June 26, 2016
Pheasants Forever was recently awarded 10 North American Wetlands Conservation Act small grants to conserve wetlands and associated grasslands in Minnesota.
Pheasants Forever and its partners will employ this round of NAWCA funding to restore, enhance, or protect habitat on 4,536 acres vital to upland birds and waterfowl, with all acquired acres open to public hunting and recreation.
Projects in Minnesota receiving funding are:
Pheasants Forever receives grants for conserving Minnesota wetlands, grasslands
-Arlington WMA Addition, Sibley County: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $300,000; 75 acres protected. Building upon current conservation work being completed by federal, state, and private organizations in the area, the Arlington Wildlife Management Area acquisition permanently protects 75 acres near existing Waterfowl Production Areas, Wildlife Management Areas, and perpetual private land conservation easements. More specifically, the project site consists of 21 acres of existing pothole wetlands, approximately 16 acres of restorable palustrine emergent wetlands, and 38 acres of upland habitat.
-Big Stone County Habitat Enhancement: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $101,015; 634 acres enhanced. This project will accelerate the protection, restoration and enhancement of grasslands and wetlands in an effort to establish habitat suitable to grassland nesting birds. It enhances the Lac qui Parle WMA, Clawson WMA and Robinhood WPA, as well as two private land sites, by removing undesirable invasive trees from grassland nesting cover.
-Carlos Avery Wetlands, Anoka County: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $876,000; 634 acres enhanced. This project will build upon and improve current holdings in the Minnesota Wildlife Management Area System, specifically the Carlos Avery WMA. The purchase of 211.98 acres adjacent to the 24,000-acre Carlos Avery WMA complex protects existing wetlands and habitat for breeding waterfowl. NAWCA funds will enhance 634 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands by improving or replacing ailing dikes and water control structures.
-Minnesota Valley Wetlands, Carver & Sibley Counties: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $80,000; 105.7 acres protected or enhanced. The Tiger Marsh WMA acquisition permanently protects 15.17 acres directly adjacent to 575-acre Tiger Lake located in Carver County. The project site consists of 5.8 acres of existing wetlands and cropped acres that will be restored to grasslands. Grant funds also will enhance an additional 90 acres on the Dehning Waterfowl Production Area in Sibley County by removing volunteer woody vegetation and diversity seeding into smooth brome.
-Minnesota Valley WPAs, Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Rice, Sibley, Steele & Waseca Counties: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $520,000; 90 acres protected. This project will build upon the Erin Prairie Waterfowl Production Area by purchasing 80 acres of wetlands and associated grasslands adjoining the existing habitat complex. The acquisition of this tract protects 10.1 acres of palustrine emergent wetland. Grant funds will be used to help secure an addition to a WPA in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Minnesota Valley Wetland Management District.
-Mud Lake WPA III, Sibley County: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $672,500; 128.9 protected acres. This project will build upon the Mud Lake WPA by purchasing 128.9 acres of wetlands and associated grasslands adjoining the existing lake and public area. Mud Lake WPA lies within the Minnesota Valley Wetland Management District focal area and has been a focus for recent acquisition and restoration activity. The acquisition of this tract protects 38.49 acres of palustrine emergent wetland and 6.46 acres of palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands.
-Prairie Coteau Grassland Enhancement, Lyon, Murray & Pipestone Counties: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $89,218; 700 acres enhanced. This project will protect, restore and enhance grassland nesting habitat - including the 5-mile Corner Waterfowl Production Area addition (4.6 acres) - and 372 acres of private lands permanently protected by conservation easements and located within the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan priority area.
-Prairie Coteau Wetland & Nesting Cover Enhancement, Pipestone, Murray, Nobles, Jackson, Lac qui Parle & Swift Counties: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $87,482; 697 acres enhanced. This project will enhance wetlands and associated upland areas on both public and private lands that are permanently protected. It also will enhance two water control structures and provide for the removal of existing/encroaching woody vegetation.
-Rich Valley WMA Addition, McLeod County: grant, $75,000; matching funds, $139,500; 40 acres protected. This project will build upon the Rich Valley Wildlife Management Area by purchasing 40 acres of wetlands and associated grasslands adjoining this 196-acre unit. The subject tract is currently enrolled into USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program and has 32.2 acres of upland nesting cover and 7.8 acres of palustrine emergent wetland. The goal is to protect this tract from conversion, which has been commonplace with CRP in this part of the PPJV. With upland nesting cover for breeding waterfowl, pheasants and grassland birds being a limiting factor in this geography, protecting this tract from grassland conversion is of the utmost importance. When the current CRP contract expires, Pheasants Forever and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists will upgrade the parcel with high-diversity enhancements to provide forage, bare ground, and a variety of flowering plants for quality pollinator habitat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Bird Habitat Conservation is responsible for facilitating these grants.
Source: Pheasants Forever
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