 1) increasing our capacity to rear juvenile mussels for reintroduction; 2) advancing our understanding of mussel husbandry to improve the growth and survival of individuals in our care; and 3) raising public awareness about and encouraging action to benefit our aquatic resources.

We constructed a new mussel rearing and research facility on the Zoo’s campus and installed associated systems for housing mussels. These improvements significantly increased our capacity for rearing mussels; we currently have space to accommodate >65,000 newly transformed mussels, surpassing our target of 10,000 individuals. This expansion significantly increases our conservation impact and positions us to better support ongoing recovery efforts that will restore ecosystem services.

We also conducted experiments to evaluate how substrate affects growth and survival of juvenile mussels. Our research documented that the presence of fine sand in rearing pans significantly increases growth rates for some species. As such, we have modified our husbandry methods to incorporate this finding, which will yield larger individuals more suitable for reintroduction and ultimately may accelerate reintroduction efforts.

To encourage local communities to take action on behalf of water quality, we established the Show US Your Mussel Challenge. This project engages middle and high school students in the creation of social media campaigns to expand communications efforts throughout local communities. To date, >2,200 students have participated in the challenge, sharing information about the importance of mussels, Minnesota’s aquatic resources, and actions the public can take to protect Minnesota’s waterways with >150,000 residents.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Communicating the importance of native mussels and water quality was a key goal of this project. The Minnesota Zoo engaged with Minnesotans to share information about mussels, their conservation, and stewardship of aquatic resources via a variety of platforms, ranging from in-person and virtual presentations at schools, camps, and other forums to free school curriculum and teacher professional development in association with the Show Us Your Mussels challenge. We developed an interpretive area on Zoo campus, outfitted with signs, videos, and a water quality activity, shared research findings at scientific meetings and hosted Smart Salt workshops to reduce salt use.

Water Quality Monitoring in Southeastern Minnesota Trout Streams

Subd. 04d     $500,000 TF (FY2018)

Neal Mundahl
Winona State University
175 W Mark St W
Winona, MN 55987

Phone: (507) 457-5695
Email: nmundahl@winona.edu
Web: http://www.winona.edu

Appropriation Language
$500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Winona State University, to develop a system of biological monitoring for water quality protection of trout streams in southeastern Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Strobin fungicides were detected in most water samples from the Whitewater River in southeastern Minnesota. Many citizen scientists were trained and continue to monitor stream sites. Stream habitats and fish and aquatic invertebrate communities ranged from excellent to poor, based largely on upstream versus downstream location and adjacent land uses.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Water quality in many trout streams in southeastern Minnnesota has been compromised by rain-event runoff, exposing sensitive trout to mixtures of eroded soils, pesticides, urban stormwaters/wastewaters, and animal wastes. The main goal of this project was to better protect at-risk streams by developing an improved water-quality monitoring infrastructure and network within the Whitewater River system. This was achieved by:

  • Automated Water Sampling - establishing both continuous and rain-event sampling throughout 3 at-risk trout stream reaches (North, South, Middle Forks of the Whitewater River),
  • Citizen Scientists - training an action network of citizen scientists to respond to episodic run-off events and to monitor water quality and aquatic life in these and additional trout stream reaches, and
  • Baseline Surveys - conducting inclusive biotic inventories of fish and aquatic invertebrate communities throughout entire at-risk watersheds for broader, complete delineation of baseline conditions.

Water sampling detected various strobin fungicides in >80% of rain event and low-flow samples, with some concentrations above toxic levels for aquatic life. Strobin concentrations were higher in rain-event samples, but concentrations could not be predicted by rain volume or season. Increased monitoring and better chemical management are needed in these and other watersheds to protect our coldwater ecosystems.

More than 30 citizen scientists have been trained to monitor stream water quality and aquatic invertebrate communities with the Whitewater River and nearby stream systems. They assess their chosen stream sites four times per year, and upload their findings directly to the Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Streams web portal. In addition to regular seasonal monitoring, citizen scientists can respond to sudden events (e.g., floods, fish kills) to gather additional information as needed.

Based on surveys at 62 sites, stream habitats and biotic communities ranged from excellent to poor, influenced largely by upstream/downstream location, adjacent land uses, and proximity of springs.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Results from our project were the basis for two MS theses completed at Winona State University, and a chapter of a PhD dissertation completed at the University of Minnesota. At least two papers reporting our findings will be published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Our 30+ trained citizen scientists have reported and will continue to report their stream monitoring data to the Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Streams web portal, where they are continually available to the public.

Project results also have been reported to the scientific community at seven different state, regional, and national science meetings.

Reassessing Toxicity of Petroleum Spills on Ground and Surface Water - RESEARCH

Subd. 04e     $300,000 TF (FY2018)

Dalma Martinovic-Weigelt
St. Thomas University
2115 Summit Ave, OWS 390
St. Paul, MN 55105

Phone: (651) 962-5233
Email: mart6831@stthomas.edu
Web: http://www.stthomas.edu/biology/research/environmental-toxicology.html

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the University of St. Thomas to reassess long-term effects of oil spills through the analysis of chemical parameters related to oil degradation and evaluate the impacts on aquatic species, groundwater, and surface waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2021, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The groundwaters contaminated with chemicals from the decades-old crude oil spill and/or their breakdown products can adversely affect development and hormone and liver functioning if vertebrates were to be exposed to them sufficiently. This project advanced understanding of oil spill remediation and will help protect Minnesota’s natural resources/drinking water sources.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

A fundamental issue in protecting ecosystem health in Minnesota is the degree to which waters impacted by, relatively common, petroleum releases (e.g., oil or gasoline spills) are toxic, both initially and over time as the oil breaks down into new chemicals. This study was the first to comprehensively screen the toxicity of groundwater from an aged crude oil spill site. The National Crude Oil Spill Fate and Natural Attenuation Research Site near Bemidji, MN is the site of a 1979 pipeline rupture that released 10,000 barrels of crude oil. This site has been extensively studied for over 40 years offering a unique opportunity to study the toxicity of groundwaters impacted by crude oil. Groundwater samples (collected 2016-2019) were analyzed for over 90 different chemical and toxicity parameters using cutting-edge techniques where living cells were exposed to water samples and screened for potential toxic effects. Analysis of the molecular/toxicity targets that were activated in cells indicated that (even 40+ years after the spill) the groundwaters contaminated with chemicals from the original spill and/or chemicals resulting from the breakdown of the oil compounds have the potential to cause adverse impacts on development, endocrine, and liver functioning if vertebrates (fish, turtles, birds, mammals) were to be exposed to them sufficiently. This work clearly shows the need to improve understanding of the identity and toxicity of oil breakdown products. Furthermore, this work shows that commonly used sampling and analysis methods (including sample extraction and clean-up protocols) can exclude or under-represent oil breakdown products and thus may underestimate risks from these chemicals. This finding is of importance to remediation managers and regulators in Minnesota and nationally because there is an active debate as to which methods and protocols are most suitable for hazard and risk assessment at petroleum spill sites.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

We published three research manuscripts, presented at numerous research conferences, and raised awareness of the issue with Minnesotans statewide (reached circa 1200 individuals at the State Fair exhibits). We introduced oil industry, and managers and regulators in MN and nationally to a new toolbox of novel cell and artificial intelligence approaches that can streamline hazard assessment and facilitate identification of chemicals/hazards of concern and enhance oil spill remediation monitoring. Results of our work are relevant to Minnesotans as the analyses conducted herein advance an understanding of oil spill remediation and will help protect Minnesota’s natural resources/drinking water sources.

Assessment of Water Quality for Reuse

Subd. 04f     $148,000 TF (FY2018)

Satoshi Ishii
U of MN
1479 Gortner Ave, 140 Gortner Labs
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 624-7902
Email: ishi0040@umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$148,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to collect and analyze pathogen data for evaluation of water reuse in order to maximize water reuse and protect groundwater and surface water quality.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The outcome of this project will help expand the water reuse in Minnesota, which can reduce demands on groundwater aquifers and improve surface water quality.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Reusing water will reduce demands on groundwater aquifers and improve surface water quality. However, public perception of health risks associated with microbiological contaminants remains a key barrier to the expansion of water reuse. The goal of this project is to maximize the potential of water reuse in Minnesota by eliminating barriers to water reuse implementation. In this project, water quality of 25 water reuse systems around Minnesota was assessed by quantifying potential human pathogens. At each reuse facility, water samples were collected at the source and when available at the distribution site such as an irrigation tap. When treatment steps were in place, water samples were also collected before and after the treatment. Samples were collected more than once for some reuse facilities. As a result, 90 water samples were collected from the 25 sites. Bacterial and viral pathogens in these water samples were quantified using a high-throughput method. Most of the water samples did not contain detectable levels of pathogens. Some pre-treatment wastewater samples, contained potential human pathogens such as norovirus. Based on a preliminary quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) for norovirus, the risk for illness and infection is considerable for these samples. However, advanced water treatment removed these pathogens to the levels considered low risk of infection and illness for reuse. Due to the complexity of QMRA analyses and the variability of the results, the risk assessment is only done for norovirus. Potential health risks associated with pathogens other than norovirus should be analyzed in the future.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

This project has produced two presentations: one at the EPA’s webinar on “Water Reuse and Reclaimed Water” and one at a national conference (Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors [AEESP] Conference). Two publications are being prepared: one as a peer-review journal publication and one as a white paper published from Minnesota Department of Health. These publications will be freely available to the public.

The outcomes of this research have been used to expand our water reuse research. MN Stormwater Research Council has provided additional funding to continue and expand the water reuse research. In addition, the outcome obtained in this project will be shared with other state and federal agencies (EPA, MPCA, etc.) as well as private sectors to establish safe water reuse in MN and other states.

Identification of Chemicals of Emerging Concern in Minnesota Fish - RESEARCH

Subd. 04g     $400,000 TF (FY2018)

Seth Moore
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
27 Store Rd
Grand Portage, MN 55605

Phone: (218) 370-9310
Email: samoore@boreal.org

Appropriation Language
$400,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to identify chemicals of emerging concern and metals in fish, water, and sediments from approximately 30 water bodies in northeastern Minnesota used for subsistence harvest and recreation. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

This is the first study to comprehensively analyze Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) within fish tissues, waters, and sediments in 28 Minnesota lakes and in Lake Superior. We found 117 CECs with 101 found in water samples, 67 in sediments, and 35 in fish tissues.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

This is the first study to comprehensively analyze a large suite of Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) across the three media of fish tissues, water, and sediment in a broad geographic extent in northern Minnesota. CEC’s are pharmaceuticals and personal care products that can linger in the environment and have been shown to affect behavioral and reproductive health of aquatic life. This study was focused on fish species and water bodies used for subsistence by the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa and recreational users of northeastern Minnesota. We described the spatial distribution of CEC occurrences in 25 Minnesota lakes and in Lake Superior. We consider our most important findings to be the number of detections and the classes of CECs that were detected. We found 117 CECs across all media types with 101 found in water samples, 67 in sediments, and 35 in fish tissues. The pharmaceutical classes that were most frequently detected included hormones (100% of sites), DEET insect repellent (100% of sites), antidepressants (80% of sites), and antimicrobials (80% of sites). These results were derived from surface water samples, sediment samples, and fish samples of walleye/yellow perch in inland lakes and lake trout/cisco from Lake Superior. We also related measures of fish health and parasite loading to CECs and land use. Our findings are consistent with early literature on CECs in Minnesota lakes that studied water samples only. We used Aquatic Toxicity Profiles (ATPs) to identify those chemicals that may pose risks to aquatic life. ATPs provide an overview of chemical-specific information such as acute toxicity, endocrine activity, physicochemical properties, and occurrence information in the aquatic environment. We found that even in undeveloped sites that had a fewer number of total contaminants, they often had a high percentage of high priority contaminants. More work is needed to determine the effects of CECs on aquatic life.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

A video was developed from this project and posted to YouTube. There were three radio broadcasts on this work, WTIP, Grand Marais in 2016, WTIP, Grand Marais in 2017, and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) in 2020. Various online and paper media outlets reported on this work as well including: The Circle (Part One and Part Two of their two-part series), The Minnesota Daily, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine News, Medium, City Pages, and the Grand Rapids Herald Review.

Techniques for Water Storage Estimates in Central Minnesota

Subd. 04h     $250,000 TF (FY2018)

John Nieber
U of MN
1390 Eckles Ave, Rm 203
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 625-6724
Email: nieber@umn.edu
Web: https://wiki.umn.edu/view/Water_Sustainability

Appropriation Language
$250,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to improve water storage estimates in groundwater, soil moisture, streams, lakes, and wetlands through integration of satellite monitoring and ground-based measurements in central Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

A combination of ground-based monitoring and satellite data were used to quantify freshwater in Central Minnesota. Quantification of stored water is essential to improve water resources management and planning.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Our freshwater resources reside in surface water bodies (ponds, wetlands, lakes, streams/rivers) and subsurface water reservoirs (soil and groundwater aquifers). Management of these freshwater resources has always been a challenge because we do not have a good idea of how much water is stored in these various entities. The objective of this project was to improve the methods for real-time quantification of the amount of water stored in these entities using existing ground-based measurement networks as well as satellite data. The study region stretched from St. Paul to Moorhead, and encompassed 17 HUC-8 watersheds. The study region has an area of about 53,000 km3. We collected archived ground-based measurements including streamflows, observation wells, and lake levels for the period 2002-2015. We also acquired satellite data from the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), SMOS/SMAP, and Landsat satellites. The GRACE satellite provides data on the total water stored in the earth. The spatial resolution of the data used in this study was 100 km by 100 km. The SMOS/SMAP satellites provide a measure of the surface soil moisture over areas of about 36 km by 36 km. The Landsat satellite provides visual images at a scale of 30 m, and can be used for measuring the surface area of individual lakes; this surface area data can be used to estimate the volume of water stored in a given lake at a given moment in time. The project demonstrated that the variation in total water storage can be monitored by the GRACE satellite, and variations in lake storage can be monitored by the Landsat satellite. For the period 2002-2015 the estimates of time-averaged water storage is 1,500 km3 for groundwater in the Quaternary (surficial) aquifer, 15 km3 for lakes, 20 km3 for soil moisture, and 1.5 km3 for wetlands. The GRACE satellite became inoperable in late 2017, far exceeding the original planned life for the satellite. However, in May 2018 a new satellite, GRACE-FO (GRACE-Follow On) was launched and it now is providing the same information about total water storage. One of the outcomes of this project is a new research activity to test the utility of water storage information gained from the GRACE-FO satellite to forecast flooding and hydrological droughts in Minnesota.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The project results have been presented at a number of different forums including the Minnesota Water Resources Conference (October 2019), the Water Resource Sciences Graduate Seminar at the University of Minnesota (September 2019), and the Western Regional Project 4188 Meeting in Las Vegas (January 2020). Two MSc theses were completed based on the work in the project, and the work of two Ph.D. students got started (one to finish in December 2020 and the other to finish in December 2021) based on work in the project.

A methodology for quantifying the volume of water in a lake based on the surface area of a lake was adapted from previous work and was tested during this project for the project study region. This tested methodology was then used in a separate LCCMR funded project in which the volumes of lakes across the State of Minnesota were estimated. This objective of this other project was to use remote sensing to quantify the water quality of lakes and the lake volume estimates were needed to examine lake processes affecting lake water quality.

A methodology was developed for quantifying the volume of water stored in the Quaternary aquifer spanning across the study region. The methodology uses observation well data and lake level data to map the water table across the region. This methodology will be shared with the MNDNR, but also it will also now be used in some immediate future research to assess the water table mapping in quantifying the forecasting of floods, and possibly in forecasting hydrologic droughts.

Assessing Release of Mercury and Sulfur on Aquatic Communities

Subd. 04i     $300,000 TF (FY2018)

Ed Nater
U of MN
1991 Upper Buford Cir, 439 Borlaug Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 625-9734
Email: enater@umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to determine the effects of increased temperatures on the release of mercury and sulfur from Minnesota peatlands to predict impacts on aquatic communities and fish health. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Objectives were to determine if peatland degradation from increased temperatures will exacerbate mercury and sulfur impairments of surface waters. Results predict slightly decreased export of sulfate and methylmercury, slightly increased export for total mercury, and large increases in mercury volatilization to the atmosphere, with negligible local impact to surface waters.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Mercury contamination of surface waters constitutes a human and ecological health problem in Minnesota. Peatlands have accrued substantial quantities of mercury and sulfur from atmospheric deposition over thousands of years. Will they become sources of legacy contamination to the environment if peatlands degrade under future, warmer climates, as hypothesized? Increased export of mercury and sulfur to surface waters could further contaminate already impaired surface waters and exacerbate existing human health problems in northern Minnesota. The study was conducted at the SPRUCE ecosystem warming research site located on a bog north of Grand Rapids, MN. We collected peat outflow waters and peat porewaters from multiple depths in the bog from 2017-2019 and analyzed them for total mercury, methylmercury, and sulfate concentrations. We also measured rates of volatilization of mercury to the atmosphere with passive atmospheric mercury collectors. Regional climate estimates from the USGS Climate Change Viewer were used to estimate future changes in peatland water export, which is predicted to decrease by about 15% by 2100. Methylmercury and sulfate concentrations were unaffected by temperature, whereas total mercury increased approximately 15% with a 9°F increase. When combined with a small decrease in water export, methylmercury and sulfate exports should remain the same or decrease slightly from current levels. Total mercury exports are expected to remain the same or increase no more than 10-20%. Warmer temperatures caused large increases in mercury volatilization rates to increase to the point where peatlands becoming sources of mercury to the atmosphere. Overall, future environmental and human health impacts from peatlands to surface waters should be relatively similar to current day impacts. Increased mercury release to the atmosphere will have negligible local to regional impacts.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Numerous oral presentations have been given to citizen groups, high school and college classes, the Minnesota Tribal Environmental Council, TV news and interest programs, and numerous visitors to the SPRUCE project site. Project members have also made presentations at national and international scientific meetings and to the SPRUCE project annual meetings. Three peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts of related work have been published and a fourth is in revision. Future plans are to share our final report to the ad hoc state agency mercury group (MPCA, MDH, MDNR) and the Minnesota Tribal Environmental Council and to meet with them if desired.

Subd. 05Environmental Education

Connecting Youth to Minnesota Waterways through Outdoor Classrooms

Subd. 05a     $1,200,000 TF (FY2018)

Nell Holden
Wilderness Inquiry
808 14th Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone: (612) 676-9400
Email: nell@wildernessinquiry.org
Web: http://www.wildernessinquiry.org

Appropriation Language
$1,200,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Wilderness Inquiry to provide place-based environmental education science water experiences to approximately 20,000 middle- and high-school students. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The Floating Classroom served more than 25,000 Minnesota youth by creating opportunities to engage in environmental science through accessing Minnesota waterways and public lands. Youth assessed natural resources, collected scientific data, developed a stewardship ethic, and learned about outdoor employment opportunities, becoming Minnesota’s next generation of natural resource protectors.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

All told since the beginning of the project in June 2017, Wilderness Inquiry’s Floating Classroom connected more than 25,714 Minnesota youth to environmental science and Minnesota’s abundant waterways and public lands.

On live outdoor events, Wilderness Inquiry’s Floating Classroom served 24,421 diverse Minnesota youth through placed-based, educational experiences, creating opportunities to engage in environmental science through accessing Minnesota waterways and public lands. Of these youth, 23,600 youth engaged in hands-on exploration, recreation and assessment of said waterways and public lands and 821 youth participated in a multi-day expedition, learning to restore and maintain public lands and discover pathways into outdoor-related employment.

When COVID-19 forced Minnesota schools into distanced learning and limited the gathering of groups, the Floating Classroom quickly pivoted to meet the needs of educators and families educating and learning from home. Wilderness Inquiry’s Online Learning Resources were created and this website has been visited by 1,254 unique visitors. Some highlights include pages dedicated to Environmental Science and Natural Resources (visited by 353 visitors) and Jobs in the Outdoors (visited by 126 visitors). The full scope of these resources goes much further with downloadable activities and additional pages being shared among virtual classrooms.

As COVID-19 continued to impact the Floating Classroom’s ability for in person programming through summer 2020, Wilderness Inquiry and the National Park Service partnered together to create a free virtual summer camp to connect youth to the mysteries of the Mississippi River. 39 Minnesota Youth took part in this camp focused on the ecology of the Mississippi River.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

While participating in Floating Classroom activities, students collected water quality data and this data was reported back and disseminated through a citizen science online portal Canoe Quest via GLOBE, a national database for citizen science.

Wilderness Inquiry worked with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate the project. CAREI produced two reports over the course of the three years which were shared directly with partners and stakeholders, presented at conferences, and can be found on the Wilderness Inquiry website.

Lastly, many local media outlets covered the Floating Classroom’s arrival throughout the state. Many of these are included in the Wilderness Inquiry blog, including this story from MPR.

Increasing Diversity in Environmental Careers

Subd. 05b     $487,000 TF (FY2018)

Denise Legato
MN DNR
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 259-5317
Email: denise.legato@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$487,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources in cooperation with Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa to encourage a diversity of students to pursue careers in environment and natural resources through internships and mentorships with the Department of Natural Resources, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the Pollution Control Agency. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Interactive Water Resource Programs for Planetariums Minnesota

Subd. 05c     $500,000 TF (FY2018)

Sally Brummel
U of MN - Bell Museum of Natural History
10 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: (612) 624-8146
Email: sbrummel@umn.edu
Web: http://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Bell Museum of Natural History, to create an interactive planetarium program on water resources, reaching approximately 400,000 citizens statewide through the Bell Museum Planetarium, St. Paul Public Schools, Mayo High School, Mankato East High School, Southwest Minnesota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and University of Minnesota Duluth. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Expanding Raptor Center Online Education

Subd. 05d     $270,000 TF (FY2018)

Julia Ponder
U of MN
1920 Fitch Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 624-3431
Email: ponde003@umn.edu
Web: http://www.TheRaptorCenter.org

Appropriation Language
$270,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Raptor Center, to provide environmental education for approximately 15,000 middle-school students and 600 teachers, combining classroom learning and outdoor experiences with technology, scientific investigation of birds, and conservation projects. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Expanding Raptor Center Online Education reached 520 teachers in 28 counties throughout Minnesota serving more than 15,000 students with a state-of-the-art education program to engage students in authentic outdoor learning and science to equip and inspire Minnesota’s next generation of conservationists.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

If Minnesota students are to grow into adults who are capable of making meaningful contributions to conservation, both they and their teachers need effective tools to foster meaningful outdoor experiences. This project expanded Raptor Center Online Education to give both teachers and students those much-needed tools with a goal of facilitating experiential outdoor learning and inspiring conservation mind-sets.

The major project objectives were to expand a current education program (Raptor Lab) to support students in conducting an investigation, provide teachers with demonstrations on how to use the learning module, and bring in environmental education experts to teach teachers skills and techniques to facilitate meaningful outdoor learning experiences for their students.

We partnered with University of Minnesota Extension and Learning Technologies Media Lab to build an interactive environment for students, based on a proven curriculum developed by Extension, Driven to Discover. We created a web-based interactive version titled “Outdoor Investigator.” Outdoor Investigator is six-part educational tool engaging students, step-by-step, though the scientific method to complete an outdoor investigation.

Once Outdoor Investigator was completed, The Raptor Center, Extension, Eagle Bluff and Wolf Ridge worked together to design and develop teacher demonstrations. Demonstrations explored each section of Outdoor Investigator, the technology and functionality of the online environment, integrated outdoor teaching techniques, and expanded Teacher Toolbox with extra materials and resources. Three model conservation projects were also created and included in the Teacher Toolbox to guide teachers in the process of conducting a Citizen Science-based outdoor investigation.

Over the course of the 2018 – 2019 school year demonstrations were provided to 520 teachers in 28 counties throughout Minnesota. These teachers will serve an estimated population of 15,000 to 25,000 students. Minnesotans will benefit from this work when as many as 25,000 children a year, throughout the state of Minnesota, engage in authentic and meaningful learning experiences in their local environment to inspire our next generation of scientists and future conservationists.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Throughout the two year grant period we have been intensively disseminating Outdoor Investigator in a number of venues where we would be interacting directly with teachers. We presented and/or exhibited at numerous conferences, such as Minnesota Education Academy Conference (MEA), the Minnesota Science Teachers Association Conference, Sci/Math and Ignite After school conference, the Agriculture Teachers Tech Conference, Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators, the Conference of Middle and High School Principles, Minnesota’s Grand Challenges Conference at the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forest School Program Conference, the 3M Visiting Wizards Teacher’s Workshop (hosted by 3M), Bell Museum’s Educator’s Open House, Prior Lake Teacher Development Workshop, University of Minnesota Extension Driven to Discover Teacher Training, and the Minnesota Field Trip Fair.

During these exhibits we had printed materials to highlight the main components of Outdoor Investigator, a computer for teachers to see and interact with the Raptor Lab and Outdoor Investigator, and forms to capture teacher information to contact them directly with information to access the website and to communicate important information about upcoming Teacher Demonstrations.

Local Planning and Implementation Efforts for Bird Habitat

Subd. 05e     $280,000 TF (FY2018)

Ashley Peters
Audubon Minnesota
2355 Highway 36 W, Ste 400
St. Paul, MN 55107

Phone: (952) 715-1209
Email: audubonminnesota@audubon.org
Web: http://mn.audubon.org/

Appropriation Language
$280,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the National Audubon Society, Minnesota office, to engage approximately 60 communities and 400,000 citizens in bird habitat improvement through local planning and implementation efforts using the National Audubon Bird City program. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Developing Youth Watershed Stewardship in Northwest Minnesota

Subd. 05f     $121,000 TF (FY2018)

Lee Furuseth
Headwaters Science Center
413 Beltrami Ave NW
Bemidji, MN 56601

Phone: (218) 444-4472
Email: director@hscbemidji.org
Web: http://www.hscbemidji.org/

Appropriation Language
$121,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Headwaters Science Center to accelerate a multiyear environmental science club for middle-school students focused on water quality, watershed evaluation, and aquatic invasive species in northwestern Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The project entitled Developing Youth Watershed Stewardship in Northern Minnesota established the Environmental Science Club. Goals were established, pursued and met:
skill development, enhanced understanding, recognition of relationships between actions and outcomes, provided positive experiences, shared similar information through presentations, and demonstrated deeper understanding of ecosystems.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Environmental Science Club was established in early 2019 for 10 to 18 students led by HSC staff in each of 2-hour club sessions. Members came to HSC from two sources: Boys & Girls Club of Bemidji with students from fifth grade to eight grades along with HSC’s youth participants. Students explored ground-water, examined rivers & built models of watersheds; culminating with a lakeshore clean-up. The club was expanded into summer where Voyageurs Expeditionary High School students participated in a four-day outdoor ecological study as part of their summer school course curriculum requirements.

Club activities resumed heading into the fall and winter of 2019. Specimens from area water were gathered and examined. Eighteen students participated in Environmental Science Club.

With the turn of the new year, HSC headed into 2020 with twelve more club sessions in January, February, and early March. Then Covid-19 struck & we were soon surrounded by uncertainty with hybrid models for students attending class & afterschool activities virtually. In this phase we co-opted our “Daily Live Science Show” -once a week- with labs testing for chloride & then showing E. coli sampling & lab technique for various local stream studies.

Our hybrid approach shifted again to macroinvertebrate assays, crowd sourced, demonstrating how to gather, sort, classify & count organisms for our pollution intolerance index. With this scale we were able to determine water quality by presence, or lack thereof, pollution intolerant organisms, as well as diversity. This scale allowed us to determine, and present electronically degree of ecological integrity. Despite most environmental news being dire and even depressing, we are pleased to present our findings of excellent condition for many streams and even found pollution sensitive organisms in places way downstream. We are thankful that this LCCMR grant allowed us to share these insights.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Club participants always focused on results -via exploration & the scientific method- utilizing various skills learned for water examination. In the first thirty months of the project, participants presented knowledge they had gained at science fairs & peer-to-peer feedback sessions. Student field journals, notes & posters accompanied project presentations. Final professional production of posters was not completed. Funding for this portion of the project was remains unspent and this portion of the grant should be returned to the ENRTF.

During the last six months of the grant cycle the pandemic overtook us, so we shifted to a hybrid virtual model. Our 3:30 show became a regular afternoon session on three platforms: YouTube, Facebook and Twitch TV with final selected videos appearing on the hscbemidji.org Website.

Increasing Residential Environmental Learning Center Opportunities

Subd. 05g     $130,000 TF (FY2018)

Bryan Wood
Audubon Center of the North Woods
54165 Audubon Dr, PO Box 530
Sandstone, MN 55072

Phone: (320) 245-2648
Email: bwood@audubon-center.org
Web: http://www.audubon-center.org

Appropriation Language
$130,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Audubon Center of the North Woods to provide scholarship opportunities for a minimum of 1,000 students that are not currently served through other residential environmental education learning centers. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

This project connected 1,254 K-12 Minnesota students to nature through multi-day environmental learning experiences at Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center (formerly Audubon Center of the North Woods). This was accomplished through translating fieldtrip forms into three new languages, purchasing and lending outdoor gear to students, and providing K-12 student scholarships.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Today’s students are increasingly being left out of nature learning experiences with children today spending far less time outdoors than any other generation in human history. For students that are low on the socio-economic spectrum, this is compounded as there are typically no outdoor areas near where they live, or adults who spend time with them in natural areas. Many schools do not have the financial resources to make environmental field trips possible. Additional factors impeding their participation are the cultural and language barriers increasingly seen with immigrant populations. Parents do not understand what the experience is, and are wary of sending their child away on an overnight field trip. Students coming from low economic families cannot afford to pay the student fee, or buy winter outerwear or a sleeping bag for use in the dormitory. We as a society have a responsibility to foster environmentally literate citizens from all backgrounds and it starts with our children. They will make the decisions for our society’s future.

We wanted to engage with the diverse and changing demographics of MN’s schools through this project by offering scholarships to financially strained schools to attend Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center for environmental learning experiences. This project’s goal was to make residential environmental learning experiences more accessible by: 1) providing a minimum of 1,000 K-12 scholarships to Minnesota students for residential programming at Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center, 2) purchasing outerwear (snow pants, coats, hats, mittens, scarves, winter boots) to lend out to K-12 students when attending to keep them comfortable and safe, 3) translating all K-12 trip forms into Spanish, Hmong, and Somali.

Through this project, we were actually able to provide 1,254 K-12 scholarships to Minnesota K-12 students, exceeding our goal of 1,000 student learning experiences with this project.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The ongoing results of this project have been shared through our newsletters, our annual reports and social media accounts. Through these platforms, we have updated our constituents on the goals of the program, and the number of participants served. Some of our newsletters and annual reports are available online including: the Spring/Summer 2018 Newsletter, the Spring/Summer 2019 Newsletter, and the Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report.

Subd. 06Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species

Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center - Phase II

Subd. 06a     $2,700,000 TF (FY2017)

Nicholas Phelps
U of MN - MAISRC
135 Skok Hall, 2003 Upper Buford Circle
St Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 624-7450
Email: phelp083@umn.edu
Web: http://www.maisrc.umn.edu/

Appropriation Language
$2,700,000 in fiscal year 2017 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to support the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center in finding solutions to Minnesota's aquatic invasive species problems through research, control, prevention, and early detection of existing and emerging aquatic invasive species threats. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2021, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Emerald Ash Borer Biocontrol - Phase III

Subd. 06b     $729,000 TF (FY2018)

Jonathan Osthus
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert St N
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 201-6248
Email: jonathan.osthus@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/eab/eabbiocontrol.aspx

Appropriation Language
$729,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of agriculture in cooperation with the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to implement biocontrol of emerald ash borer using a newly approved parasitic wasp, assess the impact of the statewide program, and engage citizen volunteers. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Biological control has been effectively implemented, which has led to increasing recoveries of parasitoids over time. Cold tolerance testing of Spathius galinae resulted in a forecasting model of survival in North America. The Buprestidae of Minnesota guide was created and provides baseline data on jewel beetles present in Minnesota.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

We have successfully completed all activities. We are pleased to report that the effective implementation of EAB biocontrol has led to increasing recoveries of the larval parasitoid Tetrastichus planipennisi and the egg parasitoid Oobius agrili through time based on data analysis in Activity 2. We produced several peer-reviewed scientific publications (with full credit to LCCMR) on Activities 3 and 4. For Activity 3, we evaluated the cold hardiness of the larval parasitoid Spathius galinae and published a study forecasting its survival in North America (Wittman, Aukema, Duan, and Venette (2021) Forecasting overwintering mortality of Spathius galinae in North America. Biological Control. 160: 104694). The insect will survive best in areas where winter temperatures remain above -20 Fahrenheit. For Activity 4, we published two journal articles detailing a checklist of buprestids found in Minnesota (Hallinen, Steffens, Schultz, Aukema (2021) The Buprestidae (Coleoptera) of Minnesota, with a discussion of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire. The Coleopterists Bulletin 75: 173-190) as well as a study on their habitat features (Hallinen, Wittman, Aukema (2020) Factors associated with diversity and distribution of buprestid prey captured by foraging Cerceris fumipennis (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) (Environmental Entomology 49: 1363-13763). These works provide critical information on what is here, now, so we have a basis of comparison for when a new invasive wood-boring beetle in the same family as emerald ash borer arrives in the future. We then published, from the scientific checklist, a free and accessible guide (The Buprestidae of Minnesota) that can be downloaded from permalink. This latter guide contains not only specimen photos but also maps of the distribution record and dates of last collection by decade. All four publications are submitted with this final report.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Throughout the duration of the project, results were disseminated through a variety of venues. A wide and diverse audience was reached through interviews with local press, informational webinars, outdoor training sessions held throughout the state, and at academic and natural resource professional conferences and meetings. Parasitoid release and recovery results from activity 1 and 2 can be viewed through an interactive online map. Through the work on activity 3 of this project, models have been created and published forecasting the expected overwintering mortality of the introduced larval parasitoid Spathius galinae. This information is of vital importance to the successful implementation of EAB biological control throughout North America (Wittman, Aukema, Duan, and Venette (2021) Forecasting overwintering mortality of Spathius galinae in North America. Biological Control. 160: 104694). Activity 4 of this project produced tremendously valuable baseline data on the buprestids found in Minnesota. Two journal articles were published detailing a checklist of buprestids found in Minnesota (Hallinen, Steffens, Schultz, Aukema (2021) The Buprestidae (Coleoptera) of Minnesota, with a discussion of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire. The Coleopterists Bulletin 75: 173-190) as well as a study on their habitat features (Hallinen, Wittman, Aukema (2020) Factors associated with diversity and distribution of buprestid prey captured by foraging Cerceris fumipennis (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) (Environmental Entomology 49: 1363-13763). A free and accessible guide was created from these publications called The Buprestidae of Minnesota and can be downloaded from the permalink.

Invasive Bighead Carp and Silver Carp and Native Fish Evaluation - Phase II

Subd. 06c     $500,000 TF (FY2018)

Brian Nerbonne
MN DNR
1200 Warner Rd
St. Paul, MN 55106

Phone: (651) 259-5789
Email: brian.nerbonne@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to continue invasive bighead and silver carp monitoring in the Mississippi River and tributaries through advanced acoustic telemetry and assess food chains to determine how native species might prevent invasive bighead and silver carp establishment. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Over the past four years, this project tested new capture methods, learned locations where invasive carp are vulnerable to capture, and removed over 150 fish. Our goal in learning how best to remove invasive carp is to disrupt the potential for spawning that could lead to their establishment in Minnesota waters.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Invasive carp have caused severe ecological damage to the Illinois, Missouri, and lower Mississippi River ecosystems, and threaten to do the same if they become established in Minnesota. Increased monitoring by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource (DNR), funded in part by ENRTF, has found invasive carp becoming more numerous and widespread in Minnesota in recent years. However, our mulit-year monitoring of larval fish has not documented any reproduction in Minnesota waters to date, indicating they are not yet established. ENRT funding has led to significant gains in our understanding of where, when and how to capture and remove these fish and disrupt their establishment.

An array of receivers used in tracking tagged fish has been instrumental in identifying movement patterns and season habitat preferences of invasive carp and native species. We are learning the seasonal use of invasive carp habitats, which has proven useful in removal and management efforts. Tracking of a radio-tagged invasive carp allowed us to know when and where to target removal efforts, and has directly led to the capture of six invasive carp. Applying what we have learned to places where we don’t have tagged fish, ENTRF funded staff conducted 364 days of field sampling, including over 139,000 feet of gill net deployed, over 7,300 minutes of electrofishing and over 134 days of monitored/contracted commercial fishing. This resulted in the removal of over 150 invasive carp during the grant period.

Our tracking tagged native fish assessing their habitat use through stable isotope analysis will be useful in the future to learn what effect invasive carp have on the native species.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

MN DNR invasive carp staff have provided a yearly Invasive Carp Sampling Report in which all sampling data is shared for anyone to view. MN DNR invasive carp staff also shares data with other state and federal agencies as well as Universities. In addition, numerous news outlets have covered the work done by the invasive carp crew over the last four years. Those articles and news stories can be located by doing a quick google search of Invasive carp in Minnesota.

Adapting Stream Barriers to Remove Common Carp

Subd. 06d     $301,000 TF (FY2018)

Przemyslaw Bajer
U of MN - MAISRC
2003 Upper Buford Cir, 135 Skok Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 625-6722
Email: bajer003@umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$301,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to conduct field tests at existing barrier sites and laboratory experiments to adapt a technology to remove common carp from streams during carp spawning migrations in Minnesota.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

We developed a new, practical and largely automated technology for removing common carp during seasonal migrations with minimal human labor. The technology includes electric guidance systems to aggregate the carp and submersed conveyers to remove them. This system is ready for commercial applications to manage carp across Minnesota.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

As a result of this project, we developed a new technology for managing the invasive common carp that is currently being commercialized by the University of Minnesota. The technology is easy to implement in various field conditions, requires minimum site engineering, and can be operated by a crew of two, which substantially reduces labor costs. This project started by testing whether the Whooshh system developed for migrating salmon might be adopted for common carp removal during spring migrations. Over the course of two field seasons we determined that the Whoosh technology is not easily adaptable for carp management because it requires that carp voluntarily swim into the Whooshh through a system of fish ladders, which proved problematic. However, we developed an alternative technology that appears to be effective and practical. Our technology is comprised of a low-voltage fish guidance system (available commercially) that guides the migrating carp into a large fenced in enclosure along the bank constructed using PVC pipes that slide into the stream bottom via horizontal support beams, a system of additional low-voltage electrodes placed inside the enclosure that can be activated as needed to crowd the carp and then briefly immobilize them, and a system of partially-submersed conveyers that collect the immobilized carp and carry them on land. All elements of this technology were rigorously tested over two field seasons using over a 1,000 carp marked with electronic micro-tags. The entire system was then successfully tested in summer 2019 and spring 2020. The technology appears to be ready for management implementations. In addition to its applications for managing common carp throughout Minnesota, the technology we developed might be also applicable for managing other invasive fish, including the bighead and the silver carp that are advancing up the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The main results if a new technology for managing common carp described above. The technology is currently being commercialized by the University of Minnesota. In addition, our efforts to disseminate the results of this work include one manuscript published in peer-reviewed literature that described our early tests of the electric guidance system, another manuscript that describes the entire system and its performance during spring migrations of 2018 – 2020 that is currently in preparation, two TV interviews for local stations, three press articles including one in the New York Times, four regional or national conferences, four MAISRC presentations or publications.

Tactical Invasive Plant Management Plan Development

Subd. 06e     $296,000 TF (FY2018)

Monika Chandler
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert St N
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 201-6537
Email: monika.chandler@state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$296,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of agriculture in cooperation with the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop regional priorities and an interagency action plan for invasive plant management to protect and promote habitat and native species. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

To protect natural resources from the damaging impacts of invasive plants and improve the efficiency and efficacy of invasive plant management, we developed a plan that identified regional priorities for invasive plant management and provided interactive tools to communicate best practices.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

A Tactical Invasive Management Plan was developed for 14 species to improve the coordination and efficacy of managing these species at state and local levels. This plan offers guidance to decision-makers for prioritizing invasive plant management activities. It is recognized that there are insufficient financial and personnel resources to control all invasive plant populations in Minnesota. The aim was to provide information in the form of invasive plant distribution modeling, prioritization maps based upon multiple criteria, identification and management timing guides, and tools for reporting invasive plants and tracking management activities. Decisions about which invasive plant infestations are controlled are made at all levels from federal to local, but the majority of decisions are made at the local level. We made these tools available by integrating them into MDA’s webpages for the selected species. The plan document is also available on the web and can be downloaded and printed.

Fourteen species were selected for assessment because they are designated noxious weeds in Minnesota and not considered early detection within the state but may be considered early detection at a regional or local level. The following species were selected: Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), common/European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus), Japanese (Polygonum cuspidatum) and Bohemian (Polygonum × bohemicum) knotweeds, leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), narrowleaf bittercress (Cardamine impatiens), plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides), purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), and wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).

Training on this plan was provided to land managers. In person, regional workshops with a field tour were developed for this training scheduled for spring 2020. Sadly, the in-person workshops could not be held due to COVID 19. Instead, we developed an online course and held four, regional virtual workshops. The Tactical Invasive Management Plan online course was delivered to 146 individuals representing federal, state, county, municipal and tribal natural resource and agricultural agencies. Individuals also represented nonprofits, private companies, and academic institutions. The online course was approximately four hours in length and was organized into eight different online modules to facilitate learning. Five videos were recorded for the online course and are available as a YouTube playlist. The workshops were held on 06/09/20 for the southwest (25 participants), 06/10/20 for the northwest (47 participants), 06/11/20 for the southeast and greater metro (38 participants) and 06/11/20 for the northeast (25 participants).

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

We presented on topics related to this Tactical Plan at 3 field workshops, 2 field tours, 3 conference booths, 9 Noxious Weed Advisory Committee meetings, 6 County Agricultural Inspector meetings, 14 Cooperative Weed Management Area meetings and gave 38 presentations to a wide range of audiences.

Training to use this plan was provided to land managers. In person, regional workshops with a field tour were developed for this training scheduled for spring 2020. Sadly, the in-person workshops could not be held due to COVID 19. Instead, we developed an online course and held four, regional virtual workshops (135 participants). The Tactical Invasive Management Plan online course was delivered to 146 individuals representing federal, state, county, municipal and tribal natural resource and agricultural agencies. Individuals also represented nonprofits, private companies, and academic institutions. The online course was approximately four hours in length and was organized into eight different online modules to facilitate learning. Five videos were recorded for the online course and are available as a YouTube playlist.

A peer-reviewed journal article highlighting the distribution modeling work has been published in the journal Scientific Reports. This paper describes the model distribution process and integrates it with future climate scenarios. The paper was led by Jason Reinhardt and co-authors.

Project dissemination will continue long after the project completion date. Materials developed for this project and the plan document are available on MDA’s webpages. A draft of a peer-reviewed publication containing the multi-criteria decision results is complete and will be submitted. At the Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference (11/02/20 – 11/06/20), an interactive poster on ISMTrack and a talk on the ISMTrack app will be presented. A presentation on the finalized Tactical Plan will be given to MDA’s Noxious Weed Advisory Committee on 11/17/20.

Maximize Value of Water Impoundments to Wildlife

Subd. 06f     $195,000 TF (FY2018)

Alexandra Wardwell
Audubon Minnesota
2355 Highway 36 W, Ste 400
Roseville, MN 55113

Phone: (218) 687-2229 x11
Email: Alexandra.Wardwell@audubon.org
Web: http://mn.audubon.org/

Appropriation Language
$195,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the National Audubon Society, Minnesota office, to control invasive hybrid cattails in water impoundments to improve habitat quality for migrating and breeding birds. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Audubon Minnesota undertook a three-year hybrid-cattail management project at the Agassiz Valley Impoundment. The three-phase management approach increased the amount of open water available to birds and other wildlife. Vegetation measurements (NDVI) decreased in 78% of the plots and the total number of bird species seen or heard increased overtime.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

The Agassiz Valley Impoundment, located near Warren, MN, is a 2,560-acre impoundment with a gated water storage area of 6,840 acre-feet that is managed by the Middle-Snake Tamarc-Rivers Watershed District (District). The primary purpose of this impoundment, like the many others across Minnesota, is for floodwater storage, however, they serve many other secondary functions including important wildlife habitat for migrating and breeding species. Due to their primary purpose, impoundments normally follow a hydrologic regime that includes water-level drawdown during the summer months to increase the impoundment’s holding capacity for the fall and following spring. This draw down cycle can stimulate the germination of emergent wetland species, especially the non-native hybrid cattail that can form dense monocultures which crowd out native species and degrade habitat quality. Audubon Minnesota and the District collaborated on a project to test the effectiveness of a cattail management regime and the corresponding bird use throughout the treatment cycle. From 2017-2020, Audubon used a three-phase management approach that included conservative herbicide application, structural biomass reduction, and water management in an attempt to control and reduce the hybrid cattail population. Furthermore, Audubon acquired high-resolution orthophotography in 2019 and 2020 from drone flights to further delineate cattail populations and to allow for precise treatment. From 2017 to 2019, the normalized vegetation difference index decreased in 78% of vegetation points within the treatment area, indicating that the management regime was effective in areas that were able to be inundated. Avian response showed promising results; species diversity initially declined the first year following mechanical treatment (2018) but rebounded in 2019 and 2020 with respective increases of 27% and 41% when compared to the pre-treatment numbers in 2017.

This management regime shows promise as a long-term strategy to improve the habitat quality of impoundments across Minnesota while still allowing them to serve their primary purpose of flood mitigation. Hybrid cattail reduction in impoundments benefits the longevity of the impoundment, and thus, the surrounding Minnesotans depending on it for floodwater mitigation.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Site documentation through photos occurred 2018-2020 during the growing season, especially concentrating on times with significant water level changes like spring flooding or coinciding with other management actions. A selection of those photos are included in the final report. Audubon Minnesota created a project webpage highlighting the work we are doing at the Agassiz Valley Impoundment. A summer update on progress was posted to the project webpage mid-June E-news updates about the project went out to over 25,000 Audubon Minnesota e-newsletter subscribers over the course of the project.

We have also posted updates about the project to Audubon’s social media platforms. Audubon has reached out to the Watershed District about adding a segment to the Agassiz Valley Impoundment Page about this project and they are open to it so we will continue to work on website additions to their webpage. Dissemination of the summary fact sheet on the project to area watershed districts is underway along with updates on the culmination of the project in our next e-newsletter and on social media. Our project webpage will also be updated with more photos and project summary information.

Recommendations and Ways to Improve Wildlife Habitat in Impoundments:

  • A three-phased approach was most effective in treating and controlling hybrid cattail. The areas that experienced prolonged control were areas that could be inundated during prime cattail germination periods.
  • Winter mowing was an effective method to reducing the standing dead cattail structure when fire is not an option.
  • Follow up herbicide treatments are likely to be necessary if the area experiences a dry period during the growing season allowing hybrid cattail to germinate.
  • Managing invasive non-native species and noxious weeds on the dikes through herbicide use or spot mowing allows delayed overall mowing or haying to occur to benefit ground nesting birds and reduce population sinks.
  • Plan new impoundments with habitat management in mind.

Subd. 07Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy

Extraction of Solar Thermal Energy in Minnesota - RESEARCH

Subd. 07a     $250,000 TF (FY2018)

Lian Shen
U of MN - Dept. of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics - SAFL
110 Union St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: (612) 624-2022
Email: shen@umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$250,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop new solar particle receivers as a low-cost, high-efficiency, and clean technology to absorb, store, and utilize solar thermal energy. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

We developed a novel solar particle receiver technology for absorbing, storing, and utilizing solar thermal energy. Extensive experiments utilizing innovative imaging techniques on laboratory apparatuses, assisted by state-of-the-art simulations on supercomputers, have been conducted. Valuable data have been collected for solar energy applications specifically for the sun conditions in Minnesota.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

The objective of this project is to develop a novel solar particle receiver technology as a low-cost, high-efficiency way to absorb, store, and utilize solar thermal energy. Traditional concentrated solar thermal systems use mirrors to concentrate solar radiation. However, at Minnesota's latitudes the sun radiation is not sufficiently strong to achieve this goal with the standard type of solar thermal systems. Almost all solar energy installations in the state are photovoltaic (PV), but the PV systems require sophisticated materials for energy conversion and energy storage is more difficult than solar thermal systems.

In this project, we have conducted extensive experiments to study how to design, build, and test a prototype of solar particle receiver. Leveraging on laboratory apparatus that our team built, we measured the motions of solid particles in a duct to obtain valuable experiment data using advanced laser illumination and high-speed camera imaging technologies. A specialized solar particle solar receiver was constructed and calibrated, in which we have developed a three-dimensional riser with a controllable airflow and particle mass flow rate. We have also developed a predictive tool for the computation of the interactions between solar particles and air flows, which provided valuable data to reveal the flow physics and reduced the design cycle of solar particle receiver. Utilizing the above research approaches, we have performed extensive tests on the solar particle receiver prototype under various conditions that replicate the high temperatures, gas atmosphere, and heating rates involved in a concentrated solar facility. A laboratory scale solar receiver has been developed to study heat transfer in concentrating solar power systems. The research results obtained in this project greatly facilitate a meaningful transition from laboratory experiments to operations under concentrated solar radiation for solar energy applications particularly suitable for Minnesota's environment.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

In this project, substantial efforts have been put into sharing the knowledge gained from the research. The research results were shared with the specialists in concentrated solar power generation at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the Department of Energy. The findings of this project were presented at the national conference of the American Physical Society for multiple years. A paper has been published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics (“Velocity and spatial distribution of inertial particles in a turbulent channel flow” by Fong, Amili and Coletti, vol. 872, pp.367-406), which is a leading journal in the field.

Assessment of Urban Air Pollution

Subd. 07b     $700,000 TF (FY2018)

Monika Vadali
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 757-2776
Email: monika.vadali@state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$700,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency to set up and operate a network of 250 air pollution sensors at 50 sites to monitor fine particles, ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide in each zip code for the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to assess variability of urban air pollution. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Air pollutant concentrations cannot be assumed to be the same across all zip codes in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. There are local differences observed and these can influence quality of life where one lives. Monitor placement is very important in being able to detect these differences in neighborhoods.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Understanding small-scale differences in air pollution in urban areas is important for minimizing exposure to harmful air pollutants, particularly for vulnerable communities. This project is using new air-monitoring sensor technology to broaden our knowledge about air quality in Minneapolis and St. Paul. A total of 47 AQMESH air monitors were installed in the study area. 10 of these were co-located with existing MPCA regulatory monitors in order to more closely evaluate the use of sensor technology for accuracy. 14 monitors were located on parking lot light poles, in St. Paul public schools. 23 monitors were placed on Xcel light poles in Minneapolis in residential areas. Pollutants monitored were CO, NO, NO2, SO2, O3, PM2.5 and PM10. Data was collected from June 2019 to June 2021. In addition to the overall goal of seeing small scale differences in urban neighborhoods, this project had 3 main goals:


  • Are there significant differences in pollutant concentrations between ZIP codes in the urban core?
  • Are there areas with unusually high pollutant concentrations?
  • Is this technology suitable for measuring small differences in air quality?

To investigate the last question, data from collocated sensors was compared to the regulatory monitoring data and it was found that there is a reasonably moderate confidence in the sensor data as they compare to the regulatory grade monitors. A strong relationship was also found between the sensor pods themselves, indicating that these would be a good tool for highlighting the differences in pollutant concentrations across the study area.

To further investigate the first 2 questions, data collected from all the sensors for all zip codes was analyzed using R (v 1.4.1717). Data was divided by region into North Minneapolis, South Minneapolis and St. Paul, based on the sensor location. Basic data statistics were computed, pollutant level charts were plotted and a generalized additive model was applied to look for trends and differences across the entire study area.

The analysis showed that although minimal, there are indeed micro level differences that can be observed. A very clear seasonal pattern can be seen for CO and O3 concentrations across all regions. Local events like the wide spread fires in May/June 2020 and July 4th fireworks tend to slightly increase the particulate counts for a short period. Sensor placement is very important as it affects the measurements.

Residents can use this data to be more cognizant about activities that happen around them in their neighborhoods, especially on days with bad AQI, which adds more particulates into the air making it unhealthy, and make appropriate changes for a healthier lifestyle. In St. Paul, monitoring was done in school parking lots, making these results suitable for education purposes and to understand how idling cars and buses effects short term air quality. Results specific to outdoor activities coinciding with drop off and pick up times can be useful. Extensive monitoring along roadways was not part of this project but some monitors along busy roads did show higher NOx levels. Overall, the air quality in Minneapolis and St. Paul is good but depending on where you live and any preexisting health conditions, it may affect ones quality of life. This study can inform future monitoring projects, specific areas where traffic could be examined more closely and looking at other local neighborhood sources of pollution.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Over the past two years, various efforts were made to communicate results as and when they were analyzed. A project website was developed which is available on the MPCA’s website. A tableau workbook is available with all the monitoring sites and data for all the pollutants being monitored. These can be filtered by site, pollutant and dates if desired.

Six month quarterly updates were provided to the LCCMR. In fall of 2018, project presentations were made in Minneapolis and St. Paul to solicit feedback on monitor placement. In Fall/winter 2019-2020, one year study results were presented at several meetings in Minneapolis and St. Paul to give residents an overview of what the monitors were showing in their respective zip codes. These results were also presented to the Metropolitan Council and other stakeholders.

Presentations will be made to community groups, stakeholders and interested parties. Community concerns, comments and additional analysis done, will be incorporated in the final report and published on the MPCA project webpage.

Generation, Storage, and Utilization of Solar Energy

Subd. 07c     $500,000 TF (FY2018)

Bradley Heins
U of MN - West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris
46352 State Hwy 329
Morris, MN 56267

Phone: (320) 589-1711
Email: hein0106@umn.edu
Web: http://wcroc.cfans.umn.edu/research-programs/dairy

Appropriation Language
$500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, to develop and demonstrate an integrated facility to generate electricity, shade dairy cattle, and provide energy storage and utilization from solar technologies at the West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The project benefited lakes and streams through the development of novel methods to reduce energy usage on farm and integrate cattle grazing and solar systems. We evaluated technology that that will reduce the carbon footprint through energy reduction from dairy farms in Minnesota that will improve environmental impact.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

The work conducted at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris was were to investigate electrical energy use on dairy farms located in west central Minnesota and to evaluate the effects of shade use by cattle from solar photovoltaic systems. Measurements of baseline fossil fuel consumption within dairy production systems are scarce. Therefore, there is a need to discern where and how fossil fuel-derived energy is being used within dairy production systems. Baseline energy use data collection is the first step in addressing the demand for a reduced carbon footprint within dairy production systems. Energy use on five Midwest dairy farms was evaluated from July 2018 to June 2021. Through in-depth monitoring of electricity-consuming processes, it was found that electricity use can differ quite drastically in different types of milking systems and farms. Electricity on an annual basis per cow ranged from 400 kWh/cow in a low-input and grazing farm to 1,145 kWh/cow in an automated milking farm. To reduce electrical energy consumption as well as reduce the effects of heat stress in pastured dairy cows, producers may investigate using an agrivoltaic system. Biological effects of internal body temperature, milk production, and respiration rates and behavioral effects of activity, rumination, fly avoidance behaviors, and standing and lying time of the solar shade were evaluated. Results of this agrivoltaic system suggested that grazing cattle that have access to shade had lower respiration rates and lower body temperatures compared to cattle that do not have access to shade. This project suggests that improvement in Minnesota waterways and environment may be achieved through reduced use of fossil energy through integrating livestock and solar energy production systems.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

We have provided tours of the agrivoltaic system at the WCROC to legislators, farmers, and industry representatives. We have also hosted dairy field days and the Midwest Farm Energy Conference at the WCROC that have shown the results and solar system to the public as well. Over 10,000 people have viewed the solar system and have responded with favorable interest in the system. A graduate student on the project presented an abstract at the ADSA Meeting and Waste to Worth conference. So far, 3 peer reviewed papers have been published with more to follow. The WCROC website provides the results of the project and YouTube videos for promotion of the project. A presentation was made at the global Virtual AgriVoltaics conference in 2021. This applied dairy energy and agrivoltaics projects was the Master’s thesis of Kirsten Sharpe in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota and she defended her thesis in 2020.

District Heating with Renewable Biomass at Camp Ripley Training Center

Subd. 07d     $1,000,000 TF (FY2018)

Jay Brezinka
Department of Military Affairs
15000 Highway 115
Little Falls, MN 56345

Phone: (320) 616-2618
Email: jay.a.brezinka.nfg@mail.mil

Appropriation Language
$1,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of military affairs to install a 5,000,000-BTU centralized biomass boiler system utilizing the forestry management at Camp Ripley. This appropriation must be matched by at least $900,000 of nonstate money and must be committed by December 31, 2017. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Geotargeted Distributed Clean Energy Initiative

Subd. 07e     $800,000 TF (FY2018)

Jennifer Edwards
Center for Energy and Environment
212 Third Ave N, Ste 560
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Phone: (612) 335-5871
Email: jedwards@mncee.org
Web: http://www.mncee.org

Appropriation Language
$800,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Center for Energy and Environment. Of this amount, $600,000 is for analysis of community-distributed clean energy investments as alternatives to utility capital investments for transmission and distribution upgrades to meet forecasted electrical loads, and $200,000 is to conduct pilot programs using energy efficiency and other distributed energy resources to achieve forecasted electric energy loads in communities. The appropriation for pilot programs is contingent on a $200,000 match of an equal or greater amount of nonstate money. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

This project demonstrated that energy efficiency can be used to reliably offset utility infrastructure expansion, thereby saving money and decreasing the amount of air pollutants from Minnesota’s electricity generation.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

This pilot project demonstrated that energy efficiency and demand response are cost-effective tools to increase the use of clean electricity technologies while reliably deferring investments in grid expansion. While Minnesota has relatively low distribution grid expenditures today, peak demand is predicted to increase due to population growth, electrification of end uses like transportation and space heating, and warmer temperatures. This pilot demonstrated that adopting longer time horizons and multiple scenarios for planning forecasts will allow distribution planners to integrate non-wires alternatives, therefore saving money and advancing clean energy throughout the state.

This pilot successfully saved 576 kW of peak electricity across two small communities, higher than the pilot goal of 500 kW. This was the result of enhanced incentives, increased and geotargeted marketing, as well as a higher than average baseline participation in commercial lighting programs. Participation was also boosted by smart thermostat incentives which were available upon enrollment in a demand management program. The pilot cost (incentives + direct labor) came to $163,000, within the estimated value of a one-year deferral.

Minnesota has a modest technical potential for non-wires alternatives, but this is expected to increase. With current growth forecasts and distribution system expenditures, we calculated a low to modest potential for non-wires alternatives in Minnesota, estimated at between one and four million dollars per year. This will save between 4,000 and 17,000 tons of carbon per year, or the equivalent of the annual pollution caused by 800-6,000 passenger vehicles.

Additional information is included in the final technical report for this project on the CEE website.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

This pilot is summarized in a technical report and project summary document that outlines the process, major findings, and recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders. Results have been included in policy processes at the Public Utilities Commission to help inform regulatory decisions. Pilot outcomes have been presented at multiple conferences of industry professionals and to Minnesota utilities.

Subd. 08Methods to Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat

Optimizing the Nutrition of Roadside Plants for Pollinators

Subd. 08a     $815,000 TF (FY2018)

Emilie Snell-Rood
U of MN
1479 Gortner Ave, 140 Gortner Labs
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 624-7238
Email: emilies@umn.edu
Web: http://cbs.umn.edu/snell-rood-lab/home

Appropriation Language
$815,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota in cooperation with the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Transportation and the Board of Water and Soil Resources to produce site-specific recommendations for roadside plantings in Minnesota to maximize the nutritional health of native bees and monarch butterflies that rely on roadside habitat corridors. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

This research shows that, from a nutritional perspective, Minnesota roadsides are promising habitat for native bees and monarchs. To minimize the negative effects of roadside pollutants on insect pollinators, managers should prioritize low- to moderate-traffic roads for restoration, mow a buffer strip, and support efforts to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Insect pollinators have suffered steep declines over the last two decades. Roadsides are a promising opportunity for pollinator conservation, potentially providing millions of acres of habitat, and acting as dispersal corridors. However, roadside habitat also contains pollutants such as heavy metals from car wear and past leaded gasoline use, sodium from road salt application, and pesticides from adjacent agriculture. In this research, we combined surveys of roadsides across Minnesota, with controlled lab and field experiments, to test how such roadside pollution impacts insect pollinators, and implications for restoring roadside habitat for monarch butterflies and native bees. Our results suggest that plants alongside the majority of Minnesota roadsides have sodium and metal content below which is worrisome to bees and monarchs. However, plants along very high traffic roads, especially those right next to the road, likely have negative effects on pollinator health. Our data also suggest that pesticides may be a significant concern for 5-10% of roadside plants. This research suggests roadside restoration efforts should focus on roads with low to moderate traffic volumes (<20K cars daily) and that mowing a buffer on the road edge should eliminate the most toxic plants. Recent national efforts to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos would also be beneficial for Minnesota roadsides as this was the most commonly detected insecticide. Finally, this research suggests benefits to planting a diversity of roadside plants as species accumulate different toxins to different degrees, although on higher traffic roads, managers may want to avoid a handful of high accumulating species (e.g., yellow coneflower). Overall, from a nutritional perspective, Minnesota roadsides are promising habitat for insect pollinators, for instance, potentially producing 14M migratory monarchs annually. Future work should consider management methods that may minimize vehicle collisions, as currently pollinator mortality from collisions likely far exceeds that from plant toxicity.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

This project directly led to six publications in print and twelve in progress. Data are publically available on either DRYAD or Mendeley. This work was presented in over 25 seminars, conference presentations, and webinars presented locally, nationally and internationally. The conclusions of the work are available in online talks, such as the Cedar Creek "Lunch with a Scientist" series and the Rights-of-Way working group research series on pollinator habitat. This research will be featured in a popular science book on road ecology and resulting management recommendations shared as a brief report to relevant agencies later this year.

Promoting Conservation Biocontrol of Beneficial Insects - RESEARCH

Subd. 08b     $400,000 TF (FY2018)

Vera Krischik
U of MN
1980 Folwell Ave, #219
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 625-7044
Email: krisc001@umn.edu
Web: http://www.entomology.umn.edu/cues

Appropriation Language
$400,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to research integrated pest management strategies, including insecticide alternatives, and overwintering habitat sites to conserve beneficial insects, including bees, butterflies, and predator insects. The integrated pest management strategies will be used to develop best management practices to increase pollinator and beneficial insect diversity and abundance in various restored habitats. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

All objectives on integrated pest management (IPM) and cultural methods for conserving beneficial insects were completed. The insecticide chlorantraniliprole was toxic to butterflies and cannot be used near butterfly habitat but is safe for bees. Pesticide residue was highest on wildflowers near potato fields and demonstrates the need for buffer strips. Download outreach/research products.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Research investigated the best insecticides to conserve beneficial insects that can be used in green space. The new bee friendly insecticide chlorotraniliprole was highly toxic to butterflies and should not be used near butterfly habitat. Chlorotraniliprole did not kill bumblebees at 4 ppm, however Monarch butterfly larvae were killed at 0.2 ppm, while Painted lady butterfly larvae were killed at 0.03 ppm and adults were killed at 0.05 ppm chlorotraniliprole. This new and highly popular bee friendly insecticide is not butterfly friendly.

In contrast, the neonicotinoid insecticide chlothianidin that was commonly used as a seed treatment and foliar applied insecticide in agriculture, is highly toxic to bees, but not butterflies. Monarch butterfly larvae were killed at 4 ppm clothianidin, while Painted lady butterflies were killed at 96 ppm clothianidin, and adults were killed at 13 ppm clothianidin. At 20 ppb clothianidin bumblebees colonies had reduced nest weight and brood production. Bumblebees are more sensitive to the neonicotinoid clothianidin (40 ppb lethal dose, 20 ppb sublethal dose) compared to two species of butterfly (4, 96 ppm lethal dose).

Pesticide residue on wildflowers near potato fields showed that 100% of 36 samples tested contained at least 2 and up to 15 different pesticides. Research on pesticide residue on flowers near corn fields showed that of 40% of 32 samples tested contained only 1 pesticide and it was atrazine. Pesticide residue was highest on wildflowers near potatoes and demonstrates the need for buffer strips.

Beetle banks are 4 ft piles of mulch that were created at 3 park sites in Washington County. At a citizen science field day, beetle banks were found to a mean of 131 insects compared to control plots with 1 insect. Research on reed nests as habitat for native stem nesting bees showed that there were 236 occupied reeds or 95% of the nests were occupied. Both beetle banks and stem nests increased insect abundance and are cultural methods to increase insect numbers.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The grant produced 8 new outreach bulletins, 1 new poster, and research results which are presented at a new website. These outreach bulletins are attached to the work plan.

Our lab has provided 4 workshops per year and 28 talks per year to professionals and consumers on issues related to the grant’s research. The bulletins, poster, and research summaries were handed out at outreach events. After 2020 we will continue to use these bulletins at outreach events to educate consumers on IPM programs to protect bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects, such as the parasitoids of the emerald ash borer.

Evaluating the Use of Bison to Restore and Preserve Savanna Habitat - RESEARCH

Subd. 08c     $388,000 TF (FY2018)

Forest Isbell
U of MN - Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
2660 Fawn Lake Drive NE
East Bethel, MN 55005

Phone: (612) 301-2601
Email: isbell@umn.edu
Web: http://www.cedarcreek.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$388,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, to research combined bison grazing and fire management strategies to restore Minnesota's oak savanna ecosystems. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Oak savanna is Minnesota's most threatened ecosystem, but effective approaches for protecting and restoring savannas remain elusive. Our project reintroduced bison to one of Minnesota's largest remaining oak savannas. We found that bison grazing helped increase oak regeneration and stimulated plant productivity, providing a promising new strategy for savanna conservation.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Oak savanna is Minnesota's most threatened ecosystem, but effective approaches for protecting and restoring savannas remain elusive and prescribed fire, alone, is not maintaining oak savannas. Fire helps old oaks with thick bark that can survive its intense heat, in part by preventing other trees from growing and shading the oaks. However, fire also kills young oak seedlings, which prevents oak trees from regenerating. Thus, fire is a necessary, but insufficient strategy for maintaining oak savannnas. We tested whether bison are essential for savanna preservation and restoration. Bison preferentially graze the most abundant native prairie grasses, which compete with young oaks and supply fuel for fires that kills them. Our project achieved the following outcomes: (1) discover better restoration and preservation practices for savanna remnants; (2) determine how these practices impact the full range of savanna biodiversity; and (3) educate Minnesotans about the ecological heritage of their state, including the roles that bison, fire and biodiversity play in the functioning of savannas and other Minnesota ecosystems. Specifically, we restored seasonal bison grazing to more than 200 acres of oak savanna, experimentally tested savannna restoration using bison grazing by establishing experimental plots and planting 660 oak seedlings, and disseminated results to more than 19,000 members of the public, in part by establishing a bison viewing gazebo. For many years to come, bison will continue to graze in these oak savannnas, their impacts will continue to be assessed in experimental plots, and the public will continue to benefit from site access and programming. Our project has already attracted additional funding from the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research Program, which will allow it to continue long after the initial support from the ENRTF. Our data are being disseminated through Cedar Creek's website and the National Science Foundation's Environmental Data Initiative.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

We have provided engagement opportunities for more than 19,000 visitors, including 2,172 K-12 students who attended field trips or online programs specifically about this research. The new bison gazebo has provided opportunities for a corps of 25 “bison naturalist” volunteers, spurred the creation of new educational resources including a savanna-themed feltboard and brochures, hosted open house events and tours, led to the design and construction of two new interpretive signs, and expanded the range of self-guided options for our community.

State Park Pollinator Habitat Restoration

Subd. 08d     $672,000 TF (FY2018)

Edward Quinn
MN DNR, Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 39
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 259-5594
Email: edward.quinn@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.html

Appropriation Language
$672,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to restore at least 520 acres of monarch butterfly and other native pollinator habitats in at least seven state parks in the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan core areas and establish pollinator plantings and interpretive exhibits in at least ten state parks. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2021, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Enhancing Spawning Habitat Restoration in Minnesota Lakes - RESEARCH

Subd. 08e     $294,000 TF (FY2018)

William Herb
U of MN - St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
2 Third Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone: (612) 624-5147
Email: herb0003@umn.edu
Web: http://www.safl.umn.edu/

Appropriation Language
$294,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources to enhance efforts to increase natural reproduction of fish in Minnesota lakes by assessing wave energy impacts on near-shore spawning habitat. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The main goal of this project was to create easily accessible information on wave energy to enable successful habitat restoration projects and increase natural fish reproduction in Minnesota lakes. We created maps, in GIS format, of wave height and energy statistics for 457 lakes in Minnesota.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

There are many ways in which healthy near-shore habitat and water quality in lakes is linked to wind and wave energy. Examples include walleye spawning habitat on nearshore gravel substrates, the distribution of submersed aquatic plants, sediment resuspension by wave action, and shoreline erosion. Successful lake habitat restoration requires good information on wind and wave energy, and this information is commonly not available. The main goal of this project was to create easily accessible information on lake wave energy to enable successful habitat restoration projects and increase natural fish reproduction in Minnesota lakes. The project partnered the University of Minnesota with the MN DNR and included field measurements of wind and wave height on four lakes ranging in size from 350 to 5000 acres, wave modeling work to map typical wave energy on the shorelines of 457 Minnesota lakes, and experimental work in a wave flume to better understand how nearshore sediment responds to wave energy in lakes. A major part of the project was to develop models for wave height and energy that consider wind sheltering by trees, so that wave height predictions could be made for smaller lakes with fetches of a kilometer or less. The wave maps created by this study can be used by state agencies and lake associations to plan lake shoreline management, including habitat restoration projects, aquatic plant management, and shoreline erosion control.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Electronic maps of wave height and energy created in this project will be uploaded to the Data Repository for University of Minnesota (DRUM), and details of the project will be published in a St. Anthony Falls Lab project report to document the methodologies used. The project PI gave a talk on the project at a conference on Sentinel lakes in March 2019 in Alexandria, MN, and is giving a poster presentation at the 2021 Minnesota Water Resources Conference.

Prescribed Fire Management for Roadside Prairies

Subd. 08f     $345,000 TF (FY2018)

Nate Johnson
Minnesota Department of Transportation
395 John Ireland Blvd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (612) 723-4288
Email: nathan.d.johnson@state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$345,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of transportation to enhance the prescribed-fire program to manage roadsides to protect and increase biodiversity and pollinator habitat. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

MnDOT's fire program has grown exponentially since this funding was secured. All fire crews have gained extensive experience and have gained a lot of confidence on how and when fire should safely be used. The number of areas and districts in which fire occurs on MnDOT property has increased throughout this project. Within the next 5 years MnDOT will be conducting prescribed fire in 6 of its 8 districts around the state.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

MnDOT fire program took major steps forward with this funding and has secured a self-sustaining fire program. Prior to this funding DOT completed less than 5 burns a year, in the 3 years of this program DOT completed 78 burns that totaled 142 miles of ROW burned totaling 1,600 acres of Mn and US highway ROW burned statewide. Even with one years of no burning allowed due to COVID 19, we surpassed our goals of this project and doubled our acres completed. DOT’s current burn program has changed how native planting will be installed in the future, by being able to help maintain them for long lasting success. More Roadside Rest Areas around the state will be planted with native vegetation, to help increase pollinator habitat and reduce maintenance cost associated with turf grass. Six MnDOT staff have received fire training on becoming burn bosses, with one person finishing all training and task books required. With additional staff able to complete burns, MnDOT’s fire program will continue to grow and expand.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

A Master Partnership Agreement was drafted, completed, and currently in place which allows MnDOT to assist the MnDNR on all aspects of wildfire suppression and prescribed fire operations, this agreement includes funding for direct payment between the two state agencies. With MnDOT assisting the DNR in wildfire suppression, it is our hope that we will reduce the number of resources needed from other state agencies and contractors.

Minnesota Bee and Beneficial Species Habitat Restoration

Subd. 08g     $732,000 TF (FY2018)

Sabin Adams
Pheasants Forever Inc.
1783 Buerkle Cir
St. Paul, MN 55110

Phone: (320) 250-6317
Email: sadams@pheasantsforever.org
Web: http://www.pheasantsforever.org

Appropriation Language
$732,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Pheasants Forever in cooperation with the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Honey Producers Association to restore approximately 800 acres of permanently protected land to enhance bee, butterfly, beneficial insect, and grassland bird habitats. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2021, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

This project’s goal was to enhance and study 800 acres of permanently protected habitat by converting low diversity grassland areas to high diversity native grasses and wildflowers. The result of our efforts was the successful enhancement of 1,949.69 acres of habitat to benefit pollinators and other wildlife.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Grassland habitat loss and fragmentation continue to be the major factor in the decline of monarchs, other pollinators and grassland wildlife. While we have restored hundreds of thousands of acres of grasslands, our early restorations rarely considered the needs of pollinators, the value of milkweed species to the monarch, or the vegetative structural and species diversity required by many species.

This project sought to address the loss of habitat essential to pollinators by enhancing 800 acres of low diversity grasslands on permanently protected lands. These enhancements were monitored in collaboration with the University of Minnesota (UofM) to, inform practitioners of best practices and provide a path to future habitat enhancements for native pollinators.

Enhancement projects were solicited by Pheasants Forever (PF) and project partners through a sign‐up period via an RFP sent to SWCD’s and other private land partners in the agricultural region of Minnesota. Application were ranked and funded based on potential benefit to the program. Private contractors were hired by PF to complete enhancement work on 1949.69 acres. After enhancement work was completed researchers from the UofM monitored the sites to measure usage by pollinator species as well as measure native plant growth.

Pollinators are extremely important to the production of foods and other products that Minnesotans utilize, as well as other ecosystem services. Whether through funding or policy, the decline of pollinators suggests the need to put a greater emphasis on the protection, restoration, and management of their habitats. Once results are analyzed, the research conducted by the UofM will help improve our best management practices in pollinator habitat restoration and enhancement.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The enhancement activities completed by this project did not result in the creation of any new tools or documents. Projects were occasionally highlighted in field tours, or via social media posts. The field research conducted by the UofM is now complete, but data analysis and results have yet to be finalized or published. Once complete, this data will be available to the public and should inform practitioners about improved methods for restoring and enhancing pollinator habitat.

Mississippi and Vermillion River Restoration of Prairie, Savanna, and Forest Habitat - Phase Ten

Subd. 08h     $213,000 TF (FY2018)

Lisa Mueller
Friends of the Mississippi River
101 Est 5th Street, Suite 2000
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone: (651) 222-2193 x12
Email: lmueller@fmr.org
Web: http://www.fmr.org

Appropriation Language
$213,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Friends of the Mississippi River for continued implementation of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership by improving at least 80 acres of habitat at approximately seven sites along the Mississippi River and Vermillion River corridors. Expenditures are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work plan. A list of proposed restoration sites must be provided as part of the required work plan. Plant and seed materials must follow the Board of Water and Soil Resources' native vegetation establishment and enhancement guidelines. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Friends of the Mississippi River increased and improved 133 acres of habitat at 6 sites along the Mississippi and Vermillion River corridors, linking existing nodes of high biodiversity. The project restored and enhanced prairie, savanna and forest habitat along the river corridors with a focus on increasing habitat for pollinators.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Through this project, Friends of the Mississippi River will increase and improve 82 acres of habitat at 7 sites along the Mississippi and Vermillion River corridors. Habitat fragmentation and degradation from non-native species, diseases and other causes threaten Minnesota’s rich natural heritage. This situation will be exacerbated as the state’s climate continues to change. A system of interconnected natural areas can help to lessen these impacts by providing both habitat and the ability for native species to move on the landscape in response to these changes. This is the goal of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership and of this proposal. The projects on our list are all along the Mississippi and Vermillion Rivers, natural corridors that link the existing nodes of high biodiversity.

The overarching goal for this project is to restore and enhance prairie, savanna, and forest habitat along these river corridors. While these projects will improve habitat for a variety of species, FMR will specifically focus on increasing habitat for our diminishing pollinators. We will seed and install a diversity of host and nectar plants. The restoration activities, presented in existing natural resource management plans, include exotic invasive plant removal, soil preparation, spraying, seeding, mowing, plant installation and burning. To help reduce costs and to increase the educational outcomes, FMR will organize volunteer stewardship events to accomplish some of the restoration activities at some of these sites. These restoration activities will have multiple benefits. An important outcome will be to improve or increase habitat for native pollinators by increasing host and nectar plants. Seed mixes will exceed the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water guidelines, with many additional pollinator plant blooms in all seasons. Restoration activities at these sites will provide water quality benefits by installing deep-rooted prairie/savanna plants that help reduce erosion and sediment & chemicals from entering the rivers. Being within the Metro area, these sites provide examples of diverse native habitat for area residents to enjoy and learn about. A final goal of this project is to work with Metro Conservation Corridors partners to develop a more uniform restoration monitoring and evaluation protocol that also allows the data to be shared. Each of the specific sites in this project is in public ownership and have natural resource management plans in place to guide the habitat restoration and management activities and are on file at FMR. The Conservation Corps of Minnesota is on our contractor contact list and receive notice for all restoration Request for Proposals that we prepare and distribute.

FMR will conduct an evaluation for each of site upon completion of these grant-funded restoration activities and three years later. These evaluations will analyze how the activities achieved the goals for the project, present any unforeseen issues that impacted the achievement of those goals and lessons learned from the project.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

FMR promoted and disseminated information about this project through earned media, FMR’s website (www.FMR.org), electronic & printed newsletters, and volunteer stewardship events. FMR has acknowledged ENRTF in all publications and events that refer to these projects. FMR will work with landowners to erect signage where ENRTF grant funds were spent.

Community Stewardship to Restore Urban Natural Resources - Phase Ten

Subd. 08i     $524,000 TF (FY2018)

Wiley Buck
Great River Greening
35 Water St W, Ste 201
St. Paul, MN 55107

Phone: (651) 665-9500
Email: wbuck@greatrivergreening.org
Web: http://www.greatrivergreening.org

Appropriation Language
$524,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Great River Greening to work with volunteers for continued implementation of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership to restore approximately 250 acres of forest, prairie, woodland, wetland, and shoreline throughout the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. Expenditures are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work plan. A list of proposed restoration sites and evaluations must be provided as part of the required work plan. Plant and seed materials must follow the Board of Water and Soil Resources' native vegetation establishment and enhancement guidelines. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Economic Assessment of Precision Conservation and Agriculture

Subd. 08j     $400,000 TF (FY2018)

Tanner Bruse
Pheasants Forever Inc.
1783 Buerkle Circle
St. Paul, MN 55110

Phone: (507) 337-9789
Email: tbruse@pheasantsforever.org

Appropriation Language
$400,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Pheasants Forever to demonstrate a new approach to promote conservation practices utilizing return-on-investment analysis and identifying revenue-negative acres on agricultural land to assist farmers in implementing conservation practices that will provide environmental and economic benefits. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Outreach and Implementation

Subd. 08k     $6,000,000 TF (FY2018)

Tabor Hoek
Board of Water and Soil Resources
1400 East Lyon Street
Marshall, MN 56258

Phone: (507) 537-7260
Email: tabor.hoek@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$6,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to fund staff at soil and water conservation districts to assist landowners participating in the federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. This appropriation is contingent upon receipt of federal funds for implementation. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

Subd. 08l     $13,500,000 TF (FY2017 - $2,729,000 / FY2018 - $5,771,000 / FY2019 - $5,000,000)

Sharon Doucette
Board of Water and Soil Resources
520 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 539-2567
Email: sharon.doucette@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$2,729,000 in fiscal year 2017 and $5,771,000 the first year and $5,000,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to acquire permanent conservation easements and restore land under Minnesota Statutes, section 103F.515. This work may be done in cooperation with the federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2021, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Subd. 09Land Acquisition, Habitat and Recreation

Metropolitan Regional Parks System Land Acquisition

Subd. 09a     $1,500,000 TF (FY2018)

Jessica Lee
Metropolitan Council
390 Robert St N
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone: (651) 602-1621
Email: jessica.lee@metc.state.mn.us
Web: http://www.metrocouncil.org/parks/index.htm

Appropriation Language
$1,500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Metropolitan Council for grants to acquire approximately 197 acres of land within the approved park boundaries of the metropolitan regional park system. This appropriation may not be used to purchase habitable residential structures. A list of proposed fee title acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation must be matched by at least 40 percent of nonstate money that must be committed by December 31, 2017. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

The Metropolitan Council along with Washington County and Carver County acquired 12 parcels to increase recreational opportunities for the Regional Parks System. These critical acquisitions protected over three miles of Minnesota River and St. Croix River shoreline and 192 acres of high-quality natural resource land in Washington and Carver Counties.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

The Metropolitan Council works with the Regional Park Implementing Agencies to protect critical lands and provide recreational opportunities for the Regional Parks System. This $1,436,000 ENRTF project was matched with $1.7 million in Council funds and Agency funds to purchase 14 parcels for the Regional Parks System.

Washington County acquired a 102-acre property for St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park with funding from this and a previous appropriation. The property contains critical habitats including hardwoods, mixed forest, open meadow, and 3,800 feet of St. Croix River shoreline. With the addition of this 102-acre parcel, the park now protects 5,000 contiguous feet of shoreline. Carver County acquired 13 parcels for the Minnesota River Bluffs Regional Trail, protecting 90 acres of natural resources and 3 miles of regional trail, much of it along the Minnesota River corridor.

Acquiring these properties permanently protects critical natural resources while providing additional recreational opportunities for the region. All properties funded are inholdings or parcels that are included in master plan-approved park boundaries. The Regional Park Implementing Agencies work only with willing landowners when acquiring lands with ENRTF, and they focus on acquiring lands with high natural resources and habitat value that are at risk of being developed.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Articles were released both after the grant was awarded and after the Rowe parcel was purchased for Washington County’s St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park, including an article in the Pioneer Press on June 11, 2019. Carver County celebrated the opening of their rebuilt portion of the Minnesota River Bluffs Regional Trail on July 13, 2021 with a public celebration. Several news releases were published, including the SW News Media and on Carver County’s website. The Council also issued news releases after each grant was awarded. The Agencies include the ENRTF sign when they install visitor signs. In addition, the Metropolitan Council and the Agencies acknowledge ENRTF for any media releases about the acquisitions.

Scientific and Natural Areas Acquisition, Restoration, Citizen Science and Engagement

Subd. 09b     $2,500,000 TF (FY2018)

Molly Roske
MN DNR, Division of Ecological & Water Resources
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 259-5094
Email: molly.roske@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/index.html

Appropriation Language
$2,500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire at least 250 acres of land with high-quality native plant communities and rare features to be established as scientific and natural areas as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 5, restore and improve at least 1,000 acres of scientific and natural areas, and provide technical assistance and outreach, including site steward events. At least one-third of the appropriation must be spent on restoration activities. A list of proposed acquisitions and restorations must be provided as part of the required work plan. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards, as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. When feasible, consideration must be given to accommodate trails on lands acquired. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Minnesota State Parks and State Trails Land Acquisition

Subd. 09c     $1,500,000 TF (FY2018)

Shelby Kok
MN DNR
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 259-5590
Email: Shelby.Kok@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.mndnr.gov

Appropriation Language
$1,500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire approximately 373 acres from willing sellers for authorized state trails and critical parcels within the statutory boundaries of state parks. State park land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards, as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. A list of proposed acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

SOUND BITE OF PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Acquisition of Minnesota State Park and State Trail land provides permanent, effective and consolidated protection and management of pristine natural areas representative of diverse landscapes throughout the entire state of Minnesota for perpetual enjoyment by State Park and Trail users.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund funding resulted in the Department of Natural Resources acquiring approximately 373 acres of land within the statutory boundaries of four Minnesota State Parks.

  • Acquired 80 acres in Maplewood State Park. This acquisition is located within the southeast portion of the state park, which contains a large contiguous tract of maple basswood hardwood forest over a rolling topography. This forest is similar to what is known to exist at the time of European settlement of the area. This undisturbed/undeveloped forest is important nesting habitat for neo-tropical forest songbirds.
  • Acquired 153 acres in Sibley State Park. This property affords park visitors approaching along TH71 a glimpse of Minnesota’s original prairie landscape with rolling grasslands and wetlands. Recreational trail users on this parcel will have views of the transitions from prairie to savanna to woodlands. This parcel will also provide a route for the Glacial Lakes State Trail connection to Sibley State Park.
  • Acquired 30 acres in Minneopa State Park. This acquisition helps in protecting cultural resources, provide for sustainable wildlife habitat and new hiking, bird watching and facilitate interpretive programming opportunities. It is located adjacent to existing DNR ownership along the Minnesota River which will connect ~164 acres of publically owned, DNR managed land, and contributes to the consolidated management efforts to maintain and restore native vegetation as well as buffer for Minnesota River and protection of river watershed.
  • Acquired 158 acres in Frontenac State Park. This land improves the park’s ability to preserve and buffer natural resources, wildlife habitat and view sheds. This parcel also has a stunning overlook and incredible birding opportunities for unique trail hiking experiences.


PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Maplewood and Sibley acquisitions dissemination have been communicated through updated state park maps reflecting state managed land and are identified as public land open to be used and enjoyed by all visitors. Now, that an acquisition consultant has been appointed, dissemination will continue for the rest of the acquired parcels.

Minnesota State Trails Acquisition, Development and Enhancement

Subd. 09d     $1,038,000 TF (FY2017 - $999,000 / FY2018 - $39,000)

Kent Skaar
MN DNR, Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 259-5636
Email: Kent.skaar@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.mndnr.gov

Appropriation Language
$999,000 in fiscal year 2017 and $39,000 the first year are from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for state trail acquisition, development, and enhancement in southern Minnesota. A proposed list of trail projects on authorized state trails must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Native Prairie Stewardship and Prairie Bank Easement Acquisition

Subd. 09e     $2,675,000 TF (FY2018)

Judy Schulte
MN DNR - SNA Program
1241 Bridge St E
Redwood Falls, MN 56283

Phone: (507) 637-6016
Email: judy.schulte@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/index.html

Appropriation Language
$2,675,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire native prairie bank easements in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 84.96, on approximately 335 acres, prepare baseline property assessments, restore and enhance at least 570 acres of native prairie sites, and provide technical assistance to landowners. Of this amount, up to $132,000 may be deposited in a conservation easement stewardship account. Deposits into the conservation easement stewardship account must be made upon closing on conservation easements or at a time otherwise approved in the work plan. A list of proposed easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Leech Lake Acquisition

Subd. 09f     $1,500,000 TF (FY2018)

Joseph Fowler
Leech Lake Division of Resource Management
190 Sail Star Dr NE
Cass Lake, MN 56633

Phone: (218) 335-7400
Email: Joseph.fowler@llojibwe.org
Web: http://www.llojibwe.org/drm/index.html

Appropriation Language
$1,500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to acquire approximately 45 acres, including 0.67 miles of shoreline of high-quality aquatic and wildlife habitat at the historic meeting place between Henry Schoolcraft and the Anishinabe people. The land must be open to public use including hunting and fishing. The band must provide a commitment that land will not be put in a federal trust through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Mesabi Trail Development

Subd. 09g     $2,269,000 TF (FY2018)

Bob Manzoline
St. Louis & Lake Counties Regional Railroad Authority
111 Station 44 Rd
Eveleth, MN 55734

Phone: (218) 744-2653
Email: bamnzoline@rrauth.com

Appropriation Language
$2,269,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the St. Louis and Lake Counties Regional Railroad Authority for engineering and constructing segments of the Mesabi Trail. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Tower Trailhead Boat Landing and Habitat Improvement - Phase II

Subd. 09h     $600,000 TF (FY2018)

Nancy Larson
City of Tower
PO Box 576
Tower, MN 55790

Phone: (218) 753-4070
Email: communitycoaching@yahoo.com

Appropriation Language
$600,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the city of Tower to construct a trailhead and boat landing and restore vegetative habitat on city-owned property. Plant and seed materials must follow the Board of Water and Soil Resources' native vegetation establishment and enhancement guidelines. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Land Acquisition for Voyageurs National Park Crane Lake Visitors Center

Subd. 09i     $950,000 TF (FY2018)

Jim Janssen
Town of Crane Lake
PO Box 402
Crane Lake, MN 55725

Phone: (218) 993-1303
Email: info@cranelaketwp.com
Web: http://www.cranelaketwp.com

Appropriation Language
$950,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the town of Crane Lake, in partnership with Voyageurs National Park and the Department of Natural Resources, to acquire approximately 30 acres to be used for a visitor center and campground. Income generated by the campground may be used to support the facility.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

The Township of Crane Lake received a $950,000 grant from the ENRTF to acquire an approximately 30 acre former resort site on the shores of Crane Lake to work in partnership with an adjacent DNR 7 acre site to build an entrance point to Voyageurs National Park that will include a National Park Service Visitors Center, boat ramp, docks, beach, campground, restrooms, and educational and community space. The Township of Crane Lake has purchased the property and will be working with their partners to begin the design and development phases of their development. The total cost of the parcel was $982,000 with $950,000 coming from the ENRTF and the Township providing $32,000 in their own funds.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

During the process of planning, land sale negotiations, and securing the former Borderland Resort site, the Township of Crane Lake has been posting progress on their website, updating local newspapers, working with local tourism offices, area chambers of commerce and working very closely with their partners including the DNR and Park Service. The Township will continue to disseminate information through the same media through the planning, design and construction phases of the overall development.

Subd. 10Administration

Contract Agreement Reimbursement

Subd. 10a     $135,000 TF (FY2018)

Katherine Sherman-Hoehn
MN DNR
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 10
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 259-5533
Email: Katherine.Sherman-Hoehn@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$135,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources, at the direction of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, for expenses incurred for contract agreement reimbursement for the agreements specified in this section. The commissioner shall provide documentation to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources on the expenditure of these funds.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS

This appropriation was used to support the ENRTF contract management program, which ensured that ENRTF grantees expended grant funds in compliance with state law, session law, approved work plans, and Office of Grants Management grants policies.

The DNR Grants Unit managed 67 grants active in FY 2017. In FY 2018, the Grants Unit managed 71 active grants. Between July 1, 2016 when the services began and June 30, 2018 when they ended, the DNR Grants Unit:

• Made 359 reimbursements to grantees totaling $13,053,825.58
• Prepared and executed 21 ML 2017 grant agreements
• Published 6 editions of the quarterly newsletter for all grantees
• Billed 350 hours at the FY 2017 professional services rate of $63.00/hr
• Billed 1,534 hours at the FY 2018 professional services rate of $63.00/hr
• Monitored all grants in compliance with Office of Grants Management policies.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Project personnel were in frequent contact with appropriation recipients and LCCMR staff. Information was disseminated through manuals, training sessions, orientations, meetings, memos, letters, emails, newsletter, and phone.

Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR)

Subd. 10b     $1,200,000 TF (FY2018)

Susan Thornton
Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources
100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Rm 65
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 296-6264
Email: susan.thornton@lccmr.mn.gov
Web: https://www.lccmr.mn.gov

Appropriation Language
$1,200,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for administration in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.09, subdivision 5.

Legislative Coordinating Commission Legacy Website

Subd. 10c     $5,000 TF (FY2018)

Sally Olson
Legislative Coordinating Commission
100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Rm 72
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: (651) 296-9002
Email: sally.olson@lcc.mn.gov
Web: https://www.lccmr.mn.gov

Appropriation Language
$5,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Legislative Coordinating Commission for the Web site required in Minnesota Statutes, section 3.303, subdivision 10.