Accelerated Prairie Grassland Restoration and Enhancement Program on DNR Lands

Project Overview

This program will acquire and develop approximately 730, acres of new Wildlife
Management Area (WMA) lands. New WMA acquisition acre targets by LSOHC Sections will be consistent with the recommendations of The Citizens Advisory Committee report of 2002 “Minnesota’s Wildlife Management Area Acquisition – The Next 50 Years”. Additionally, this program will protect 275 acres of native prairie as state Scientific & Natural Areas (SNAs) and perpetual Native Prairie Bank (NPB) easements. This will provide habitat for rare species, Species in Greatest Conservation Need as identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and provide habitat for other game and wildlife species. All public SNA’s acquired through this project will be open to all forms of hunting and fishing.
This program will also accelerate the restoration and enhancement of approximately 20,400 acres of native prairie vegetation on Wildlife Management Areas, Aquatic Management Areas, Scientific and Natural Areas, and State Forests. This will provide much needed wildlife habitat for a host of grassland and farmland species. Prairie restoration efforts will center on site preparation, seeding of local ecotype seed, post-seed management to assure success, and seed harvest of local ecotype seed for prairie restoration at other public land sites. Prairie enhancement efforts will center on prescribed burning, managing woody cover encroachment, and interseeding. Goat prairie enhancements are a distinct target in the Southeast Forests.
There is a very significant unmet need for prescribed burning on public lands. We will hire a roving burn crew for 2 years. The crew will be fully equipped and self sufficient and will therefore be capable of burning an additional 7,000 acres per year. Fifty-percent of their time will be spent on burning (this is the entire spring and fall burn season). During the non-burn season the crew will complete 1,000 acres woody encroachment management annually (25%) on WMAs. The remaining 25% will be spent on other WMA habitat management activities. This work is all supplemental to the existing DNR burning and woody cover management programs