Anoka Sand Plain Restoration and Enhancement
Through funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and other leveraged sources, the Anoka Sandplain Partnership restored and enhanced 4,278 acres of oak savanna, prairie, and oak woodland habitat across 11 priority sites.
About the Issue
The participating members of the Anoka Sandplain Habitat Partnership harnessed the expertise, resources, and connections of a broad community of committed conservation stakeholders to significantly elevate restoration and enhancement of oak savannas (Minnesota’s most critically imperiled habitat), prairies, woodlands and forests on public lands across the Anoka Sandplain ecological region of east-central Minnesota. Through funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund - leveraging additional funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Science Foundation, Aveda Foundation, Centerpoint Energy, Great River Energy, Knife River Corporation, Rathmann Foundation, Tiller Corporation, Xcel Energy Foundation, and various in-kind contributions - we exceeded all stated goals proposed at the onset of this grant. From July 2010 through December 2013, and over the 3.5-year duration of grant-related activity, 4,278 acres of oak savanna, oak woodland and prairie habitats occurring on public lands in the project area were restored and enhanced by project partners Great River Greening, Isanti County Parks and the University of Minnesota’s Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. This exceeded by 2,441 acres (or 238%) the acres proposed for restoration/enhancement work.
Prescribed restoration and enhancement work was completed across 11 public lands – see a full summary detailed in the final parcel list – including:
• Isanti County Parks (1 site; 20 acres): Springvale County Park;
• Minnesota DNR State Wildlife Management Areas (6 sites; 638 acres): Carlos Avery, Lamprey Pass, Rice Area Sportsman Club, Sand Prairie, Michaelson Farm and Becklin Homestead WMA/County Park;
• Minnesota DNR Scientific and Natural Areas State (2 sites; 55 acres): Rice Lake and Harry W. Cater;
• University of Minnesota Cedar Creek Ecological Science Reserve (1,022 acres); and
• Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (2,543 acres).
In achievement of these outcomes, the following actions were completed:
• Elimination of invasive plants (trees, shrubs and forbs) over 2,360 acres of oak savanna and oak woodland habitats;
• Seeding/planting of 114 acres of oak savanna habitat;
• Seeding of 16 acres of oak woodland habitat; and
• Prescribed fire over 2,814 acres of oak savanna and prairie habitat.
Significant outreach to local community audiences was undertaken through the following mechanisms:
• Great River Greening orchestrated two volunteer events (at Sand Prairie WMA and Becklin Homestead County Park/WMA) in partnership with the Minnesota DNR, Isanti County Parks and National Wild Turkey Federation, engaging 108 local community members.
• Local Boy Scout troops, Maplewood Green Team, and other community members actively engaged in collecting local ecotype acorns that were used to restore oak woodlands at Lamprey Pass WMA.
• Projects and associated activities were regularly highlighted in Greening’s e-newsletters, annual reports, and Twitter and Facebook sites during the course of the grant, each post reaching over 4,000 individuals.
• Staff presented the program to the 2010 annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology – Minnesota Chapter, the Rice Area Sportsman’s Club, and several other local and regional events.
• The Partnership hosted Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council staff and members at Sherburne NWR during their spring 2012 field trip.