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Land Management

Land Trust seeking interested landowners to conserve wetlands

Tri-County News of Kimball, Minnesota

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The Minnesota Land Trust is looking for landowners who want to conserve their wetlands in Becker, Douglas, Grant, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Otter Tail, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Pope and Todd counties.

The Minnesota Land Trust is working to combat wetland loss with its new and innovative Wetland Habitat Protection Program. The program uses a market-based and cost-effective approach to acquire conservation easements from private landowners in the Prairie and Prairie-Forest transition area in Central Minnesota, including all or parts of the following counties:

Landowners who are selected in the program will receive funding for their participation thanks to grants from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the McKnight Foundation.

The Minnesota Land Trust has already completed seven conservation projects and have a number of very worthwhile projects in the pipeline. Additional funds are now available for new potential projects; applications are being accepted for the next round until Nov. 5, 2015.

A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or other qualified agency that permanently limits certain uses of land in order to protect its conservation values. Landowners continue to own and enjoy the land and pay property taxes. Once created, the conservation easement is binding on all future owners of the property. More information can be found at www.mnland.org.

The importance of Minnesota's wetland complexes cannot be overstated. Wetlands slow moving water systems to improve water quality, help control flooding, reduce soil erosion and act as a buffer against droughts. They also provide critical nesting and feeding habitat to many species and are a distinct feature of the Minnesota landscape. Yet the area that they cover in the state has been cut in half since pre-settlement. Wetland loss is particularly severe in the western, prairie-pothole region, where more than 90 percent of wetlands are gone.

Wetlands rival tropical rainforests and coral reefs in their level of biodiversity and productivity; though they cover only 5 percent of the land area in the lower 48, wetlands contain almost 31 percent of all plant species and as much as 50 percent of all bird species in the same area. Besides their ecological value, wetlands are a unique and vital part of Minnesota's natural landscape, and we are incredibly excited to work with landowners to preserve them for generations to come.

To learn more about this exciting program, landowners are invited to visit www.mnland.org, or contact Pat Anderson, Program Manager for Wetlands & Grasslands, at (651) 917-6288, 1-877-MLT-LAND or panderson@mnland.org.

About the Minnesota Land Trust

The Minnesota Land Trust is a membership-based non-profit organization. Its mission is to protect and restore Minnesota's most vital natural lands in order to provide wildlife habitat, clean water, outdoor experiences and scenic beauty for generations to come. The organization has completed 494 conservation projects all over the state of Minnesota, permanently protecting nearly 47,000 acres of natural and scenic land and more than a million feet of fragile shoreline statewide.



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Original Publication Date: October 22, 2015



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