Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council recommendations


Ann Wessel
November 17, 2015

The following projects proposed for counties surrounding St. Cloud — Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Morrison and Todd — are among 40 totaling $111.5 million that the Lessard-Sams Heritage Council has recommended for funding. Dollars listed here are rounded, and reflect the trimmed amounts, not the original requests.

• State Wildlife Management Area additions, Pheasants Forever, $5.23 million to purchase up to 680 acres of prairie and wetland habitat from willing sellers, including in Stearns County.

Anoka Sand Plain habitat conservation, Great River Greening, $1.2 million for Phase 4 of habitat enhancement and restoration of 917 acres including land in Sherburne, Morrison and Todd counties. Affected sites include two state WMA’s, a state forest, two Scientific and Natural Areas, a national wildlife refuge and four regional projects.

• Mississippi and Crow Wing rivers buffer expansion, Camp Ripley (working with the federal Army Compatible Use Buffer program), $1.5 million to protect 660 acres of habitat through 11 conservation easements, involving the Morrison County Soil & Water Conservation District.

• Waterfowl Production Areas, Pheasants Forever, $5.7 million to speed up permanent protection of 175 acres of wetlands and 585 acres of grasslands open to public hunting, including Stearns and Wright counties.

• Wetland habitat protection, Minnesota Land Trust, $1.6 million to protect 750 acres of high-priority wetlands through permanent conservation easements, including in Stearns County.

• Aquatic habitat protection, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, $1.6 million to continue Phase 8 of shoreline acquisition on lakes and conservation easements on trout streams, including Morrison County.

• Big Rivers (and tributaries’) habitat protection, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, $4 million to continue Phase 7, protecting 280 acres, restoring 164 acres and enhancing 613 acres of priority habitat in metro counties including Sherburne.

•Coldwater fish habitat enhancements, Minnesota Trout Unlimited, $2.1 million for Phase 8 of enhancements that deal with degraded habitat on public easements, public lands and public waters, including Little Rock Creek in Benton County.