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Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

M.L. 2010 Projects

M.L. 2010 Projects

MN Laws 2010, Chapter 362, Section 2 (beginning July 1, 2010)

Summary of appropriations and expected outcomes

NOTE: For all projects, contact us to obtain the most up-to-date work programs for current projects (project updates are required twice each year) or the final reports of completed projects.

The following documents are short abstracts for projects funded during the 2010 Legislative Session. The final date of completion for these projects is listed at the end of the abstract. When available, we have provided links to a project's web site. The sites linked to this page are not created, maintained, or endorsed by the LCCMR office or the Minnesota Legislature.


Subd. 03   Natural Resource Data and Information
Subd. 04   Land, Habitat, and Recreation
Subd. 05   Water Resources
Subd. 06   Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species
Subd. 07   Renewable Energy
Subd. 08   Environmental Education


Subd. 03   Natural Resource Data and Information
03aCounty Geologic Atlases and Related Hydrogeologic Research
03bUpdating the Minnesota Wetlands Inventory: Phase 2
03cMinnesota Breeding Bird Atlas
03dIntegrated, Operational Bird Conservation Plan for Minnesota
03eMitigating Pollinator Decline in Minnesota - RESEARCH
03fScience and Innovation from Soudan Underground Mine State Park - RESEARCH
03gQuantifying Carbon Burial in Wetlands - RESEARCH
03hStrategic Planning for Minnesota's Natural and Artificial Watersheds
03iEcosystem Services in Agricultural Watersheds
03jFarmland Conservation in Minnesota
03kIdentifying Critical Habitats for Moose in Northeastern Minnesota - RESEARCH
 
Subd. 04   Land, Habitat, and Recreation
04aEcological Restoration Training Cooperative for Habitat Restoration
04bScientific and Natural Areas and Native Prairie Restoration, Enhancement, and Acquisition
04cState Park Improvements
04dState Park Land Acquisition
04eProtection of Rare Granite Rock Outcrop Ecosystem
04fMinnesota's Habitat Conservation Partnership Supplemental
04gMetropolitan Conservation Corridors Supplemental
04hConserving Sensitive and Priority Shorelands in Cass County
04iReconnecting Fragmented Prairie Landscapes
 
Subd. 05   Water Resources
05aUnderstanding Sources of Aquatic Contaminants of Emerging Concern - RESEARCH
05bManaging Mineland Sulfate Release in Saint Louis River Basin - RESEARCH
05cEcological Impacts of Effluent in Surface Waters and Fish - RESEARCH
05dAgricultural and Urban Runoff Water Quality Treatment Analysis
05eAssessing Septic System Discharge to Lakes - RESEARCH
05fEvaluation of Dioxins in Minnesota Lakes - RESEARCH
05gAssessment of Shallow Lake Management - RESEARCH
05hAssessing Cumulative Impacts of Shoreline Development - RESEARCH
05iTrout Stream Assessmentss - RESEARCH
 
Subd. 06   Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species
06aBiological Control of European Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard - RESEARCH
06bEcological and Hydrological Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer - RESEARCH
06cHealthy Forests to Resist Invasion - RESEARCH
06dBioacoustic Traps for Management of Round Goby - RESEARCH
 
Subd. 07   Renewable Energy
07aAlgae for Fuels Pilot Project
07bSustainable Biofuels - RESEARCH
07cLinking Habitat Restoration to Bioenergy and Local Economies
07dDemonstrating Sustainable Energy Practices at Residential Environmental Learning Centers (RELCs)
07eAnalysis of Options for Minnesota's Energy Independence - GOVERNOR VETO
 
Subd. 08   Environmental Education
08aMinnesota Conservation Apprenticeship Academy
08bEngaging Students in Environmental Stewardship through Adventure Learning
08cConnecting Youth with Nature
08dUrban Wilderness Youth Outdoor Education
08eGet Outside - Urban Woodland for Kids
08fExpanding Outdoor Classrooms at Minnesota Schools
08gIntegrating Environmental and Outdoor Education in Grades 7-12
08hProject Get Outdoors
08iFishing: Cross Cultural Gateway to Environmental Education
08jMinnesota WolfLink
08kOnline Field Trip of Minnesota River
 

Funding Source:
Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (TF)


Subd. 03  Natural Resource Data and Information


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County Geologic Atlases and Related Hydrogeologic Research
Subd. 03a     $1,130,000

Dale Setterholm
MN Geological Survey
2642 University Ave
St. Paul, MN 55114

Phone:  (612) 627-4780 x223
Email:  sette001@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 627-4784
Web: http://www.geo.umn.edu/mgs/

Appropriation Language
$1,130,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University ofMinnesota for the Geologic Survey to initiate and continue the production of county geologic atlases, establish hydrologic properties necessary to water management, and investigate the use of geochemical data in water management. This appropriation represents a continuing effort to complete the county geologic atlases throughout the state. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The Minnesota County Geologic Atlas program is an ongoing effort begun in 1982 that is being conducted jointly by the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The program collects information on the geology of Minnesota to create maps and reports depicting the characteristics and pollution sensitivity of Minnesota's ground-water resources. County Geologic Atlases are used in planning and environmental protection efforts at all levels of government and by businesses to ensure sound planning, management, and protection of land and water resources. The Minnesota Geological Survey will use this appropriation to:

  • Initiate geologic atlases for Sherburne and Morrison counties;
  • Continue work on county geologic atlases already in progress;
  • Make collected data available in a digital format;
  • Investigate the hydrologic properties of the St. Lawrence Formation in southeastern Minnesota;
  • Evaluate methods for investigating groundwater flow pathways in urban areas, using Rochester, MN as the test area.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Minnesota Geological Survey maps sediment and rock because these materials control where water can enter the subsurface (recharge), where and how much water can reside in the ground (aquifers), where the water re-emerges (discharge), and at what rates this movement occurs. This information is essential to managing the quality of our water and the quantity that can be sustainably pumped. This project completed geologic atlases for Sherburne and Morrison counties, and contributed to atlas work in Anoka, Wright, Hennepin, Hubbard, Becker, Wadena, St. Louis, and Lake counties. Information about the geology is gleaned from the records of domestic wells, and from drilling conducted for this project. In Sherburne County we used 14,450 wells and 5 cores and in Morrison County we used 6,400 wells and 21 cores, and soil borings and geophysical surveys. From the data we created maps of the geology immediately beneath the soil; the aquifers within the glacial sediment; and the shape, elevation, and rock types of the bedrock surface. These maps and data support monitoring, wellhead protection, water appropriation, clean-ups, and supply management.

The deep bedrock aquifers in southeastern Minnesota are in most places not yet significantly impacted by pollution and presumed to be protected by low permeability overlying geologic layers, called aquitards. Even though aquitards are an important control on recharge and contaminant transport, their hydrologic characteristics are poorly understood compared to aquifers. This subproject investigated the St. Lawrence Formation through existing data, new data on fracturing, and by constructing an instrumented borehole to test the water-bearing characteristics. We learned that the St. Lawrence acts to retard vertical water flow where it is buried by more than 50 feet of overlying rock, but fails to do so in more shallow settings. Parts of the formation convey water horizontally in either setting.

A third subproject traced ground water movement in the Rochester area by examining the chemistry of the water. We learned that flow patterns are changing, apparently in response to high capacity pumping.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
County geologic atlases are distributed in print and digital formats. The digital format allows us to include all the data that support the maps and the ability to change the maps or create new ones. The products are available from the MGS web site (http://www.mngs.umn.edu/index.html). We also conduct post-project workshops in the map area to familiarize users with the products and their applications. The products are also distributed to libraries. Products of the Morrison County Geologic Atlas have been applied to finding new municipal water supplies in Little Falls and Motley. We expect both these atlases will be applied to understanding the widespread distribution of nitrate in ground water in this part of Minnesota. Additional funding from DNR has allowed us to continue to collect data from the instrumented borehole constructed for the St. Lawrence subproject. This additional data will be combined with what we have in a formal MGS Report of Investigations. The Rochester study is likely to improve computer simulations of water flow and influence decisions about the distribution and pumping rates of the wells that supply the city.

Project Publication:
Hydrogeologic Properties of the St. LAwrence Aquitard, Southeastern Minnesota (PDF - 1.87 GB)

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2014


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Updating the Minnesota Wetlands Inventory: Phase 2
Subd. 03b     $1,100,000

Steve Kloiber
DNR
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5164
Email:  steve.kloiber@dnr.state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/wetlands/nwi_proj.html

Appropriation Language
$1,100,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to continue the update of wetland inventory maps for Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The National Wetland Inventory, a program initiated in the 1970s, is an important tool used at all levels of government and by private industry and non-profit organizations for wetland regulation and management, land use and conservation planning, environmental impact assessment, and natural resource inventories. The data behind the National Wetlands Inventory for Minnesota is now considerably out-of-date and a multi-phase, multi-agency collaborative effort coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is underway to update the data for the whole state. This appropriation is being used to conduct the second phase of this effort, which involves updating wetland maps for 13 counties in east-central Minnesota surrounding the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area, evaluating imagery sources and mapping technologies for use in future mapping of agricultural regions of the state, and acquiring additional data needed to update wetland maps for southern Minnesota.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Updated wetland maps were created for 13 counties in east-central Minnesota (7,150 square miles), encompassing the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Wetlands in Minnesota were originally mapped by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the early 1980's as part of the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI). Although still widely used for land use planning, wetland permit screening and natural resource management, the original maps have grown increasingly out-of-date due to landscape alterations over the years. The data created for this project marks the first significant update to the NWI in Minnesota.

The new maps are much more accurate, capture more detail, and provide more information than the original maps. Besides showing the location, size, and type of each wetland, the updated map data includes information on the wetland's landscape position and hydrologic characteristics, which can be useful in assessing the benefits provided, such as water quality improvement, flood storage, and fish and wildlife habitat. Updating the NWI is a key component of the State's strategy to monitor and assess wetlands in support of efforts to assure healthy wetlands and clean water for Minnesota. The DNR is planning to complete the NWI update for the entire state by 2020.

Accomplishments for this project phase also include acquiring high-resolution, spring leaf-off digital aerial imagery for 23,900 square miles of southern Minnesota, acquiring field validation data for southern Minnesota, and developing wetland mapping procedures for the agricultural region of Minnesota.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Imagery acquired for this project is available to the public through the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo): http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/wms/geo_image_server.html. The MnGeo imagery service receives about one million page requests per month for the southern Minnesota imagery. This is the first publicly available leaf-off imagery data for southern Minnesota since 1991.

The updated wetland map data are available through an interactive mapping application on the DNR's website at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/wetlands/map.html. The data can also be downloaded, free of charge, for use in geographic information system applications through the DNR's data deli at: http://deli.dnr.state.mn.us/. The data will eventually be incorporated into the national "Wetland Mapper" application maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The wetland mapping procedures and accuracy results for the 13-county updated NWI data are presented and discussed in a manuscript that has been submitted to the journal Wetlands, a publication of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS). Information from this project was also presented at the SWS annual conference in Duluth, MN in 2013. In addition, a press release was distributed regarding the updated NWI data and the story was published on several online news websites.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory conducted an extensive study of the effects of digital elevation model (DEM) preprocessing and mapping methods on the accuracy of wetlands maps in three different physiographic regions of Minnesota. This research covered two study sites in agricultural areas including the Minnesota River Headwaters (Big Stone County) and Swan Lake (Nicollet County) as well as a comparison site from northern Minnesota (St. Louis and Carlton Counties). The results of this effort were compiled and submitted for publication in several peer-reviewed scientific journals along with results from the earlier phase of the NWI update project. Three hard copies and one electronic copy of these publications have been submitted with the final report to LCCMR. There have also been numerous presentations at professional conferences.

Project Publications:

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2014


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Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas
Subd. 03c     $372,000

PART 1 ($211,000)
Mark Martell
Audubon Minnesota
2357 Ventura Dr, Ste 106
St. Paul, MN 55125
Phone:  (651) 739-9332
Email:  mmartell@audubon.org
Fax:  (651) 731-1330
Web: http://mnbba.org/

PART 2 ($161,000)
Gerald Niemi
Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) - University of Minnesota
5013 Miller Trunk Hwy
Duluth, MN 55811
Phone:  (218) 720-4270
Email:  gniemi@nrri.umn.edu
Fax:  (218) 720-4328

Web: http://www.nrri.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$372,000 is from the trust fund to continue development of a statewide survey of Minnesota breeding bird distribution and create related publications, including a book and online atlas with distribution maps and breeding status. Of this appropriation, $211,000 is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Audubon Minnesota and $161,000 is to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Natural Resources Research Institute. The atlas must be available for downloading on the Internet free of charge.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
A state Breeding Bird Atlas is a comprehensive systematic field survey of the occurrence, distribution, diversity, and breeding status of bird species within the state. Atlases are used to set conservation priorities, develop conservation plans, and guide habitat protection and restoration efforts. Minnesota is one of only seven states in the country that has yet to complete a Breeding Bird Atlas. Audubon Minnesota and the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota - Duluth will use this appropriation to continue development of the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas and create related publications, including a book and online atlas with distribution maps, breeding status, and historical species information.

PART 1: AUDUBON MINNESOTA

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas is a statewide survey of the breeding distribution of Minnesota's birds. The project combines efforts, coordinated by Audubon Minnesota, of volunteers and multiple partners to obtain detailed information on breeding status of Minnesota's birds, with systematic and habitat based abundance data, coordinated by the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The combination of these two efforts represents a powerful addition to understanding the distribution, relative abundance, and habitat use by Minnesota's breeding birds.

Over 800 volunteers have participated in the project and have reported over 22,000 hours of donated time. Twenty-nine individuals act as regional coordinators helping to recruit, train, and monitor volunteers. Our database has 207,000 observations on 245 species and confirmed breeding by 226 species around the state. Data has been reported from 5,596 blocks, including 2,166 priority blocks (there is one priority block per township) which gives us data from 92% of the state.

Final products will include a book and on-line atlas, including distribution maps, species breeding status, and conservation and historical information. Products will be available to the public as well as conservation agencies and organizations. Information gathered during this project is at the sub-township level and will provide spatial detail more compatible with contemporary remote sensing imagery available for vegetation, water, and development. Data will be useful to a wide variety of organizations including federal agencies, many state agencies such as the MN DNR and MPCA, county land management agencies, and both regional and local organizations to highlight tourism opportunities. Data will also be of great utility for use in agency decision-making regarding the dedicated funding legislation associated with land acquisition and water quality protection. These types of spatially-intensive data sets are essential to make wiser decisions about land use allocations for energy development, transportation networks, and other residential or industrial development.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The primary form of information dissemination to date has been through the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas website (mnbba.org). Because our data collection is not complete, and we have not subjected all of the data to quality control we have not made efforts to disseminate the information to a wider audience at this time but plan to do so in future efforts.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012

PART 2: NRRI

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project is the third and fourth years of a four-year effort in the development of the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas - the first comprehensive assessment of Minnesota's breeding birds. The overall project is divided into two parts: 1) volunteer observations organized by Audubon Minnesota and 2) systematic surveys of Minnesota's breeding birds organized by the University of Minnesota (summarized here). Objectives were to gain uniform statewide coverage for all Minnesota's birds, estimate breeding bird populations by habitat type, and contribute to a nationwide network of bird atlases. Data gathering was primarily completed by graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota. All passed an aural bird identification test, verified their hearing ability, and participated in field standardization exercises.

Over the two breeding seasons (2011 and 2012) of this project, the target of 40% of Minnesota townships (>920) was successfully completed. Currently, over 80% (>1,800) of the townships have been sampled, with over 230 species observed and over 160,000 individuals counted in over 2,800 individual point counts. Thousands of additional breeding observations were submitted by surveyors from this project to the volunteer database in the complementary study organized by Audubon Minnesota, including over 4,000 probable or confirmed breeding records for Minnesota birds. Over 70% of the data gathered during 2009-2012 have been entered, checked for errors, and briefly summarized.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The data gathered through 2010 have been downloaded to the Minnesota breeding bird atlas database and during the fall of 2011 through the Cornell University interface. All of these data will be incorporated into a comprehensive atlas of Minnesota's breeding birds that will be used as 1) a first-ever baseline on the current population status of this important Minnesota resource, 2) critical information for future conservation planning, and 3) as a guide for such activities as identifying important bird areas or for nature-based tourism activities. The ultimate dissemination of these data will be through an interactive data system and we anticipate the publication of a hard copy book assuming suitable funding can be obtained.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012


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Integrated, Operational Bird Conservation Plan for Minnesota
Subd. 03d     $151,000

Lee Pfannmuller
Audubon Minnesota
2357 Ventura Dr, Ste 106
St. Paul, MN 55125

Phone:  (612) 810-1173
Email:  leepfann@msn.com
Fax:  (651) 731-1330
Web: http://mn.audubon.org/

Appropriation Language
$151,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Audubon Minnesota to develop an integrated bird conservation plan targeting priority species and providing a framework for implementing coordinated, focused, and effective bird conservation throughout Minnesota.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
There are many national, regional, and state conservation plans that broadly address Minnesota birds, but a consolidated and focused state conservation agenda for birds does not exist. Audubon Minnesota is using this appropriation to develop a single, clear operational plan that provides specific guidelines for Minnesota bird conservation. The project will build upon existing efforts and employ an inclusive, consensus-based planning process to deliver a plan that identifies and begins implementing the most strategic and effective conservation actions for Minnesota's priority bird species at both the local and statewide level.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Many national, regional, and state conservation plans broadly address Minnesota birds, but a consolidated and focused state conservation agenda does not exist. The goal of this initiative was to develop a clear operational plan for Minnesota conservation organizations and resource agencies that builds on existing plans, establishes priorities to guide conservation actions, and identifies conservation targets. Plans were prepared for Minnesota's four ecological provinces: the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands, the Laurentian Mixed-Forest, the Eastern Broadleaf Forest and the Prairie Parkland. The bird composition of each province is sufficiently distinct to warrant a different approach and different priorities. Three tasks were implemented in each province:

  • First Task: Delineated a pool of priority species and selected a subset of conservation target species.
  • Second Task: Decided where, among the suite of Minnesota's 48 Important Bird Areas (IBAs), it is most important to work to protect and manage these species.
  • Third Task: Developed a toolbox of conservation actions to insure these species maintain viable populations on the priority IBAs, as well as throughout Minnesota.

Titled An Implementation Blueprint for Minnesota Bird Conservation, the operational plan's components include:

  1. Implementation Blueprints for Bird Conservation in each ecological province, which identify clear priorities to guide conservation actions;
  2. conservation accounts for 78 priority species;
  3. detailed Conservation Blueprints for nine target species;
  4. a database compiling critical information on 434 Minnesota birds;
  5. a publication that highlights twelve of Minnesota's stewardship species (species that have >5% of their global population in the state and >5% of their North American breeding range in the state); and
  6. management plans for three of Minnesota's priority Important Bird Areas (Goose Lake Swamp IBA, the Twin Cities Mississippi River IBA, and the Vermillion Bottoms-Cannon River IBA).

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

  • The Conservation Blueprints were used in the development of Audubon's recently completed Guide to Urban Bird Conservation (Spring 2012): http://mn.audubon.org/twin-cities-bird-conservation.
  • A booklet, Stewardship Birds of Minnesota: Our Global Responsibility was published in June 2012.
  • Findings were presented at nine workshops and eleven additional statewide and regional meetings.
  • The Common Tern Minnesota Conservation Blueprint was used at a Structured Decision Making meeting to inform future Common Tern management at the Rice Lake National Wildlife refuge.
  • Audubon is exploring ways to make all project data available to resource managers in a GIS format; in the interim Conservation Blueprints for the nine conservation targets and Implementation Blueprints for each ecological province will be available on the Audubon Minnesota website.
  • Information is helping update Minnesota's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.

Project Publication:
Stewardship Birds of Minnesota: Our Global Responsibility (PDF - 6.6 MB)

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2012


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Mitigating Pollinator Decline in Minnesota
Subd. 03e     $297,000

Vera Krischik
U of MN
1980 Folwell Ave, #219
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-7044
Email:  krisc001@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 625-5299
Web: http://www.entomology.umn.edu/cues/krischiklab

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$297,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to assess the role of insecticides in pollinator health in order to help mitigate pollinator decline. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
A class of insecticides known as systemic neonicotinyl insecticides have been identified as a potential factor in recently observed declines in pollinators - the beneficial insects that carry pollen from plant to plant - including the phenomenon amongst honeybees known as Colony Collapse Disorder. But only preliminary investigation into this potential link has been completed to date. This appropriation is enabling the University of Minnesota's Department of Entomology to conduct additional research needed to determine what impacts systemic neonicotinyl insecticides may be having on the health, behavior, and mortality of honeybees and other pollinators. Findings could be used to help mitigate pollinator decline and identify alternative approaches for managing pest insects.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The commonly used systemic neonicotinyl class of insecticides (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and dinotefuran) is implicated in bee decline since insecticide residues accumulate in pollen and nectar. These residues can kill foraging bees and decrease pollination, seeds, and fruits of native plants and crops.

Neonicotinyls are applied in numerous methods (seeds, soil drenches, and tree trunk injections). Of the 442 million acres of U.S. cropland, 143 acres are treated with over 2 million pounds of neonicotinyl insecticides. In Minnesota in 2009, 46,766 pounds of imidacloprid and 19,347 pounds of clothianidin were applied.

These research objectives were to understand the effects of imidacloprid residues on bee health. This research found that a standard, label rate of imidacloprid applied to soil of potted plants produced imidacloprid residues of 1973 ppb in mint and 1568 ppb in milkweed flowers. A residue in flowers of 185 ppb imidacloprid kills a bee.

Research on greenhouse colonies of bumblebees showed that 20-100 ppb imidacloprid or clothianidin provided in sugar syrup for 11 weeks increased queen mortality and decreased consumption, sugar syrup storage, colony weight, and male production. Consequently, 20 ppb had detrimental effects on bumblebees and will reduce pollination of native plants. Research on field colonies of honey bees showed that only 33% of the imidacloprid was stored in colony cells. At 200 ppb there was less brood, fewer returning foragers, and higher amounts of distorted wing virus, which can cause colony death.

This research demonstrated that applications of imidacloprid and clothianidin insecticides to soil result in high residues in nectar and pollen that will kill bees. Studies on bees showed how colonies died from these insecticides.

An 11 part website for outreach education in Minnesota on pollinator conservation was developed.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The purpose of the research was to supply data to protect pollinators to ensure future seeds and fruits for wildlife and people. These research data are very important to groups trying to understand the impact of systemic, neonicotinyl insecticides on bee colonies and individual foragers. These data are used by bee keepers, advocacy groups, state agencies, and the US EPA for discussion on whether neonicotinyl insecticides are affecting bee health and whether their use needs to be restricted. In June 2013 The European Union's Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has restricted the use of neonicotinyl insecticides for 2 years on all flowering plants that bees utilize. The reports and discussion are on the LCCMR sponsored "Pollinator Conservation" website. This is a remarkable proactive decision to ensure the safety of pollinators.

An 11 part website on bee pollinator conservation was developed for outreach education in Minnesota. The website contains research results, manuscripts, workshop, bulletin on insecticides and bees, bulletin on pollinator conservation, and poster on bee plants. We will produce 4 manuscripts from these data and 3 are already in final form and available on the website.

These research data have been requested by groups that need to understand more about the risk of neonicotinyl insecticides to bees: US EPA, Center for Food Safety, PANNA (Pesticide Action Network), Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Research Institute, MN Honey Producers, Boulder County Bee Keepers, and Colorado State Beekeepers. The lab was interviewed by TV and radio many times: MN Public Radio (3), Harvest Public Media, Iowa Public Radio, WCCO, Kare 11 News, KSTP, Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, and the Minnesota State Fair. Krischik has provided her research results to the US EPA twice: an online slide show webinar to EPA scientists and a visit to UM by the US EPA Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). Krischik's expertise from this research has made her a reviewer for 2 white papers from the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation and another from the Friends of the Earth as well as peer reviewer on related scientific manuscripts.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Science and Innovation from Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Subd. 03f     $545,000

Jeffrey Gralnick
U of MN
1479 Gortner Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 626-6496
Email:  gralnick@umn.edu
Web: http://www.cbs.umn.edu/labs/gralnick/Soudan_Mine.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$545,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to characterize unique microbes discovered in the Soudan Underground Mine State Park and investigate the potential application in bioenergy and bioremediation. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The Soudan Iron Mine near Ely, Minnesota is no longer an active mine and is now part of a state park, as well as the home to a state-of-the-art physics laboratory at the bottom of the mine. The mine has also recently been discovered to contain an extreme environment in the form of an ancient and very salty brine bubbling up from deep below the Earth's surface through holes drilled when the mine was active. Strange microorganisms - part of an ecosystem never before characterized by science - have been found living in the brine. Scientists from the University of Minnesota will use this appropriation to:

  • Study this unique ecosystem and its organisms;
  • Examine the potential of using the microorganisms for applications in medicine, energy production, and other areas;
  • Develop a program to educate mine visitors about the brine ecosystem and its organisms.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Soudan Iron Mine near Ely, MN is home to an extreme environment where microorganisms are thriving 2300 feet below the surface in an ancient, salty brine. Though mining operations have been closed for almost 50 years, the mine is now a State Park managed by Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources. Visitors can tour the mine, learning about the history of mining at Soudan and can also tour the state-of-the-art physics laboratory built at the bottom of the mine. Just a few hundred feet away from the physics laboratory, bubbling up from holes drilled in the last days of iron mining, is strange water - an incredibly salty brine that lacks any oxygen gas - and strange microorganisms (bacteria and other single-celled microbes) living in the water. Our work has resulted in the characterization of the level 27 brine with respect to its chemical makeup, the rate that the brine mixes with surface water, cultured and uncultured microbial communities living in the brine, and speciation of minerals found in the brine channel. We have also specifically cultured about two dozen microorganisms from the mine that produce potent anti-fungal compounds, several of which have been shown to have activity against fungal pathogens. We have also isolated several novel species of iron oxidizing and iron reducing bacteria, which we continue to characterize. Finally, we developed an interactive touchscreen display and presentation about subsurface microbiology and geochemistry, specifically highlighting our work from this project. The goal of this touchscreen display is to both educate citizens of Minnesota broadly about subsurface microbiology and highlight some of the most exciting results from our project in a way that is broadly accessible to non-scientists.

Findings from this project formed the basis for a follow-up project begun in 2013 - "Harnessing Soudan Mine Microbes: Bioremediation, Bioenergy, and Biocontrol" - that is to exploring potential applications of using the microorganisms living in Soudan Iron Mine for removing metals from mine waters, producing biofuels, and developing a biocontrol for White-Nose Syndrome, which is decimating bat populations around the country.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Project results have been disseminated through presentations made by students and investigators supported on this project. Co-Investigator Prof. Brandy Toner has presented research from our project at an international meeting in 2011 (Goldschmidt Conference, Prague, Czech Republic) and at a national meeting in 2012 (American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA). Prof. Jeff Gralnick presented some of the work supported by this project at the TEDxUMN 2012 event, students working on this project gave several poster presentations at national and local meetings (2 presentations in 2012, 4 presentations in 2013). Two scientific publications are currently in preparation (first authors Lindsey Briscoe from the Toner Lab and Benjamin Bonis from the Gralnick Lab) and one has been published in the open access journal of the American Society of Microbiology mBio (Summers, ZM, JA Gralnick and DR Bond. 2013. mBio. Cultivation of an obligate Fe(II)-oxidizing lithoautotrophic bacterium using electrodes. Jan 29;4(1)e00420-12.). Our project was also featured by several media outlets including the Northland's Newscenter, WCCO Channel 4 in the Twin Cities, MoBio's blog, and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences.

Our specific outreach component for this project was to purchase, design and implement an interactive touch screen display for the Visitor's Center at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. We purchased the equipment (computer, 42 inch touch screen display, mounting bracket, security cables) and have finished the first presentation featuring work from this project. The installation will take place before the mine reopens for visitors for the 2014 season.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Quantifying Carbon Burial in Wetlands
Subd. 03g     $144,000

James Cotner
U of MN
100 Ecology, 1987 Upper Buford Cir, Dept. Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-1706
Email:  cotne002@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 624-6777
Web: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~cotne002/Site/Research.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$144,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to determine the potential for carbon sequestration in Minnesota's shallow lakes and wetlands. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Shallow lakes are effective carbon sinks and could be used to mitigate carbon dioxide released from use of fossil fuels. Minnesota currently emits over 150 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually due to fossil fuel use and has a stated goal to stabilize future emissions at 1990 levels. Reaching this goal will require both minimizing sources and maximizing carbon sinks such as shallow lakes. The University of Minnesota will use this appropriation to study how effectively shallow lakes and wetlands in different regions of Minnesota remove and retain carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Findings will be used to provide guidance on how to manage shallow lakes to maximize carbon sequestration and evaluate the potential for Minnesota shallow lakes and wetlands to have roles on the global carbon trading market.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
We examined the potential for shallow lakes to mitigate carbon dioxide release from fossil fuels. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is increasing and it is a greenhouse gas that has been strongly connected to climate change on Earth. The state of Minnesota emits over 150 million metric tons of CO2 annually due to fossil fuel burning and a stated goal is to stabilize releases at 1990 levels. Reaching this goal will require both minimizing sources and maximizing sinks such as lakes.

To determine how much CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by shallow lakes, we collected sediment samples from over 100 lakes throughout the state, determined how much organic carbon resides in the sediments and determined the burial rate using a new method that is based on lead isotope dating. Our goals were to identify important variables that facilitate carbon burial and to estimate burial rates for the entire state. We found that shallow lakes bury organic carbon at very high rates compared to other landscape features and that effective burial is facilitated by high rates of productivity that occurs in these systems; anaerobic (no oxygen) conditions, when they occur, particularly in the wintertime under the ice, also facilitate increased carbon burial. Although burial represents a large quantity of carbon, about 6 Tg per year (or 6 million metric tons), the State of Minnesota releases about 150 million metric tons of carbon per year through the burning of fossil fuels.

In addition to the scientific results of our work, this project has helped train 10 undergraduate students from both the University of St. Thomas and University of Minnesota, two graduate students at the University of Minnesota and one post-doctoral fellow for two years.

More information on the results of this project can be found in our final project report.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The results from this project have been incorporated into materials for use in the class room at St. Thomas and University of Minnesota. Cotner and Zimmer have used material from this project in lectures they have given locally, nationally and internationally (Sweden, Brazil, Japan). At the recent Ecological Society of America annual meeting, members of our team presented 11 posters and/or oral presentations that were very well received. We also organized a special session on terrestrial-aquatic linkages that had a strong focus on carbon burial. This was an extremely well-attended session at this international meeting. Also, 6 members of our group (Cotner, Zimmer, Hobbs and Ramstack-Hobbs, Herwig, and Hanson) presented results from this project at a Shallow Lakes Workshop that we helped organize in Fergus Falls this past August. This workshop was completely full and was attended by resource managers from throughout the state. Cotner has also been presenting some of this work through informal education talks that he has been giving in the past 18 months to various groups (mostly senior citizens) in the Twin Cities area. He has given approximately 20 presentations that have focused on marine and freshwater resources. Lastly, we have published three papers in the scientific literature based on results from this and a related project funded through the National Science Foundation. We have four other papers that are either currently being reviewed or that will be submitted by June 2014.

Project Publications:

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Strategic Planning for Minnesota's Natural and Artificial Watersheds
Subd. 03h     $327,000

David Mulla
U of MN
439 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Upper Buford Cir
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-6721
Email:  mulla003@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 625-2208
Web: http://www.swac.umn.edu/People/DavidMulla/

Appropriation Language
$327,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to identify the interrelationship between artificial systems of drain tiles and ditches and natural watersheds to guide placement of buffers and stream bed restoration and modification.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Minnesota's vast network of natural watersheds is interwoven with artificial watersheds of agricultural drain tiles and ditches designed to lower the water table and enhance soil productivity. As the artificial watersheds move excess water into the natural watershed the water also delivers contaminants, including excess nutrients, estrogenic compounds, pharmaceuticals, and other synthetic chemicals. Once in the natural watershed these contaminants pose threats to the health of animals, humans, and the environment. Through this appropriation, scientists from the University of Minnesota's Department of Soil, Water, and Climate are using specialized technologies to identify specific, on-the-ground efforts that can be implemented to help protect Minnesota's natural watersheds by "disconnecting" them from the artificial watersheds through a variety of practices. Findings will be used to guide strategic installation of wetlands, riparian buffer strips, and perennial vegetation in agricultural areas of the state that can help manage excess flows and contaminants, thereby reducing water quality impairments.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Artificial watersheds have significant areas that are drained using ditches and/or buried perforated pipes, leading to hydrologic characteristics that differ from natural watersheds. Water and pollutants from artificial watersheds often disturb the hydrologic regime and impair water quality in natural watersheds. This project aims to protect Minnesota's natural watersheds by disconnecting them from the artificial watersheds.

High resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) from LiDAR and corresponding digital orthoquad photos were obtained in Beauford Creek, Seven Mile Creek and Elm Creek Watersheds. These data were used along with GIS databases for land use, soils, and hydrologic networks to predict the locations of renewable wetlands. In the Beauford watershed (5,500 ac), logistic regression was able to accurately identify 69% of the potentially restorable wetland locations. Most of the error was due to very small wetlands that are difficult to identify using GIS techniques alone. In the Seven Mile Creek watershed (23,500 ac), logistic regression was able to accurately identify 70% of the potentially restorable wetland locations. In Elm Creek (186,600 ac), 94% of the potentially restorable wetlands were identified. These results show that it is possible to quickly and accurately identify a large proportion of larger restorable wetlands over large areas in Minnesota using straightforward terrain analysis techniques, soil databases and logistic regression.

The optimum locations for restoring wetlands were determined based on factors that included the location and extent of subsurface tile drains, the contributing area to the wetland, the distance between the potential wetland and nearby streams, ditches or county tile mains, the amount of discharge from subsurface tile drains to wetlands, and the ratio of drainage flow to wetland storage capacity. Using these criteria, 44 optimal sites for wetland restoration were identified in Beauford Creek watershed, while 75 sites were identified in Seven Mile Creek watershed. Placing wetlands at these locations is optimal in terms of intercepting, treating and reducing the effects of subsurface tile discharge to nearby drainage ditches.

More efficient approaches for processing LiDAR DEMs were developed using a supercomputer. The new methods run much faster than conventional methods for processing LiDAR DEMs on a personal computer. Terrain attributes for DEMs (e.g. slope, flow accumulation, stream power index, compound topographic wetness, etc) were calculated for all 42 Minnesota counties that have LiDAR data. We are exploring the possibility of using the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office web site to disseminate these LiDAR based terrain attributes.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2012


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Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Watersheds
Subd. 03i     $247,000

Kylene Olson
Chippewa River Watershed Project
629 North 11th Street, Suite 17
Montevideo, MN 56265

Phone:  (320) 269-2139 ext. 116
Email:  kylene@chippewariver.org
Fax:  (320) 269-6593
Web: http://www.chippewariver.com/ & http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/

Appropriation Language
$247,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Chippewa River Watershed Project to develop local food and perennial biofuels markets coupled with conservation incentives to encourage farmers to diversify land cover in the Chippewa River Watershed supporting improvement to water quality and habitat. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The Chippewa River watershed faces many serious environmental problems such as water quality degradation, threats to biodiversity, and increased flooding. Agricultural practices have contributed to these problems, but they can also contribute to solutions. Through this appropriation, the Chippewa River Watershed Project and the Land Stewardship Project are collaborating to pilot an innovative approach that works with farmers to combine community-based markets for alternative crops and products with utilization of conservation incentives programs to achieve the level of landscape change needed to meet water quality goals and other environmental objectives.

Project due to be completed:  6/30/2014 [Extended in M.L. 2013]
Work Program


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Farmland Conservation in Minnesota
Subd. 03j     $100,000

Jennifer Jambor-Delgado
Farmers Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG)
360 N Robert St, #500
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone:  (651) 223-5400
Email:  jjambor-delgado@flaginc.org
Fax:  (651) 223-5335
Web: http://www.flaginc.org/

Appropriation Language
$100,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Farmers Legal Action Group, Inc. to assess the implementation of applicable laws for preserving agricultural land and develop a comprehensive and systematic approach and policy tools to preserve agricultural lands.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Farmland preservation has a critical impact on the quality of Minnesota's natural resources, water quality and quantity, biodiversity, and economic, recreational, and cultural health. Farmland preservation is also central to natural resource conservation. However, the laws that affect farmland preservation are currently a patchwork of local, county, and state laws, many of which either ignore or deter efforts on agricultural lands that benefit natural resource conservation. The Farmers' Legal Action Group is using this appropriation to assess the effectiveness of current and potential laws, regulations, and policy tools used for preserving agricultural land in order to develop a comprehensive and systematic approach for preserving agricultural lands in Minnesota.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The report that resulted from this project - "Preserving Minnesota's Agricultural Land: Proposed Policy Solutions" - recommends a new statewide approach to preserving our state's diminishing agricultural lands to ensure that our state's best farmland is preserved. The state's prime farmland - that most well suited for farming - has been developed at a steady rate, with significant negative consequences for the security and stability of our natural resources and food supply.

The report notes that existing state farmland preservation programs can be invaluable tools for the immediate and short-term preservation of farmland, but they have not successfully preserved farmland for the long-term because they suffer from poor incentives and limited promotion. State land use planning requirements could facilitate farmland preservation, but Minnesota's fail to because they do not require local governments to address farmland preservation in their comprehensive plans or zoning ordinances.

Among the report's recommendations are:

  • Adopt state farmland preservation goals and a statutory requirement for comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances to include farmland preservation plans.
  • Develop a statewide Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) program to be offered in counties with farmland preservation plans. Include soil and water conservation and stewardship plans in the easements. Consider building upon Dakota County's PACE program, which explicitly joins farmland protection with water quality protection.
  • Streamline the Metro and Greater Minnesota Programs into one comprehensive state program administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Make the program available in all counties with farmland preservation plans.
    • Tiered incentives should be used to promote conservation and long-term protection.
    • Add a permanent and a 30-year agricultural preserve option.
    • Require preservation of similar quantity and quality of farmland to acquired farmland when enrolled land is acquired though eminent domain or annexation.
  • Make all working farms, including small-acreage farms, eligible for Green Acres program benefits. Farms most affected by existing size restrictions are Community Supported Agriculture farming operations, beginning and immigrant farmers, small-scale diversified farms, direct marketers, and farms that raise grass fed livestock or that allow animals to forage. Current restrictions result in excluding farms using production methods that are better for the environment and thwarts economic development by denying benefits to burgeoning small-scale farming operations.
  • Develop policies and allocate resources to help to facilitate the transfer of land from one generation of farmers to the next and allow for affordable access to good quality farmland. Consider adopting a tax credit for those who lease land to beginning farmers; conservation measures could be made a required component of such leases.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The report has been distributed to a regional media list; federal, state, and local public officials and staff; farm organizations; and influential farmers and other citizens. The report's contents (and a link to the report online) has also been distributed to almost 3,000 contacts. Plans are underway for any follow up strategies farm organizations may pursue in the legislative sessions ahead.

Project Publication:
Preserving Minnesota's Agricultural Land: Proposed Policy Solutions (PDF - 8.3 MB)

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2012


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Identifying Critical Habitats for Moose in Northeastern Minnesota
Subd. 03k     $507,000

Ron Moen
UMD, NRRI
5013 Miller Trunk Hwy
Duluth, MN 55811

Phone:  (218) 720-4279
Email:  rmoen@nrri.umn.edu
Fax:  (218) 720-4328
Web: http://www.nrri.umn.edu/moose/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$507,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Natural Resources Research Institute to identify critical habitats for moose, develop best management habitat protection practices, and conduct educational outreach in cooperation with the Minnesota Zoo. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Moose are one of Minnesota's most prized wildlife species. Recently observed increases in mortality rates amongst some moose in northeastern Minnesota have led to concern that the population there may be starting a decline like that seen in the northwestern part of the state, where moose populations fell from over 4,000 to fewer than 100 in less than 20 years. Researchers from the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota - Duluth, are using this appropriation to determine what factors may be responsible for increases in moose mortality rates in northeastern Minnesota in order to determine if it is possible to slow or prevent significant, long-term decline in the moose population there.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Moose are one of Minnesota's most prized wildlife species. In less than 20 years moose in northwestern Minnesota declined from over 4,000 to fewer than 100. The northeastern Minnesota moose population, which had over 7,000 moose until 2009, is in the middle of what appears to be a similar decline. Higher mortality in radiocollared moose is correlated with warmer temperatures. We used satellite collars to track moose in northeastern Minnesota and collected GPS locations day and night 365 days a year. Over 2 million moose locations and activity data were obtained. Specific habitats needed by moose were identified using the satellite collars. Spatial distribution and availability of habitat types has guided identification of specific sites for enhancement, protection, or acquisition. Habitat guidelines and recommendations help private and public land managers provide the best possible habitat for moose.

The project was part of a coordinated effort involving many resource management agencies to determine if it is possible to slow or prevent a decline in the northeastern MN moose population. Public outreach and education was accomplished with a website that provides information on moose in Minnesota and allowed the public to report almost 2,000 moose sightings. The Minnesota Zoo developed an on-site informational kiosk about Minnesota moose and zoo educators developed a curriculum for teacher workshops to be held both at the zoo and at the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center near Duluth. We gave over 70 moose presentations during the project, and continue to give presentations now.

The project combined research and education to increase public understanding of Minnesota moose now and in the future. Results and data from this project are still being used in current projects. We expect that there will be at least 2 more M.S. theses, 5 peer-reviewed publications, and additional NRRI Technical Reports developed from the data collected in this project that will be used to improve moose management. We also continue to work with the MN DNR adult and calf moose mortality projects using data and expertise obtained during this moose research project, and we have an ongoing collaboration with the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley with a deer-moose parasite project and a moose-wolf predation project.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The project has had relatively wide dissemination, both in formal settings and in working with DNR and other resource management agencies to implement recommendations arising from the project. We gave over 70 presentations to the public about this project. We also developed a moose website that is used extensively by both biologists and the public. We will continue to update this website in the future.

In addition, because of the interest in moose, the project has received attention from the media, with newspaper and magazine articles, and radio and television interviews. Among the media outlets are the Duluth News Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch, local TV stations, Minnesota Public Radio, Duluth News Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Los Angeles Times, BBC in Ontario and Newfoundland, Sweden Public Radio, Toronto Star, and others.

Although not limited to this project, Moen was also asked by the DNR to present on the current status of moose in Minnesota at the 2014 Roundtable, and also gave testimony to the Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee on February 25, 2014.

Finally, there are several peer-reviewed publications, theses, and technical reports that have arisen from work conducted on this project. Some of these publications are currently being peer-reviewed. We expect to produce several additional publications and theses from the data obtained in this project.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


Subd. 04  Land, Habitat, and Recreation


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Ecological Restoration Training Cooperative for Habitat Restoration
Subd. 04a     $550,000

Susan Galatowitsch
U of MN
1970 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-3242
Email:  galat001@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 624-3242
Web: http://www.consbio.umn.edu/SG/

Appropriation Language
$550,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for improving ecological restoration success in Minnesota by developing and offering training programs for habitat restoration professionals. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Restoration work is increasingly relied on as a conservation strategy in Minnesota even though project failure rates remain high. Although there are many competent professionals working in the field, the quality of work varies across the profession and lack of expertise contributes to failures, partly because there is currently a lack of professional restoration training available. In order to help improve the success rates of restorations, scientists and educators at the University of Minnesota's Department of Horticultural Science are using this appropriation to develop an ecological restoration education program and cooperative. The effort will make training opportunities for practicing restoration professionals available statewide and facilitate improved and increased communication amongst the restoration community.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Ecological restoration is increasingly relied on as a conservation strategy in Minnesota even though project failure rates remain high. To improve ecological restoration success in Minnesota, this project developed training opportunities for practicing restoration professionals. We established the Ecological Restoration Training Cooperative (ERTC), which is based at the University of Minnesota, and coordinated as a partnership between state agencies and the University. A program of web-based, instructor-guided learning, combined with field sessions offered at multiple locations, are the first of its kind in the US for restoration. As part of this project, the training cooperative developed and offered five application-oriented online courses accessible statewide. These courses covering site assessment, seeding, planting, vegetation management and monitoring, were taken by 113 people during the "pilot phase". Each course will be offered at least twice a year through the U of MN College of Continuing Education. In conjunction with the online courses, field training sessions were developed for the seeding and vegetation management courses. These sessions focus on hands-on restoration skills introduced in the online courses. A four-year agreement with DNR Parks and Trails will allow each of the two field sessions to be taught by DNR natural resource specialists at four out-state locations each year in order to facilitate access to the training opportunities by individuals from around the state.

In addition to the five training courses, the ERTC developed several other ways for restoration practitioners to learn skills and stay current. A webinar series, an annual workshop, social network, and website were all launched as part of ERTIC programming. During this grant period, five webinars were held, which were attended by over 1000 people. These presentations were recorded and are available on the practitioner's network, which has 187 members to date. The first annual conference, focused on restoration monitoring, was held in May 2013. Information on all upcoming events, including online courses can be found on the ERTC website, www.restoringminnesota.umn.edu. Details about the content of online courses, field sessions, webinars, and the workshop are presented in a supplemental report.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information from this project has been made available in the following ways:

  1. Information on training opportunities is made available through the ERTC website, which was accessed over 2600 times in the past 18 months.
  2. Recorded webinar presentations are available through the ERTC practitioner's network, which is also linked to the website.
  3. Course and workshop information has been (and will continue to be) disseminated to over 6000 people, which is part of an active marketing effort led by the College of Continuing Education.
  4. The innovative approaches taken to the online courses have been communicated by press-releases connected to the R1Edu national university network.
  5. The innovative suite of training opportunities will be communicated with restoration researchers and practitioners at a talk to presented to the Society for Ecological Restoration International Congress to be held in October 2013.

Of the 140 people that completed the course as beta-testers or in the pilot phase, many were middle-level managers responsible for contracting and program coordination. These individuals have first-hand experience with the course and are in a position to recommend it to colleagues that need/want to advance their skills.

Project Publication:
Ecological Restoration Training Cooperative: Supplemental Report (PDF - 6 MB)

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Scientific and Natural Areas and Native Prairie Restoration, Enhancement, and Acquisition
Subd. 04b     $1,750,000

Peggy Booth
DNR
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5088
Email:  peggy.booth@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-1811
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/index.html

Appropriation Language
$1,750,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire lands with high quality native plant communities and rare features to be established as scientific and natural areas as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 5, restore parts of scientific and natural areas, and provide assistance and incentives for native prairie landowners. A list of proposed acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work program. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Minnesota's Scientific and Natural Areas (SNA) Program is an effort to preserve and perpetuate the state's ecological diversity and ensure that no single rare feature is lost from any region of the state. This includes landforms, fossil remains, plant and animal communities, rare and endangered species, and other unique biotic or geological features. These sites play an important role in scientific study, public education, and outdoor recreation. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using this appropriation to conduct restoration activities on approximately 3,200 acres in existing SNAs, to acquire an additional 80 acres to be added to the SNA system, and to provide technical assistance to private landowners of native prairie.

Project due to be completed:  6/30/2014 [Extended in M.L. 2013]
Work Program


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State Park Improvements
Subd. 04c     $814,000

Larry Peterson
DNR
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5593
Email:  larry.Peterson@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-6532
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/

Appropriation Language
$567,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for state park capital improvements and natural resource restoration. Of this amount, $250,000 is for solar energy installations in state parks and the remaining amount shall be used for park and campground restoration and improvements. Priority shall be for projects that address existing threats to public water resources. On July 1, 2010, the unobligated balance, estimated to be $200,000, of the appropriation for clean energy resource teams and community wind energy rebates in Laws 2005, First Special Session chapter 1, article 2, section 11, subdivision 10, paragraph (a), as amended by Laws 2006, chapter 243, section 15, and extended by Laws 2009, chapter 143, section 2, subdivision 16, is transferred and added to this appropriation. On July 1, 2010, the $47,000 appropriated in Laws 2009, chapter 143, section 2, subdivision 6, paragraph (f), for native plant biodiversity, invasive plant species, and invertebrates is transferred and added to this appropriation.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Several of Minnesota's state parks and recreation areas will be receiving energy efficiency improvements, water quality enhancement upgrades, or additional visitor facilities. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using this appropriation to install photovoltaic energy generation equipment and solar-powered water wells, rehabilitate stormwater collection and storage systems, repair and stabilize stream bank erosion, and construct rustic camper cabins. A number of parks are slated for improvements, including St Croix State Park near Hinckley, Soudan Underground Mine State Park near Ely, and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park and Tettegouche State Park along the north shore of Lake Superior.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The purpose of this project was to focus on renewable energy improvements, water quality enhancement, and attracting new users at Minnesota State Parks and Recreation Areas. This project consisted of installation of photovoltaic solar generation facilities at Tettegouche State Park, the construction of 4 rustic camper cabins at Lake Bemidji State Park, and the major rehabilitation of the storm water management system and repair of an eroding river bank at St. Croix State Park.

The first activity was to install photovoltaic solar panels at Tettegouche State Park. This allows us to showcase renewable energy at one of our busiest parks. There were 24KW of pole-mounted photovoltaic generating equipment installed. The system has 96 panels and each panel has a nameplate power rating of 250 watts. These panels will generate power for the brand new visitor center that will open to the public in the spring of 2014. Any excess power is exported to the electrical grid. The Utility, MN Power will credit any net excess kWh generation on the meter's monthly invoice. Annual saving are $3,200.

The second activity was to rehabilitate storm water collection and storage systems at the St. Croix State Park Visitor Center and repair and stabilize river bank erosion on the St. Croix River. Storm water treatment and storage facilities were lacking. The original storm water management system was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. A 20 car parking lot was re-graded and repaved with historic features such as stone curbing preserved. Best management practices are now demonstrated including natural treatment systems such as rain gardens, grassy swales and infiltration pipes were used to redirect storm water from the parking lot away from the river. The hillside that had eroded into the St. Croix River has been stabilized. It was re-graded and restored with native vegetation. The delta of sediment has been removed from the river.

The third activity was to construct 4 rustic camper cabins at Lake Bemidji State Park. They are well insulated to exceed the energy code by 30% and they exceed Minnesota Sustainable Design Guidelines. FRC sustainably grown lumber was used. Camper cabins have been found to attract new users who may not have camping equipment or feel comfortable sleeping out in a tent. These cabins are open for use year round. All 4 cabins have heat and electricity, a screened in porch, an outdoor fire ring for cooking and a picnic table. Two of the cabins sleep 6 while the other two are wheelchair accessible and sleep 5. Along with the cabins, 2 vault toilets were installed within close proximity as well as 2 wells for drinking water. Since the cabins opened in June 2012 there have been 959 occupied site nights.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2014


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State Park Land Acquisition
Subd. 04d     $1,750,000

Dana Vanderbosch
DNR
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 52
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5631
Email:  dana.vanderbosch@state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-6532
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/

Appropriation Language
$1,750,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire and preserve critical parcels within the statutory boundaries of state parks. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. A list of proposed acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work program.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Privately owned lands exist within the designated boundaries of state parks throughout Minnesota. Purchase of these lands from willing landowners for addition to the state park system makes them permanently available for public recreation and enjoyment and facilitates more efficient management. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using this appropriation to acquire 9 acres for Crow Wing State Park northeast of Brainerd, 160 acres for Scenic State Park north of Grand Rapids, 55 acres for Tettegouche State Park north of Silver Bay, and 19 acres for Split Rock Lighthouse State Park northeast of Two Harbors.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund funding resulted in the Department of Natural Resources acquiring approximately 267 acres of land within the statutory boundaries of five Minnesota State Parks:

  • Acquired approximately 13 acres in Crow Wing State Park comprised of three parcels on the Crow Wing River. This acquisition provides additional shoreline protection and adds to the recreational opportunities now offered in this State Park such as hiking, and access to the river.
  • Acquired approximately 160 acres at Scenic State Park with very high quality natural and cultural resource value and adjacent to state park lands on two sides. A Civilian Conservation Corps. (CCC) built cabin is located on the lakeshore.
  • Acquired approximately 55 acres at Tettegouche State Park to preserve and protect over 700 feet of the Baptism River gorge and views from nearby Illgen Falls. The state park surrounds this parcel on three sides and may offer additional hiking trail opportunities.
  • Acquired a portion of 19 acres at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park which directly overlooks Lake Superior with views of Split Rock Lighthouse. The property is surrounded by state park land.
  • Partially funded the acquisition of approximately 20 acres of land in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park located in Rice County. This property was identified as outstanding biodiversity significance by Minnesota County Biological Survey and has not been logged in over 100 years. Spring ephemerals are prevalent in this area of the park and the site is important to maintaining the closed canopy and diverse understory characteristic of 'big woods' in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
As state park maps are updated these former private lands are identified as public land open to use by all park visitors.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Protection of Rare Granite Rock Outcrop Ecosystem
Subd. 04e     $1,800,000

Thomas Kalahar
Renville SWCD
1008 W Lincoln Ave
Olivia, MN 56277

Phone:  (320) 523-1559
Email:  kalahar@yahoo.com
Fax:  (320) 523-2389
Web: http://www.renvilleswcd.com/ and http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/projects/Renville_rock-outcrops.pdf

Appropriation Language
$1,800,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources, in cooperation with the Renville Soil and Water Conservation District, to continue to acquire perpetual easements of unique granite rock outcrops, located in the Upper Minnesota River Valley. $418,000 of this appropriation is for fiscal year 2010 and is available the day following final enactment.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Granite rock outcrops along the Upper Minnesota River are among the oldest exposed rock in North America, dating back approximately 3.6 billion years. These outcrops are also home to rare and specialized plant and animal communities rarely found elsewhere in Minnesota, including several types of cactus and one of Minnesota's only three lizard species, the five-lined skink. However, these rock outcrops are increasingly threatened by mining, overgrazing, and development. Through this appropriation, the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District is working with Minnesota's Board of Water and Soil Resources to acquire conservation easements that will permanently preserve approximately 700 acres of this endangered habitat in Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Redwood, Renville and Yellow Medicine counties.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
A total of 748.4 acres of rare and unique Minnesota River Valley landscape were permanently protected and sixteen landowners were paid $1,741,580 for voluntarily placing perpetual conservation easements on those acres. Five counties participated in the project including Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine, Redwood, and Renville. Easement applications were scored by resource professional teams and funding was based on those scores.

Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) employees saw a need to protect the natural environment and to provide economically viable choices for the landowners. The Minnesota River Valley contains exposed ancient granite rock outcrops that provide unique landscape features and habitat for specialized plant and animal communities rarely found elsewhere in Minnesota. No programs existed that would give landowners a payment if they chose to protect the area from development by mining, overgrazing, and other development interests. Rock outcrops are a component of the Minnesota River's riparian zone, and destruction of this unique habitat degrades water quality and wildlife habitat in the Minnesota River and its tributaries. Removal of the rock results in severe degradation and permanent loss of these unique landscape features. The Minnesota River Corridor is easily susceptible to fragmentation because it comprises such a small percentage of the Minnesota River Watershed. Past development activities and mining operations have already fragmented large areas of the fragile Minnesota River Corridor.

Demand for aggregate is growing as our population and infrastructure grow. Interest in mining exposed granite rock outcrops in the Minnesota River Valley is high because the rock is readily available and there is no overburden to remove. This encourages the practice of horizontal mining, removing the easiest and most profitable rock, and moving on. Unlike gravel mining operations, there is no reclamation plan possible for replacing this unique landscape feature once it is removed.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The Renville SWCD website (www.renvilleswcd.com/) continues to update the public on the Rock Outcrop projects by posting information & photos in the "News" section of the website. Each SWCD in Minnesota is required to maintain a website. Those websites contain information on available programs and update the public on current topics of interest in the county.

Each SWCD has a unique position within their community to deliver conservation programs. SWCDs are the local "go to" agency for conservation program delivery and the staff are both trusted and respected by local landowners. Each SWCD office will personally contact landowners who have high quality rock outcrop landscapes on their property. This one-on-one contact will be a major source of providing information to the public.

Individual SWCD offices will continue to keep their local press informed on the progress of the program. In November 2009 the West Central Tribune featured a front page story which reported on Mr. Kalahar's appearance at the Renville County Board work session where he updated the County Board on the status of the project.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Minnesota's Habitat Conservation Partnership Supplemental
Subd. 04f     $1,344,000

Joe Pavelko
Pheasants Forever (on behalf of all partners)
7975 Acorn Circle
Victoria, MN 55386

Phone:  (612) 532-3800
Email:  jpavelko@pheasantsforever.org
Fax:  (320) 354-4377
Web:  http://www.mnhabitatcorridors.org

Appropriation Language
$1,344,000 is added to Laws 2009, chapter 143, section 2, subdivision 4, paragraph (e), from the trust fund for the acceleration of agency programs and cooperative agreements. Of this appropriation, $308,000 is to the commissioner of natural resources for agency programs and $1,036,000 is for agreements as follows: $425,000 with Ducks Unlimited, Inc.; $50,000 with National Wild Turkey Federation; $164,000 with the Nature Conservancy; $102,000 with Minnesota Land Trust; $200,000 with the Trust for Public Land; $45,000 with Friends of Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District; and $50,000 to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to plan, restore, and acquire fragmented landscape corridors that connect areas of quality habitat to sustain fish, wildlife, and plants. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service is an authorized cooperating partner in the appropriation. Expenditures are limited to the project corridor areas as defined in the work program. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum habitat and facility management standards as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. This appropriation may not be used for the purchase of residential structures, unless expressly approved in the work program. All conservation easements must be perpetual and have a natural resource management plan. Any land acquired in fee title by the commissioner of natural resources with money from this appropriation must be designated as an outdoor recreation unit under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.07. The commissioner may similarly designate any lands acquired in less than fee title. A list of proposed restorations and fee title and easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work program. All funding for conservation easements must include a long-term stewardship plan and funding for monitoring and enforcing the agreement.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
With continued land use changes in Minnesota, areas that once served as important areas for fish, wildlife, and plant habitat have become fragmented and disconnected resulting in adverse impacts on these ecological communities. Strategic and coordinated efforts in protection, restoration, and enhancement of lands throughout Minnesota can create land and water corridors that reconnect remaining habitat areas and reverse some of the adverse impacts. This appropriation represents a supplement to the sixth phase of an ongoing effort by a partnership of state, federal, and non-profit organizations to do such strategic and coordinated land protection, restoration, and enhancement. Earlier phases of this project have resulted in the protection, restoration, or enhancement of more than 100,000 acres throughout the state. Many of these projects matched Trust Fund money with non-state funds, stretching these dollars to provide a greater benefit to the state. This supplemental funding to Phase VI of this effort involves nine partners and is expected to result in the permanent protection of nearly 200 additional acres and restoration or enhancement of approximately 1,900 additional acres. Projects from the individual partners are listed below.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

ABSTRACTS AND FINAL REPORTS OF INDIVIDUAL PARTNER PROJECTS (Click project # to go to listing for that project)
2d - HCP VI Supplemental - Shallow Lake Assessment and Management - MN DNR ($45,000)
2f - HCP VI Supplemental - Shallow Lake Habitat Enhancement and Wild Rice Enhancement and Monitoring - Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe ($50,000)
2h - HCP VI Supplemental - Fisheries Habitat Restoration - MN DNR ($100,000)
2k - HCP VI Supplemental - Prairie Management - MN DNR ($63,000)
2n - HCP VI Supplemental - Campaign for Conservation - Restoration - The Nature Conservancy ($164,000)
2o - HCP VI Supplemental - Working Lands Partnership - Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District ($45,000)
2p  - HCP VI Supplemental - Bluffland Restoration - National Wild Turkey Federation ($50,000)
3a - HCP VI Supplemental - Shoreland Protection Program - Minnesota Land Trust ($102,000)
3c - HCP VI Supplemental - Shallow Lake Easements - Ducks Unlimited, Inc. ($75,000)
3d - HCP VI Supplemental - Wetland Reserve Program - Ducks Unlimited, Inc. and USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services ($350,000)
4b - HCP VI Supplemental - Fisheries Land Acquisition - MN DNR ($100,000)
4c - HCP VI Supplemental - Critical Lands Protection Program - Trust for Public Land ($200,000)

2d FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Shallow Lake Assessment - MN DNR ($45,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working with Ducks Unlimited (DU) and other partners in a focused, strategic approach to assess, improve and protect the aquatic ecology and water quality of shallow lakes for waterfowl and other wildlife. Shallow lakes are a critical component of the wetland habitat complexes once common to Minnesota landscapes. These lakes provide the migration, brood rearing, and hibernacula critical for shorebirds, waterfowl, water birds, turtles and amphibians. Through this grant, and the existing shallow lake program, DNR will provide the predesign habitat assessment and monitoring of shallow lake structural enhancements accomplished by DU through bioengineering. There were 15 shallow lake assessments planned to be completed with this grant. There were actually 11 shallow lake habitat assessments completed with a combination of DNR and ENRTF funding. All of the assessments were completed within the Habitat Conservation Partnership Project Area 3. The information collected will be used to inform lake management strategies including DU lake structure enhancements and DNR accelerated management activities. Assessments included data collection on water depths, aquatic vegetation, water clarity, and water chemistry. Lakes were selected from a priority list developed by the MN DNR shallow lakes program. The reason for the shortfall was related to the conversion of the state accounting system to SWIFT and the consequent difficulty in locating and coding to the proper account.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Accomplishment Reports and press releases will be made available at http://www.mnhabitatcorridors.org.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

2f FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Shallow Lake Habitat Enhancement and Wild Rice Enhancement and Monitoring - Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe ($50,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The goal of this project was to improve habitat for waterfowl and other species that utilize wetlands on the Leech Lake Reservation in addition to analyzing a long term wild rice data set to determine if waterfowl numbers are influenced by rice abundance. A number of techniques were utilized to accomplish this work.

Waterfowl habitat enhancements, over the period of this grant, were conducted on seven impoundments that are located throughout the reservation and covered approximately 300 acres. On these impoundments water levels were managed and dike and control structures were repaired and maintained. Beaver plugging is also an issue on many of these impoundment so dam material was removed as needed, Clemson Levelers were installed, and in some cases beaver removal was utilized to control the problem. Water draw downs were also accomplished on two impoundments to restore aquatic vegetation.

A second aspect of this project was to enhance waterfowl food supply by planting wild rice. Wild rice has been degraded in some locations due to inappropriate water levels, damage from wind storms, and human activities. Two hundred acres of water was reseeded with rice during the course of this grant period.

The third aspect of this project was to scan, and rectify the first seventeen years of aerial wild rice bed images that have been taken of major rice beds on the Reservation. A subset of this data was then analyzed and compared to waterfowl abundance data provided by the MN DNR to see if a positive correlation between rice abundance and waterfowl numbers could be identified. The work thus far completed has not been able to detect a significant relationship between rice abundance and waterfowl numbers, but we will continue this work on a larger data set looking at more parameters to see if one exists. The largest benefit from this work has been the development of the methodology to analyze rice distribution and abundance from aerial photographs that will be helpful for us and other resource personnel to manage wild rice into the future.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The methodology and techniques used to quantify wild rice beds from aerial photographs will be available to other resource managers if they would like to use them to evaluate their rice beds.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

2h FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Fisheries Habitat Restoration - MN DNR ($100,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Citizens of the state of Minnesota benefit from this project by having a better fish community structure in Hartley and Long Lake that is sustainable by natural reproduction. This then creates better fishing and recreation available in high priority waterbodies. The project was completed on June 30, 2011. The project consisted of seven step-pools that started at the dam and went down stream approximately 230 ft. In addition four stop-log bays on the dam were modified to allow fish passage. The public have reported seeing fish using the pools to move into Hartley Lake and Long Lake. In July 2011, heavy rains created high waters and resulted in some of the organic fill being washed out. The lake association is going to work with staff to repair the damage. Long term maintenance of this project is going to be shared with the local lake association.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information on HCP project results have been shared and disseminated through all partner organizations. The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund provides information to the general public on how the lottery funds are spent for natural resource activities.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

2k FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Prairie Management - MN DNR ($63,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
A total of 127 acres of invasive species were controlled during the project (69 acres of woody removal, 58 acres of herbaceous invasive species treatments). Invasive tree species controlled includes Buckthorn, Siberian elm, Red cedar and Boxelder. Herbaceous invasive species treated include Spotted Knapweed, Leafy Spurge, and Crown-vetch. Projects were implemented by both private contractors and DNR crews. A total of 197 acres were burned on 2 SNA's and 2 Native Prairie Banks during the reporting period. All burns were completed by DNR crews as it remains difficult to hire qualified prescribed fire contractors. A total of 15 acres were reconstructed on the Langhei SNA and Mickelson Native Prairie Bank. All seeds were collected on the projects sites, and every attempt was made to collect a diversity of seeds. Both reconstructions are adjacent to native prairie; one reconstruction was a former row-crop field, and the other a site previously disturbed by installation of underground utilities. Data collection occurred on 4 different management projects. The data was loaded into the SNA Program's Adaptive Management Spatial Database (AMSD) for analysis and permanent documentation. Projects monitored included invasive species treatments and prescribed burning. As additional SNA management actions are implemented, and the data sets grow larger, AMSD will prove to be a valuable tool for continuous improvement of management methods.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Accomplishment Reports and press releases will be made available at http://www.mnhabitatcorridors.org.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

2n FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Campaign for Conservation - Restoration/Acquisition - The Nature Conservancy ($164,000)

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) 2010 ENRTF appropriation focused on habitat restoration/enhancement in critical corridors and landscapes identified by TNC and the Habitat Conservation Partnership. This program allowed us to significantly accelerate our work to maintain and enhance Minnesota's prairies, savannas, and wetlands using prescribed fire and surveying/treating invasive species. Other efforts focused on restoring sand prairies and long-lived conifers in landscapes where these are threatened. Our goal in this phase was to restore 2,415 acres. We were able to complete work on 3,178 acres, including:

  1. 2,529 acres of prescribed fire was planned/implemented at 15 sites in the Northern Tallgrass Prairie and prairie-forest transition areas of Minnesota.
  2. 533 acres of invasive species were treated at 15 sites in the same areas.
  3. 75 acres of white pine and other long-lived conifers were replanted in forests along the North Shore.
  4. 41 acres of sand prairie were restored in Southeast Minnesota.

Not included in these totals, but still valuable, were preparations for future prescribed burns on 240 acres and surveys for invasive species on over 7,000 further acres. Both will contribute to future conservation results. In addition, this support from the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund allowed TNC to bring an additional $54,284 in private and non-state public dollars for conservation work in these critical places.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

2o FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Working Lands Partnership - Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District ($45,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project funded the restoration of thirty-three wetlands totaling approximately seventeen acres on two Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) in Becker County. These areas are managed by the USFWS's Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District office. The primary objective was to restore small seasonal wetlands on WPAs. These small wetlands are important because they are the first to melt in the spring, providing critical habitat to early arriving migrating birds. Research has also shown that these types of wetlands have some of the highest invertebrate densities, a critical food source for egg-laying hens and fast-growing ducklings. These wetlands also play a role in flood protection in the Red River Valley. Because they are temporary or seasonal wetlands, they are often dry during the late fall. During snow melt the following spring, they are able to capture their full volume of water. Wetland restoration in western Minnesota is becoming increasingly important under several climate change models. First, these models predict increased flooding in the future. Second, the models predict that the climate of central Dakotas, the duck factory, will shift to western Minnesota. Wetland restoration in Minnesota buffers us against current and future flooding as well as the possible future waterfowl and songbird production in the Central Flyway.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
We are currently drafting a press release for local television and newspapers to discuss all of the grant funded projects in this area, including both ENRTF and LSOHC-CPL funded projects. However, due to the business of the pre-Xmas season, we will probably wait until mid-January before contacting these media. We have had informal conversations with newspapers in the area and they are interested in doing a story on the habitat restoration work in this area.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

2p FINAL REPORT  - HCP VI Supplemental - Bluffland Restoration - National Wild Turkey Federation ($50,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project was part of a long-term bluffland restoration effort by DNR, National Wild Turkey Federation, and private landowners in SE MN. Funds from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund were used to hire contractors to remove Eastern red cedar, buckthorn, honeysuckle, and prickly ash that was growing over former "goat prairies". The project focused primarily on improving habitat for the timber rattlesnake, three other at-risk snake species (racer, bullsnake, and hognose snake) and numerous at-risk plant species in the Bluffland subsection.

Goat prairies are native prairies found on steep south-facing hills in southeastern Minnesota. They are important to wildlife because the wind prevents deep snowpack, and intense sunlight melts much of what does stick. Animals can then rest and forage on the exposed sites. Nearby rock bluffs hold snakes, which forage in the prairies in summer. These prairies were historically maintained by periodic wildfire, but fire prevention has allowed native red cedar and non-native brushy species to encroach on them. These need to be removed to restore the native habitat. Restoring vegetation through these methods also reduces soil loss and improves water quality within the watershed.

During this grant period we treated 29.2 acres of habitat on private lands by hand cutting the invasive overstory. Stumps were treated with herbicides to prevent re-sprouting. Cut material was piled and burned on-site. A ten-year agreement was required from the landowners before any work began. The level of brush infestation, location and access impacted the contract price, which in turn led to lower than anticipated accomplishment acreage. The treatment area was 28 acres rather than the anticipated "up to 45 acres" as indicated in the initial plan. A second site was added later and an additional 1.2 acres treated. Periodic prescribed burning will be conducted by DNR (non-Trust-Fund monies) and will maintain the site in the desired habitat state.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Accomplishment Reports and press releases will be made available at http://www.mnhabitatcorridors.org.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

3a FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Shoreland Protection Program - Minnesota Land Trust ($102,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This 2010 grant was supplemental to the sixth phase (2009) of our Shorelands Protection project. This grant provided acquisition capital needed to complete two urgent projects that otherwise we would not have been able to complete. One project protects important shoreline along Lake Superior, while the other project protects shoreline along the Little Pine River. Collectively, these two easements protect 99 acres of critical habitat and protect more than 7,000 feet of fragile shoreline.

Both easements were purchased at significant bargain prices. One of the projects (Lake Superior) also used some 2009 funding, so project details, including the funding breakdown, also were reported in our 2009 (Phase 6) final report.

Additionally, the Land Trust prepared baseline property reports for each easement, detailing the condition of the property for future monitoring and enforcement. To fund this required perpetual obligation, the Land Trust dedicated funds to its segregated Stewardship and Enforcement Fund for several completed projects. For these projects, we estimated the anticipated annual expenses of each project and the investment needed to generate annual income sufficient to cover these expenses in perpetuity - all in accordance with our internal policies and procedures as approved by LCCMR. We will report to LCCMR annually on the status of the Stewardship and Enforcement Fund and the easements acquired with funds from this grant.

An appraised value is known for only one of the easements. The donated value of this easement is $515,000. Based on the estimate of value for the second easement, we believe the donated value of that easement is approximately $53,000. Therefore, we were able to leverage significant private donation with the State's small investment in these projects.

Cumulatively, across all phases of the HCP program, the Land Trust has protected 7,549 acres of critical habitat and nearly 224,000 feet of shoreline, at a cost to the State of $293 per acre.

The Land Trust's work on this project continues to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of working with conservation easements to protect natural and scenic resources along Minnesota's lakes, rivers, and streams, as the cost to the State was well below the cost to purchase land along our increasingly threatened shorelines. This grant continued to generate interest among landowners, and therefore, ongoing funding will be important to sustained success. Additionally, we believe that funds to purchase easements - even a small incentive - will be necessary in the future as work becomes more targeted, selective, and focused on building complexes of protected land.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The Land Trust disseminated information about the specific land protection projects completed under this grant though our newsletter, email updates, web site, and press releases. The Land Trust also shared information about conservation easements generally and our experience with our partner organizations, other easement holders, local communities, as well as policy makers including members of the LCCMR and LSOHC.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

3c FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Shallow Lake Easements - Ducks Unlimited, Inc. ($75,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Ducks Unlimited used this grant in combination with our 2009 appropriation to help fund approximately 40% of the cost to purchase a permanent conservation easement on the 150-acre Donovan-Posch property on Garden and Johnson Lakes in Crow Wing County in June 2011. In addition, Ducks Unlimited also provided technical assistance and conducted outreach and promotion of conservation easements as a land protection option to new landowners on several shallow lakes, and secured appraisals for potential conservation easements on both the Papenheim and Douglas County Land Company properties on Lake Christina, and ordered an appraisal on the Radunz property on Cedar Lake in Meeker/McLeod County under this grant before funds ran out. Negotiations with these and other landowners are ongoing and will continue in the future through our 2011 appropriation. DU spent $29,639 in Other Funds to complete this project.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
This grant helped DU continue the protection of shallow lakes by working with private landowners to secure conservation easements and promote conservation easement concepts. Conservation easements with private landowners are sensitive land deals that don't lend themselves to widespread publicity. However, DU has recognized individual landowners and has publicized our work to protect shallow lake shorelines and shoreland locally through local conservation groups, soil and water districts, and tribal organizations supportive of our work to protect wild rice lakes. DU also informed the foundations supporting our Living Lakes Initiative of our conservation accomplishments. The accomplishment of securing two new permanent conservation easements through this grant has helped encourage other private landowners to consider working with DU to protect their shorelines, and news of our progress may be further disseminated through DU news releases and articles DU publications in the future. Accomplishment Reports and press releases will be made available at http://www.mnhabitatcorridors.org.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

3d FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Wetland Reserve Program - Ducks Unlimited, Inc. and USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services ($350,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
In partnership with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Ducks Unlimited (DU) contracted with seven Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) wetland technicians from November 2010 through November 2011 as part 3d of the Habitat Conservation Partnership (HCP) Phase 6.5 "Supplemental" grant. Grant funds were used in combination with private DU funds and federal USDA funds provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to contract for the professional services of these seven technicians, whose function was to provide technical assistance to private landowners and USDA - NRCS complete applications and enroll new lands into the WRP, and to help USDA-NRCS and private landowners plan, design, and implement restoration measures on lands previously enrolled in the WRP. The delivery goal for these technicians was to provide Technical Assistance (TA) to help NRCS protect 1,000 acres through new WRP easements and help restore wetlands and associated upland habitat on WRP easements in HCP project areas at an estimated Other Funds cost of $1,520,000 to NRCS. During the life of this grant, the contract specialists made 900 landowner contacts, prepared and submitted 122 applications, submitted 156 easement restoration plans or plan modifications, completed 7 wetland restoration designs, and provided field level management and oversight of 64 restoration projects. Meanwhile, during this grant period, NRCS spent $6,222,501 of federal other funds to close 50 WRP easements protecting 5,252 acres. DU and NRCS also spent an additional $463,127 to pay specialists and administer this grant, for a total non-state Other Funds investment of $6,685,628 during this grant period, significantly more than our estimated proposal goal of $1,520,000.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information on the WRP signups has been publicized through news releases from the USDA's NRCS and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and through hundreds of individual landowner contacts made by DU wetland restoration specialists. Additional announcements and landowner contacts continue to be made and publicized by DU and USDA's NRCS.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

4b FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Fisheries Land Acquisition - MN DNR ($100,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project focused on the acquisition of Preece Point AMA, one of the most prominent geographic features on Lake Marquette - a Mississippi River headwaters lake. Here the lakeshore forms a long, narrow point, which is visible from virtually everywhere around the lake. The entire property along with it's associated aquatic habitat is unimpacted by human activities. This AMA will now provide walk-in access to a lake that has no developed public access. The property was sold to DNR as a bargain sale, and the family is happy to know that it will be preserved in it's natural state.

Project goals were to protect 20 acres (0.3 miles of lake and stream shoreline) with the help of partner and other state funding. Partner funding includes donations of land value and cash.

This project resulted in a grand total of approximately 11.8 acres and 0.2 miles of lake and stream shoreline. Environmental and Natural Resources Trust dollars directly acquired approximately 5.9 acres of the total, including 0.1 mile of lake shoreline. Donations of land value and cash ("other funds" $50,000) and other state monies ($50,000) leveraged with trust dollars totaled $100,000. These contributions helped acquire the remaining acres of the grand total, including 2.94 acres and 0.05 shoreline miles using other state dollars and 2.94 acres and 0.05 shoreline miles from donations of land value and cash. Preece Point was acquired jointly using both 2009 and 2010-Supplemental grants to Minnesota's Habitat Conservation Partnership - Fish and Wildlife Acquisition (4b). Results for Preece Point were proportionately distributed for each grant.

As a result of the combined 2009 and 2009-supplemental grants, 17 acres, including 0.3 miles of critical fish and wildlife habitat are now permanently protected and open to public angling and other light use recreational activities on Preece Point AMA. Acquired parcels are now designated and managed as Aquatic Management Areas (AMAs).

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Accomplishment Reports and press releases are available at www.mnhabitatcorridors.org., and all AMAs will be added to DNR's Public Recreational Information Maps (PRIM).

Project completed:  6/30/2012

4c FINAL REPORT - HCP VI Supplemental - Critical Lands Protection Program - Trust for Public Land ($200,000)
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
On September 30, 2011, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) acquired 510 acres in Le Sueur County containing high-quality wetlands and 1.64 miles of naturally flowing Cannon River just upstream from a concentration of rare freshwater mussels. TPL immediately conveyed the property to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who will manage the land as a new Wildlife Management Area ("Dora Lake WMA"). In addition to conserving a large area of Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS)- identified native habitat, acquisition of these tracts provides an opportunity to restore approximately 200 acres of tilled land in a sensitive water quality area. The DNR will restore them to wetlands, grassland and eventual guided succession to Big Woods. Protection of the property ensures habitat for fish, game and wildlife in the Cannon River watershed.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Accomplishment Reports and press releases about the overall Habitat Conservation Partnership are available at www.mnhabitatcorridors.org.. Information about this acquisition and the Cannon River Headwaters Habitat Complex effort will be posted on TPL's website: www.tpl.org. Information about the Cannon River Headwaters Habitat Complex effort has also been disseminated through its network of supporters which include: the Cannon River Watershed Partnership, the Tri-Lake Sports Club, the Dark House Anglers Southern Chapter, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association South Central Prairieland Bucks Chapter (Le Sueur, Rice, Waseca, and Steele Counties), Waterville Sportsman's Club, Montgomery Sportsmen's Club, Minnesota Waterfowl Association Scott- LeSueur Chapter, the Izaak Walton League Owatonna Chapter, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Project completed:  9/30/2011


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Metropolitan Conservation Corridors Supplemental
Subd. 04g     $1,750,000

Sarah Strommen
Minnesota Land Trust
2356 University Avenue West, Suite 240
St. Paul, MN 55114

Phone:  (651) 647-9590
Email:  sstrommen@mnland.org
Fax:  (651) 647-9769
Web:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/metroconservationcorridors

Appropriation Language
$1,750,000 is added to Laws 2009, chapter 143, section 2, subdivision 4, paragraph (f), from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for acceleration of agency programs and cooperative agreements. Of this appropriation, $1,750,000 is for agreements as follows: $890,000 with the Trust for Public Land; $485,000 with Minnesota Land Trust; $325,000 with Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc.; and $50,000 with Friends of the Minnesota Valley for planning, restoring, and protecting important natural areas in the metropolitan area, as defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.121, subdivision 2, and portions of the surrounding counties, through grants, contracted services, technical assistance, conservation easements, and fee title acquisition. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. Expenditures are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work program. This appropriation may not be used for the purchase of residential structures, unless expressly approved in the work program. All conservation easements must be perpetual and have a natural resource management plan. Any land acquired in fee title by the commissioner of natural resources with money from this appropriation must be designated as an outdoor recreation unit under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.07. The commissioner may similarly designate any lands acquired in less than fee title. A list of proposed restorations and fee title and easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work program. All funding for conservation easements must include a long-term stewardship plan and funding for monitoring and enforcing the agreement.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS
During this supplemental grant to the fifth phase of the Metro Corridors project, the Metro Conservation Corridors Partners continued their work to accelerate protection and restoration of remaining high-quality natural lands in the greater Twin Cities Metropolitan Area by strategically coordinating and focusing conservation efforts within a connected and scientifically-identified network of critical lands. This corridor network stretches from the area's urban core to its rural perimeter, including portions of 16 counties.

This supplemental phase was focused on unique opportunities that were not funded through prior phases of the MeCC program. This supplemental phase included only four of the MeCC partners and accomplished work in two specific result areas.

  1. Restore and Enhance Significant Habitat: Partners restored and enhanced a total of 133 acres of significant habitat in the Lower Minnesota River Watershed using Phase V Supplemental funding plus an additional 33 acres with other funds.
  2. Acquire Significant Habitat: Partners protected 494 acres of land through acquisition of fee title and conservation easements and leveraged an additional 454 acres of land using other funds.

Since 2003, MeCC partners have protected more than 10,000 acres and restored nearly 8,000 acres. These strategic and coordinated efforts address a number of recommendations of the Statewide Conservation and Preservation Plan, including, protecting priority land habitats, protecting critical shorelands of streams and lakes, restoring land, wetlands, and wetland-associated watersheds, and improving connectivity and access to outdoor recreation.

OVERALL PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
As projects were completed, the individual partners were encouraged to publicize accomplishments through press releases, organization newsletters and websites. These efforts resulted in information being distributed to the public through websites, email lists, daily and weekly newspapers, newsletters, and other print materials. Additionally, the MeCC Partnership maintains an interactive public web map that shows the locations of MeCC projects over time. This web map can be accessed at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/MeCC/mapper.html.

OVERALL SUMMARY FINAL REPORT

Project completed:  6/30/2012

ABSTRACTS AND FINAL REPORTS OF INDIVIDUAL PARTNER PROJECTS (Click project # to go to listing for that project)
2.4 - MeCC V Supplemental - Lower Minnesota River Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Friends of the Minnesota Valley ($50,000)
3.1 - MeCC V Supplemental - Critical Land Protection Program - Trust for Public Land ($890,000)
3.2 - MeCC V Supplemental - Protect Significant Habitat by Acquiring Conservation Easements - Minnesota Land Trust ($485,000)
3.3 - MeCC V Supplemental - Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Fee Title Acquisition - Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc. ($325,000)

2.4 FINAL REPORT - MeCC V Supplemental - Lower Minnesota River Watershed Restoration and Enhancement - Friends of the Minnesota Valley ($50,000)
Project Outcome and Results
Friends of the Minnesota Valley (FMV) undertook restoration of habitat for the Lower Minnesota River Watershed portion of the Metropolitan Conservation Corridors Project (MeCC) as a continuation of our wildlife habitat restoration within the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Wetland Management District (Refuge) and within the Lower Minnesota River Watershed.

The Friends' objectives were to complement and connect habitat restoration and management of Refuge lands with that being done by other entities. Project sites addressed the need to restore hydrology within floodplain communities and to restore upland communities such as native oak savanna and wet and dry prairies, resulting in the rehabilitation of nesting, breeding, and brood-rearing habitat for migratory waterfowl in wetland areas and habitat for four documented species in upland areas. Due to late and persistent flooding, our access to the wetland site was prohibited and, as a result, we shifted our focus to upland restoration, as described in our amended work program.

FMV and our partners were able to successfully restore and enhance 30 acres of native wet prairie, 74 acres of native dry sand-gravel oak savanna, and 29 acres of native dray sand-gravel prairie with LCCMR funds during MeCC Phase V Supplement for a total acreage of 133 acres. We also restored additional match acreage of 14 acres of native dry sand-gravel oak savanna and 9 acres of native dry sand-gravel prairie with non-LCCMR, non-state funds. All work was completed on four Refuge Units and included cutting and herbicide treatment of non-native woody brush species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, prickly ash, eastern red cedar, and Siberian elm. Our project data is publicly accessible by contacting the Friends, through information disseminated through our newsletter which is distributed to our 1,200 active members, our annual report, on our website, and through information provided by the MeCC Partnership.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
As projects were completed, Friends of the Minnesota Valley publicized project accomplishments through the Friends' quarterly newsletter, our annual report, and the posting of project information on our website. Other dissemination of information occurred through the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership and on the Metro Corridors website.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

3.1 FINAL REPORT - MeCC V Supplemental - Critical Land Protection Program - Trust for Public Land ($890,000)
Project Outcome and Results
In its Critical Lands Protection Program, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) used $890,000 from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) to secure fee title on portions totaling 50.2 acres of 407 total acquired acres. TPL conveyed these lands to public agencies for permanent protection. Individual project successes include the following:

  • TPL spent $552,000 2010 ENRTF funds to protect 10.8 ENRTF acres of land as part of a larger 69-acre purchase of a high biodiversity corridor including forest, bluffland, wetland and rare calcareous fen. TPL conveyed the land to the Department of Natural Resources as the Savage Fen SNA on the Credit River addition in Scott County.
  • TPL spent $338,000 2010 ENRTF to protect 39.4 ENRTF acres of land as part of a 338-acre acquisition of one of the largest undeveloped and contiguous tracts of open space in the Twin Cities Metro Area. TPL then conveyed the land to Anoka County. Located at the confluence of Cedar Creek and the Rum River, this land will be managed by the County as the Cedar Creek Conservation Area.

TPL leveraged $890,000 in TPL Metro Conservation Corridors (MeCC) 2010 funding on these projects with $1,090,000 in non-state funds to protect 357 additional pro-rated acres of land. $300,000 of this was non-state public funds and $790,000 of this was from private land value donations. Additionally, $300,000 in state RIM funds were used to protect 5.9 pro-rated acres and $3,400,000 in Outdoor Heritage Funds were used to protect 250.8 pro-rated acres. TPL's 2009 ENRTF funds in the amount of $62,000 and DNR's 2009 and 2010 ENRTF funds in the amount of $358,493 were used to protect 7.2 pro-rated acres and 7.1 pre-rated acres respectively. SNA 2006 bonding dollars in the amount of 289,507 were also used to protect 5.7 pro-rated acres. All acres acquired total 407.

*Please note, since a portion of TPL's 2009 ENRTF funding was used for the Cedar Creek Conservation Area project, a portion of these results was also reflected in TPL's 2009 MeCC Work Program update and Final Report.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
As conservation transactions were completed, The Trust for Public Land disseminated information on the TPL website, www.tpl.org, broadcast emails to Embrace Open Space (EOS) and TPL list serve members, distributed press releases, and included information in TPL's newsletters as appropriate. TPL also worked with the long-term stewards to ensure information was distributed to their listserves and posted on their websites as well.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

3.2 FINAL REPORT - MeCC V Supplemental - Protect Significant Habitat by Acquiring Conservation Easements - Minnesota Land Trust ($485,000)
Project Outcome and Results
This 2010 grant was supplemental to the fifth phase (2009) of the Metro Conservation Corridors project. This grant provided acquisition capital needed to complete urgent projects that otherwise we would not have been able to complete. Two perpetual conservation easements were completed that collectively protect 374 acres of land and more than 700 feet of shoreline. One easement was purchased at a bargain price, and one easement was donated. The Land Trust also purchased two additional easements that used both 2009 and 2010 ENRTF funding. Because we reported those projects accomplishments as part of our 2009 report, we described them but did not count acreage in the 2010 reports to avoid double-counting. All projects represent unique opportunities to protect high quality natural habitat, riparian areas, and to build upon prior land protection work by the Land Trust at several priority sites.

Additionally, the Land Trust prepared baseline property reports for each easement, detailing the condition of the property for future monitoring and enforcement. To fund this required perpetual obligation, the Land Trust dedicated ENRTF and other funds to its segregated Stewardship and Enforcement Fund for all completed projects. We estimated the anticipated annual expenses of each project and the investment needed to generate annual income sufficient to cover these expenses in perpetuity - all in accordance with our internal policies and procedures as approved by LCCMR. We will report to LCCMR annually on the status of the Stewardship and Enforcement Fund and the easements acquired with funds from this grant.

The total value for the two easements acquired is $1,242,000. The donated value is $1,162,000. Therefore, we were able to leverage significant private donation with the State's investment in these projects.

Cumulatively, across all phases of the Metro Corridors program, the Land Trust has protected 3,672 acres of critical habitat and more than 76,000 feet of shoreline, at a cost to the State of $580 per acre.

The Land Trust's work on this project continues to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of working with conservation easements to protect natural and scenic resources within developed and developing areas, as the cost to the State was well below the cost to purchase land in the Twin Cities region. This grant continued to generate interest among landowners, and therefore, ongoing funding will be important to sustained success. Additionally, we believe that funds to purchase easements - even a small amount - will be necessary in the future as work becomes more targeted, selective, and focused on building complexes of protected land.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The Land Trust disseminated information about the specific land protection projects completed under this grant though our newsletter, email updates, web site, and press releases. The Land Trust also shared information about conservation easements generally and our experience with our partner organizations, other easement holders, local communities, as well as policy makers including members of the LCCMR and LSOHC.

Project completed:  6/30/2012

3.3 FINAL REPORT - MeCC V Supplemental - Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Fee Title Acquisition - Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc. ($325,000)
Project Outcome and Results
The Minnesota Valley Trust acquired 103 acres of priority lands in Scott County to expand the St. Lawrence Unit of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Of the 103 acres acquired, 70 acres were acquired with Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and 33 acres were acquired with other private, non-state funds.

An additional 63.71 acres were acquired from two other landowners using other private, non-state funds as match of the ENRTF grant. Those acquisitions expand the Jessenland Unit of the Minnesota Valley Refuge in Sibley County. The total leverage to this project was 96.71 acres acquired using other, non-state funds.

These targeted acquisitions expand upon prior acquisitions funded in part by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the LCCMR. The parcels acquired are adjacent to or very near other lands protected by the Minnesota Valley Trust for the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. All are within the expansion boundaries for the Refuge as identified through a public planning process by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and documented in the Refuge's "Comprehensive Conservation Plan."

After any needed restoration and enhancement, the lands will be donated to the USFWS for perpetual management as part of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. They will be managed for wildlife and open to the public for wildlife-dependent recreation, including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, wildlife interpretation and environmental education.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The Minnesota Valley Trust will publicize the completion of this project through its website and news releases. All funding partners will be acknowledged on Refuge Unit kiosks, including the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

Project completed:  6/30/2012


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Conserving Sensitive and Priority Shorelands in Cass County
Subd. 04h     $300,000

John Ringle
Cass County Environmental Services Department
300 Minnesota Ave, Box 3000
Walker, MN 56484

Phone:  (218) 547-7241
Email:  john.ringle@co.cass.mn.us
Fax:  (218) 547-7429
Web:  http://www.co.cass.mn.us/esd/home_esd.html

Appropriation Language
$300,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Cass County to provide assistance for the donation of perpetual conservation easements to protect sensitive shoreland parcels for long-term protection of recreation, water quality, and critical habitat in north central Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Cass County's 500+ high quality lakes provide habitat for fish and wildlife, recreation opportunities for Minnesotans, and they are the cornerstones for the region's local economy. However, the future of these water resources is threatened by increasing population growth and shoreland development. Cass County is using this appropriation to provide assistance to riparian landowners interested in permanently protecting critical shoreline areas through donation of perpetual conservation easements on their lands. County officials expect they will be able to help protect 1,200 to 1,500 acres of riparian land, including 3-5 miles of shoreland.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Cass County's 500+ high quality lakes provide critical fish and wildlife habitat and opportunities for public recreational enjoyment. These natural resources are also the economic engines that sustain local communities. Yet, the future quality of these water resources is threatened by increasing population growth primarily along priority lakeshores.

This project focused on permanently protecting some of the most critical shorelands in Cass County using donated conservation easements. Target shorelands were strategically identified by Cass County, the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, and the Minnesota DNR through its Sensitive Shoreland Study (2008-21010) on 17 lakes in Cass County. Nine (9) landowners donated a conservation easement on their sensitive shoreland to permanently limit future development. As an incentive, the project funds assisted landowners with the closing costs associated with the conservation easement, including an IRS appraisal to enable them to take a charitable deduction for the public conservation benefit donated to the people of Minnesota. In total, 305 acres and 12,039 feet (2.5 miles) of sensitive shoreland was permanently protected.

Cass County holds 8 easements and the Minnesota Land Trust holds one easement. They will annually monitor the properties to ensure compliance with the easement terms. The 9 participating landowners on six lakes (Ten Mile, Washburn, Wabedo, Little Boy, Deep/Rice Portage, and Pine Mountain lakes) donated almost a million dollars of land value to permanently protect critical shorelands by voluntarily restricting future development. The public benefit is the protection of critical fish and wildlife habitat, reduced runoff to further protect water quality, and ultimately the assurance of continued high quality recreational opportunities on some of Minnesota's best recreational lakes. With permanent conservation accomplished at approximately $13/shoreland foot, this project is a model for cost-effective, long-term protection of recreational opportunity, water quality, and critical land and aquatic habitats on highly developed and sensitive lakeshores in North Central Minnesota.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The science-based identification of sensitive shorelands and methodology for this project was the premise for Legacy Amendment funding for donated conservation easements on critical shorelands in Cass County and expanded into Crow Wing and Aitkin Counties as recommended by the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and approved by the Minnesota Legislature in 2011. The Legacy Funding resulted in an additional 320 acres and 3.5 miles of critical shorelands permanently conserved in North Central Minnesota. To date, the two projects have permanently protected over 6 miles of high priority shorelands in North Central Minnesota. Subsequently, due to the success of both of these projects, Phase II Legacy Funding for additional shoreland conservation in the North Central region was approved by the 2014 Minnesota Legislature.

In addition, it is anticipated that several conservation easements initiated but not completed for various reasons within the ENRTF project time frame will still come to fruition within the next several years to potentially conserve another 100 acres and 1.5 miles of critical shorelands.

The location of the 9 conservation easements in Cass County is included as a data layer in the interactive mapping on the Cass County website at www.co.cass.mn.us.

Throughout the project, hundreds of targeted landowners of sensitive shoreland received information on the benefits of conservation easements. Many presentations were made to lake associations, local governments, and community groups about the benefits of shoreland conservation. Landowner stories can be read on the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation website at www.leechlakewatershed.org. Seeds of interest have been sown that could result in future conservation of priority shorelands and continued assurance of public enjoyment of Minnesota's high quality lake resources in Cass County.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2014


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Reconnecting Fragmented Prairie Landscapes
Subd. 04i     $380,000

Steve Chaplin
The Nature Conservancy
1101 W River Pkwy, Ste 200
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone:  (612) 331-0750
Email:  schaplin@tnc.org
Fax:  (612) 331-0770
Web: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/minnesota/index.htm

Appropriation Language
$380,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Nature Conservancy to develop prairie landscape design plans and monitoring protocol involving local landowners and businesses to guide conservation, restoration, and related economic development. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Less than 1% of Minnesota's original tallgrass prairie remains today and what is left exists in scattered remnants. Restoration of healthy prairie ecosystems requires both protection and reconnection of remnants to create prairie-dominated landscape areas of 10,000-50,000 acres. However, it is unlikely such aims can be achieved without balancing desired conservation goals with an ability for local communities to utilize prairies for generating sustainable income. Through this appropriation the Nature Conservancy will work with the University of Minnesota and the local communities of two prairie landscapes in order to develop a framework for how prairie-based economic uses that balance with prairie conservation goals could provide sufficient return on labor and investment to sustain rural families and communities.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan calls for protecting native prairie and restoring connectivity to prairie core areas using grass-based agriculture as a conservation tool. To provide information and techniques needed to meet these goals, we studied two prairie landscapes in western Minnesota: Agassiz Beach Ridges (127,000 acres) and Glacial Lakes (169,000 acres). Using GIS analysis and field survey, we developed a current land use/land cover map that revealed that even in high-quality prairie landscapes, over 25% was cropland and 31% was invasive dominated or mixed native-invasive grassland. To guide conservation activities, we identified conservation targets and specified methods for measuring progress. To rebuild functioning prairie systems, we identified all parcels containing native prairie for possible management and protection, as well as tracts that if restored, could buffer and reconnect prairie. A social analysis using interviews with local constituencies revealed support for conservation if it were tied to working grasslands that promoted rural socio-economic vitality. To facilitate needed restoration, we developed a state transition model that identified feasible restoration transitions from common "start states" (based on current land cover) to conservation and utility prairie and meadow "end states". We developed restoration plans including techniques, seed mixes, and estimated costs for twenty transitions. To make the expansion of grass-based agriculture feasible, landowners will need assistance with the restoration costs. As land use decisions are driven not only by financial returns but also potentially by the value of ecological services, ongoing InVest modeling will highlight land use patterns where the provision of public and private benefits in future scenarios is optimized. These scenarios are designed to reflect the goals of the Prairie Plan, as well as social and economic constraints. This comprehensive approach provides resources for implementing prairie conservation in western Minnesota and could serve as a model for conservation planning elsewhere.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The primary purpose of this project was to provide information and techniques for the implementation of the Minnesota Prairie Conservation plan in two prairie landscapes in western Minnesota. The primary audience is individuals and organizations interested or involved in prairie conservation, especially the Prairie Plan Local Technical Teams. Some parts of the final report, including the prairie conservation planning maps and the social analysis, have already been shared with the teams. Information from the report has also been included in presentations to the teams and other local groups including the County Board of Commissioners. Parts of the report will be available on Conservancy or University websites. Over the next year, information from the report will form the basis for several planned publications in scientific journals.

Project Publication:
Implementing the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan in Landscapes of Western Minnesota (PDF - 11 MB)

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2014


Subd. 05  Water Resources


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Understanding Sources of Aquatic Contaminants of Emerging Concern
Subd. 05a     $640,000

Deborah Swackhamer
U of MN
Water Resources Center, 173 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-0279
Email:  dswack@umn.edu
Web: http://wrc.umn.edu/people/deborahswackhamer/index.htm

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$640,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to identify chemical markers to characterize sources of endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals entering surface waters in the Zumbro River Watershed. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other contaminants of emerging concern are increasingly being found in surface waters in Minnesota and elsewhere. These contaminants can cause adverse ecological and human health impacts. However, there is a lack of understanding regarding the sources of these contaminants. Scientists at the University of Minnesota's Water Resources Center are using this appropriation to study these contaminants in the Zumbro River watershed in order to:

  • Help determine what contaminants are associated with specific land uses;
  • Identify methods for monitoring sources and loads of the contaminants;
  • Develop science-based recommendations for prevention, reduction, and remediation strategies.
  • Ultimately this information should help lead to cleaner surface waters in Minnesota.


Project due to be completed:  6/30/2014 [Extended in M.L. 2013]
Work Program


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Managing Mineland Sulfate Release in Saint Louis River Basin
Subd. 05b     $270,000

Michael Berndt
DNR
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5378
Email:  mike.berndt@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-5939
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$270,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to map current sulfate sources and assess treatment options to minimize potential impacts of mercury on fish and wildlife from sulfate releases in the St. Louis River Basin. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Over a century of iron mining in northeastern Minnesota has left numerous waste rock piles, open pits, and tailings basins that appear to be the dominant sources of sulfate in the St. Louis River. This sulfate has become a recent environmental concern due to the possibility that one of the byproducts of its increased presence, methylmercury, may lead to mercury contamination in fish and other wildlife. Through this appropriation, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the University of Minnesota are evaluating the sources and fate of sulfate in the St. Louis River Basin in order to better understand its impacts and determine the best means for reducing or eliminating these impacts, particularly in environments where methylmercury is a byproduct of sulfate presence.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Taconite mining on the Iron Range sends an average of approximately 35 tons of sulfate per day down the St. Louis River. Another 15 tons per day arises from non-mining sources. Loading from both sources is episodic and depends on hydrologic conditions in the watershed. Most mining-related sulfate arises from the oxidative weathering of minor iron sulfide minerals present in the mined rocks. The predominant pathway for sulfate introduction into the streams is through pumping and overflow of water from taconite pits.

In some source regions, a large percentage of sulfate released near the mines was removed by natural reactions that convert sulfate back to insoluble sulfides ("sulfate reduction"). However, once the sulfate reached the open channel ways in streams, little, if any, additional sulfate was removed by sulfate reduction. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that sulfate reduction can also be stimulated artificially in mine waters by adding organic compounds and iron minerals and eliminating oxygen. However, water hardness and the production of hydrogen sulfide were difficult to control using the methods that were tested.

Methylmercury is a toxic compound that can form as a byproduct of biologic sulfate reduction. Widespread sampling and measurement of methylmercury reveal that its concentration is minimally impacted by sulfate concentration in the main stream or river channels. The dominant source of methylmercury to streams involves the slow passage of water falling on the land through reduced, organic rich materials that surround streams in this area. Except in a few instances, sulfate from mining, added directly to streams, has limited ability to access and impact methylmercury formed in this source region. Laboratory experiments conducted on estuary sediments also indicated that the rate of methylmercury addition to the water column is not directly controlled by sulfate concentration in the overlying water.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The work by our group has been widely presented to outside groups including scientists and stakeholders. Plans are in works to publish all or parts of the above reports in peer reviewed journals over the next year.

Three reports and two MS theses were produced directly as a result of this research. Several reports were placed on the DNR's website in late October 2012. This website will be updated to reflect more recent reports by October 2013.

Project Publications:

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Ecological Impacts of Effluent in Surface Waters and Fish
Subd. 05c     $340,000

Paige Novak
U of MN
122 Civil Engineering Bldg, 500 Pillsbury Dr SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (612) 626-9846
Email:  novak010@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 626-7750
Web: http://personal.ce.umn.edu/~novak/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$340,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota in cooperation with St. Cloud State University to determine the chemical and biological fate of phytoestrogens in surface waters and the impacts on fish. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that are discharged into surface water from wastewater treatment plants and certain industrial facilities. Phytoestrogens mimic the hormone estrogen and can therefore interfere with normal biological development. For example, it is known that they can feminize male fish. However, the broader effects of phytoestrogens have not been studied and almost nothing is known about their long-term fate or persistence in the environment. Through this appropriation scientists from the University of Minnesota and St Cloud State University will collaborate to examine the persistence of phytoestrogens in surface waters and their effects on fish. Findings will be used to enhance wastewater treatment and help facilitate continued industrial development and production in Minnesota done in an environmentally sensitive manner.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic estrogen and can interfere with normal biological development. Research shows that phytoestrogens are discharged into surface water from wastewater treatment plants and certain industries. The biological effects of these compounds have not been well studied, although it is known that they can feminize male fish. Almost nothing is known about their environmental fate. When these compounds enter rivers and streams, it is likely that they will be degraded and therefore may have a lessened impact on biota, but this needs to be confirmed.

In this project, the persistence of two common phytoestrogens (genistein and daidzein) was studied. Fathead minnow exposure experiments at realistic environmental concentrations were also performed. Experiments demonstrated that genistein and daidzein reacted with sunlight. These two compounds also biodegraded rapidly in natural water samples; the rate of degradation depended on phytoestrogen concentration, water/incubation temperature, and the source of the water. Sorption experiments showed that phytoestrogens sorb to sediment, but this is not likely to be an important loss mechanism. Adult fathead minnow exposure experiments showed that only subtle effects on anatomy, physiology, and behavior of fathead minnows occurred as a result of exposure to phytoestrogens singly or in mixtures. The one exception to this was the fact that adult fathead minnows produced significantly more eggs when exposed to daidzein. Larval minnow exposures showed that exposure to genistein, formononetin (another common phytoestrogen), and a mixture of phytoestrogens had a negative impact on larval survival. Adult and larval exposures to microbiologically degraded phytoestrogens showed negative impacts on adult egg production. This research indicates that genistein, daidzein, and formononetin are unlikely to cause widespread ecological harm themselves in the absence of other stressors; nevertheless, caution should be exercised with respect to high concentration effluents due to the potentially anti-estrogenic effects of phytoestrogen degradates.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Results have been disseminated at several conferences. In addition, one manuscript has been published, two additional manuscripts have been submitted, and a fourth is being revised and will be submitted for publication in August or September, 2013. This project also resulted in the generation of two Master's theses and one Ph.D. thesis.

Project Publications:

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Agricultural and Urban Runoff Water Quality Treatment Analysis
Subd. 05d     $485,000

Craig Austinson
Blue Earth County Drainage Authority
410 Jackson Street
Mankato, MN 56001

Phone:  (507) 304-4253
Email:  Craig.Austinson@blueearthcountymn.gov
Web: http://www.co.blue-earth.mn.us/

Appropriation Language
$485,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for an agreement with the Blue Earth County Drainage Authority to reduce soil erosion, peak water flows, and nutrient loading through a demonstration model evaluating storage and treatment options in drainage systems in order to improve water quality. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2014, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Rising crop prices and the deterioration of old, existing agricultural drainage systems have led to increased demand for new and improved drainage systems. As these new drainage systems are constructed there is a unique and valuable opportunity to implement a fundamental shift in the way drainage systems interact with the landscape by integrating conservation practices that balance with agricultural economics considerations. The Blue Earth County Drainage Authority is using this appropriation to demonstrate a community-based water quality and treatment system in which landowners, local government, and state agencies will collaboratively implement an approach to drainage systems that improves water quality and wildlife habitat while replacing outdated drainage systems. This approach has the potential to be a model for future drainage projects across the state.

Project due to be completed:  6/30/2015 [Extended in M.L. 2014, Chapter 226]
Work Program


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Assessing Septic System Discharge to Lakes
Subd. 05e     $594,000

Richard Kiesling
U.S. Geological Survey
2280 Woodale Dr
Mounds View, MN 55112

Phone:  (763) 783-3131
Email:  kiesling@usgs.gov
Fax:  (763) 783-3103
Web: http://profile.usgs.gov/professional/mypage.php?name=kiesling

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$594,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of health for department activities and for an agreement with the United States Geologic Survey in cooperation with St. Cloud State University to develop quantitative data on septic system discharge of estrogenic and pharmaceutical compounds and assess septic and watershed influences on levels of contamination and biological responses in Minnesota lakes. The United States Geologic Survey is not subject to the requirements in Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other contaminants of emerging concern are increasingly being found in surface waters in Minnesota, including the state's lakes. Recent research surveying Minnesota lakes found that the most frequent occurrence of these chemicals was in lakes with a high density of septic systems. In river ecosystems some of these chemicals have been known to cause extinction of forage fish species and abnormal sexual development in other fish species, such as bass and walleye. However, little is known about how these compounds affect fish populations in lake ecosystems. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, St. Cloud State University, and the Minnesota Department of Health will cooperatively use this appropriation to help assess which of these chemicals are most frequently present in lakes with high septic system concentration and determine whether native fish populations are being affected. Part of this appropriation will help pay for specialized equipment to study these chemical compounds, expanding the capability of the research laboratory at the Department of Health.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The current study (1) sampled 20 Minnesota lakes that receive groundwater under the potential influence of septic systems to determine the occurrence of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) and endocrine active compounds (EACs), (2) assessed watershed and groundwater characteristics that may contribute to the frequency of PhAC and EAC detections, (3) assessed the histo-pathology of actively spawning bluegill sunfish for biomarkers of EAC exposure to compounds in the near-shore zone of four target lakes, and (4) enhanced EAC analytical capabilities at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) through the purchase of new analytical equipment. Study lakes were chosen based on depth to water table, septic system density regardless of functionality, bluegill nesting habitat, and groundwater temperature surveys in the near-shore zone. Lake water or lake-sediment pore water (water stored between sediment particles,contained within the lake-bed sediment) samples were collected and analyzed for a broad suite of 179 PhACs, EACs, and other waste compounds. All surface water samples and over three quarters of pore water samples had at least one compound detected. Overall, 43 of 69 (62%) waste compounds and 5 of 110 (4%) pharmaceuticals were detected in all samples. Twelve known or suspected endocrine active compounds were detected in at least one lake. On average, the prevalence of detections normalized to the number of compounds tested was three to four times higher in near-shore lake water than in near-shore pore water. Actively spawning male bluegill sunfish were collected from reference and groundwater discharge sites in four lakes. Pathologies were more common in fish collected at near-shore sites when compared to fish collected across entire lakes in the 2008 statewide study. The greater abundance of indicators of adverse biological impact suggests that a lake-wide sampling of fish will underestimate the impact of contaminant exposure to fish during reproductively important life stages.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information from this project has been disseminated to scientific audiences via presentations at Minnesota Water Resources and Midwest Groundwater Conferences.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2014


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Evaluation of Dioxins in Minnesota Lakes
Subd. 05f     $264,000

William Arnold
U of MN
Dept of Civil Engineering, 500 Pillsbury Dr SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (612) 625-8582
Email:  arnol032@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 626-7750
Web: http://www.ce.umn.edu/directory/faculty/arnold.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$264,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to examine the concentration of dioxins in lake sediment and options to improve water quality in lakes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The antibacterial compound triclosan is present in many consumer products, including soaps, toothpastes, lotions, and deodorants. Wastewater treatment does not completely remove triclosan or its derivatives and so the chemicals are discharged into surface waters. Once present in surface waters, sunlight converts triclosan and its derivatives into dioxins, a class of chemicals that are known to be toxic, carcinogenic, and persistent and accumulative in sediment and fish. Researchers at the University of Minnesota's Department of Civil Engineering are using this appropriation to study sediment samples in order to determine the current and historic levels of dioxins in the water and how much is attributable to triclosan and its derivatives. Findings will be used to make recommendations on how water quality can be improved and protected in the future.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent in many consumer products such as liquid handsoaps, bar soaps, dishwashing liquid, deodorants, anti-gingivitis toothpaste, and acne creams. Because it is washed down the drain through the normal course of use, triclosan is commonly detected in wastewater effluent. During water and wastewater disinfection with chlorine, triclosan can be transformed to a series of chlorinated triclosan derivatives. When discharged into surface waters, triclosan and its derivatives react in sunlight to form a series of four polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins. Dioxins are persistent organic pollutants that are toxic, carcinogenic, and endocrine disrupting. Thus, dioxins pose a risk to the health of aquatic species and their predators (including humans).

To evaluate the historical and current exposure of surface waters to triclosan, chlorinated triclosan derivatives, and their derived dioxins, sediment cores were collected from wastewater-impacted Minnesota lakes. Following radiometric dating, triclosan and chlorinated triclosan derivatives were extracted from core sections and quantified. Dioxins were extracted from the same core sections and also quantified.

The concentrations and temporal trends of triclosan, chlorinated triclosan derivatives, and their dioxins in aquatic sediments were found to be a function of historical wastewater treatment operations and lake system scale. Cores collected from large-scale riverine systems with many wastewater sources recorded increasing concentrations of triclosan, chlorinated triclosan derivatives, and their derived dioxins since the patent of triclosan in 1964. The trends were directly attributed to increased triclosan use, local improvements in treatment, and changes in wastewater disinfection practices. Concentrations of triclosan, chlorinated triclosan derivatives, and their dioxins were higher in small-scale systems, reflecting a greater degree of wastewater impact. In a lake receiving no wastewater influent, no triclosan was detected. Low levels of the four triclosan-derived dioxins were found in northern wastewater-impacted Minnesota lakes prior to the introduction of triclosan as well as in the lake with no wastewater input. The background levels of these dioxins were attributed to a secondary, region-specific source. Nonetheless, it is clear that triclosan is the major source of these dioxins after 1960. The contribution of the triclosan-derived dioxins to the total dioxin pool in terms of mass was determined for each sediment core. In heavily impacted systems, the dioxin contribution from triclosan and chlorinated triclosan derivatives accounted for up to 60% of total dioxin mass in recent sediment. Thus, the discharge of triclosan and chlorinated triclosan derivatives may pose a threat to wastewater-impacted lakes.

The findings of this work suggest that additional treatment of wastewater to remove triclosan, additional regulation of triclosan use, or dissemination of information regarding the prevalence of triclosan in consumer products may be necessary. Full results are presented in the M.S. Thesis of Cale T. Anger submitted with this report.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
This project led to the production of the M.S. Thesis of Cale T. Anger, Quantification of Triclosan, Chlorinated Triclosan Derivatives, and their Dioxin Photoproducts in Lacustrine Sediment Cores. The thesis received the Distinguished Master's Thesis Award from the University of Minnesota, recognizing it as the best thesis at the U of MN for 2011-2012. A manuscript with the same title has been submitted the peer reviewed journal Enviornmental Science & Technology. The results of the work have been presented at the American Chemical Society National Meeting, the St. Croix River Research Rendevous, the Itasca Water Legacy Project lecture series, and the Mississippi River Forum. Two more presentations at the American Society of Limnology and Oceangraphy and the IWA Micropol and Ecohazard conferences are planned. We anticipate press coverage of the findings upon publication of the peer-reviewed article.

Project Publications:
Master's Thesis: Quantification of Triclosan, Chlorinated Triclosan Derivatives, and their Dioxin Photoproducts in Lacustrine Sediment Cores
Journal Article - Environmental Science and Technology: Quantification of Triclosan, Chlorinated Triclosan Derivatives, and their Dioxin Photoproducts in Lacustrine Sediment Cores

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012


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Assessment of Shallow Lake Management
Subd. 05g     $262,000

Mark Hanson
DNR
Wetland Wildlife Group, 102 23rd Street NE
Bemidji, MN 56601

Phone:  (218) 308-2283
Email:  mark.hanson@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (218) 755-2604
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/wildlife/shallowlakes/index.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$262,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to evaluate the major causes of deterioration of shallow lakes in Minnesota and evaluate results of current management efforts. This appropriation is available until June 30,2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Minnesota's shallow lakes provide numerous benefits including clean water, hydrologic storage to limit flooding, recreational opportunities, and fish and wildlife habitat. However, the water and habitat quality of Minnesota's shallow lakes have been deteriorating over the past century. Through this appropriation, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will coordinate with a number of partner organizations to evaluate the causes of deterioration along with the effectiveness of current management practices in five ecological regions of the state. Findings will be used to identify the most cost-effective approaches for maintaining and restoring shallow lakes and for developing region-specific guides for sustainable shallow lake management.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Minnesota's shallow lakes provide numerous direct human benefits such as clean water, hydrologic storage to limit flooding, recreational opportunities, and access to unique wild areas. They also contribute many valuable ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, habitat for native species, and unique recreational opportunities. Unfortunately, water and habitat quality of Minnesota's shallow lakes have deteriorated dramatically during the past century. Conversion from native upland covers, widespread wetland drainage and surface-water consolidation to facilitate agricultural and urban/residential development have been implicated as major causes for these changes. To facilitate better conservation of these areas, we studied approximately 140 shallow lakes in 5 ecological regions of Minnesota to:

  • Identify major factors leading to deterioration.
  • Evaluate results of specific lake restoration approaches, including cost-effectiveness of various combinations of lake management strategies.
  • Assess the impacts of increased surface water connectivity on fish invasions and resulting habitat quality.

Our efforts included: comprehensive sampling of shallow lakes to identify direct and indirect causes of deterioration, evaluation of approximately eight lakes currently undergoing rehabilitation, and economic analyses to help managers identify which restoration strategies are likely to produce the greatest improvements in water quality and other lake characteristics per unit cost. Our key findings were as follows:

  • High nutrient levels and dense populations of undesirable fishes favor water quality deterioration. These influences increase along a NE-SW gradient. Turbid lakes more often occur in prairie than in forested regions.
  • Fish removal via rotenone, water control structures, and drawdowns improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Deteriorated conditions often recur; this underscores need for long-term approaches that reduce nutrient loading.
  • Fish removal via rotenone and drawdown are effective methods for improving lakes in the short-term (5-10 years). Because improvements may not persist, watershed restoration to reduce nutrient loading is also necessary. More monitoring of rehabilitated lakes is necessary. Region-specific guidelines are not yet possible, but in-lake measures will be most beneficial in short-term, regardless of where lakes are located.
  • Limiting surface connectivity is critical to controlling distribution of undesirable fishes including invasive species.

These findings were used to develop improved modeling and produced a series of recommendations to guide future efforts to maintain and rehabilitate shallow lakes throughout Minnesota. This information is being disseminated through future presentations and publications and through the Minnesota DNR Data Deli website (http://deli.dnr.state.mn.us).

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
We anticipate preparation of 5-8 peer reviewed manuscripts to be developed from data gathering and analyses completed during the present study. We are also planning to develop a shallow lake workshop for lake managers and other conservation partners to be held in central Minnesota during July or August 2013. We expect to offer a day-long technical program that will center on results of the present LCCMR-funded research, allow discussion of lake rehabilitation strategies, and will offer opportunities for project managers and collaborators to present study findings directly to lake and landscape managers and other conservation partners in Minnesota. Presently, the Minnesota Chapter of the Wildlife Society has agreed to sponsor this workshop and to coordinate meeting and facilities requirements.

Results and synthesis from this work have been presented at annual meetings of the American Society of Limnology (Lake Biwa, Shiga, Japan, July 2012), the Ecological Society of America (Portland, Oregon, Aug 2012), and at various regional meetings of DNR staff and others. In addition, results have been distributed to DNR staff, other professionals, and the general public via annual project summaries from the Wildlife Research Unit, Minnesota DNR. We expect to develop 5-8 manuscripts for publication during the next 2-3 years.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2012


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Assessing Cumulative Impacts of Shoreline Development
Subd. 05h     $300,000

Bruce Vondracek
U of MN
1980 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-8748
Email:  bvondrac@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 625-5299
Web: http://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/personnel/faculty/vondracek/index.htm

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$300,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to evaluate near-shore, in-water habitat impacts from shoreline development activities to assist in the design and implementation of management practices protecting critical shorelands and aquatic habitat. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Near-shore areas of lakes are critical to the health of lake ecosystems because they contain a majority of the vegetation and are generally the spawning areas for fish. Increases in the rate and extent of shoreline development - including docks, boatlifts, and other structures - and disturbance from recreational activity may be having cumulative detrimental impacts on these ecosystems. However, there is a lack of scientific knowledge about these impacts and that has been hindering lake managers in their ability to guide landowners toward better practices. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Geological Survey are using this appropriation to study the cumulative impacts of shoreline development on aquatic habitat, water quality, and fish populations in order to develop a tool that can be used to help guide sustainable near-shore development. Approximately 100 lakes in Aitkin, Becker, Cass, Crow Wing, Douglas, Hubbard, Morrison, Otter Tail and Todd counties will be used in the study.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The littoral zone contains all of the vegetation within a lake and is critical to the physical and biological integrity of lakes. Aquatic macrophytes and coarse woody structure provide refuge, foraging area, and spawning substrate for many fish species. The goal of this study was to evaluate shoreline development by measuring a number of variables that reflect human activity, including terrestrial vegetation, physical alterations, and in-lake structures. Previous studies have found reductions in abundance of aquatic vegetation and coarse woody structure; however, few studies have quantified the specific influence of docks on aquatic habitat structure. Coarse woody structure and three measures of macrophyte abundance increased with distance to the nearest dock structure. Presence of coarse woody structure and emergent species were significantly and negatively related to lake-wide dock density. We intensively investigated effects of lakeshore development on nearshore habitat across 11 northern Minnesota lakes using the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Score Your Shore (SYS) survey to assess development intensity. Developed sites (a residence and dock present) had lower macrophyte species richness, emergent, and floating-leaf macrophytes and coarse woody structure than undeveloped sites (no residence, no dock). SYS score was a significant factor in models of most macrophyte community variables, supporting the hypothesis that site-scale development intensity is related to littoral vegetation. A fish Index of Biological Integrity decreased as the density of docks increased for the 11 intensively studied lakes. Development density across 29 lakes and 114 lakes were also examined, but less intensively. Effects of development in these less intensively studied lakes were less apparent for most lake macrophyte and fish community variables than for the intensively studied lakes. These findings suggest that riparian management on residential lots and reduced removal of aquatic macrophytes and coarse woody structure could improve fish habitat at both local and lake-wide scales of development.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The project was conducted in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and several meetings to disseminate our findings took place with Jacquelyn Bacigalupi, the Lake IBI Coordinator with MNDNR and colleagues. Additionally multiple conference presentations were given and two Master's theses resulted from the work on this project.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012


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Trout Stream Assessments
Subd. 05i     $300,000

Leonard Ferrington
U of MN
219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-3265
Email:  ferri016@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 625-5299
Web: http://www.entomology.umn.edu/midge/People/Ferrington/Ferrington.htm

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$300,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to assess cold water aquatic insect abundance related to warming water temperatures as predictors of trout growth in southeastern Minnesota and assess options to minimize stream temperature changes. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Trout require streams with excellent water quality that are fed by groundwaters that keep streams cold in summer but ice-free in winter. Minnesota has more than 680 designated trout streams that represent a valuable natural resource having high economic, sport, and habitat importance. However, over the long term this resource is under threat from climate change, which will likely increase stream temperatures and could detrimentally impact trout behavior, reproduction success, and food sources, particularly the cold-adapted aquatic insects that are essential in winter diets of trout. This appropriation is enabling University of Minnesota's Department of Entomology to study the health of trout streams in southeastern Minnesota and how changes in stream temperatures could impact the diets and growth of trout populations.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Trout streams in southeastern Minnesota differ markedly in brown trout abundance and growth during winter. Our project objectives were to better understand stream thermal regimes, fish feeding, and fish growth patterns between November and March, so habitat management strategies can be designed to maximize trout production. Prior to this study there was very little detailed knowledge of the winter diets of trout, and virtually no knowledge of the kinds and quantitative abundances of aquatic insects growing during winter. To achieve project objectives, we assessed trout lengths and mass two or three times per winter in 36 streams (12 streams/year for three years) and determined the types of aquatic invertebrates eaten by the trout, the abundances of these dietary organisms in the streams, and the corresponding patterns of trout growth. Our findings show trout are most abundant in streams where groundwater (springs and seeps) inputs keep water temperatures significantly warmer and ice-free in winter. These thermal conditions promote high abundance or emergence of aquatic insects specifically adapted for emergence and reproduction in winter, even when air temperatures are substantially below freezing. Some species that we discovered have never been described and are new to science. We developed predictive models relating air temperatures to water temperatures in areas buffered by groundwater. The models also demonstrate linkages between groundwater input and (1) the corresponding aquatic insect composition and their abundances, (2) the trout diets during winter and (3) trout growth patterns as a function of types of aquatic insects eaten. Based on our predictive models we are able to recommend conditions under which in-stream habitat management efforts can be better spatially focused to maximize trout growth and abundance. This information is being communicated to Trout Unlimited and the MN Department of Natural Resources to help inform their programs to manage trout streams.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Our results have been presented at local, state, regional, national and international scientific meetings and at local and state conservation planning sessions. Staff of the MN DNR assisted with much of our field work and have participated in interpreting and writing summaries and drafts of manuscripts for peer review. Consequently, they are very familiar with our findings. In addition, we are communicating our results to regional Trout Unlimited members, and hope to be able to discuss how our findings can help guide the in-stream habitat improvement programs. Two theses have been completed, and three additional graduate students will use portions of our findings as sections for their Ph.D. dissertations. One undergraduate worked on a class activity in Spanish to help serve as an "in-reach" effort to inform undergraduates in areas such as humanities and arts of our research. One newspaper article was written, and we have put videos of our field work on-line for public viewing via our Facebook sites.

Project Publication:
Winter feeding, growth and condition of brown trout Salmo trutta in a groundwater dominated stream

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


Subd. 06  Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species


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Biological Control of European Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard
Subd. 06a     $300,000

Laura Van Riper
DNR
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5090
Email:  laura.vanriper@state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-1811
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/index.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$300,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources in cooperation with the commissioner of agriculture to continue the development and implementation of biological control for European buckthorn and garlic mustard.This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
European buckthorn and garlic mustard are non-native, invasive plant species that have rapidly spread throughout Minnesota posing serious threats to native plant communities and degrading wildlife habitat in forests and riparian areas. The two plants are considered to be the species of highest priority for development of long-term management solutions, such as biological control, which involves using natural enemies of a non-native species from its native region to control or reduce the impact of the species in the areas where they are invasive. Introducing one non-native species to control another, though, is something that must be done with care so that the introduction doesn't have unintended consequences. This appropriation is enabling the Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture to continue to research and evaluate biological control options for European buckthorn and garlic mustard.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
European/common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) are non-native invasive plants that severely threaten native plant communities and degrade wildlife habitat. They are widely distributed in the state and current control options, such as mechanical and chemical control, are labor and cost-intensive. They are of the highest priority for development of long-term management solutions, such as biological control. The purpose of this research was to determine 1) if there are suitable insects that can be used to reduce impacts caused by buckthorn and 2) implement introduction of insects to control garlic mustard and assess their establishment and success.

Over 30 specialized insects were identified as potential common buckthorn biocontrol. Most of these species were discarded because they lacked host-specificity. Two psyllids were host-specific, but did not cause significant damage to buckthorn and the insects were infected with the plant disease 'Candidatus Phytoplasma rhamni' (buckthorn witches' broom). A seed-feeding midge proved too difficult to work with in a research setting. After 11 years of searching for a biological control insect that is host-specific and damaging to buckthorn, we conclude that there are not promising agents at this time.

Four Ceutorhynchus weevil species are being studied as biological control agents for garlic mustard. Petitions for release were submitted to the USDA-APHIS Technical Advisory Group starting in 2008, but they have requested additional host-specificity testing over time. No biological control insects have been approved for release as of 2014. Studies conducted in the University of Minnesota Containment Facility allowed the development of efficient and consistently reliable methods to rear C. scrobicollis from garlic mustard plants. Long-term monitoring at twelve sites in Minnesota shows that garlic mustard populations can fluctuate widely from year to year. There is little garlic mustard herbivory in Minnesota. Garlic mustard cover is negatively correlated with cover of other species.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Buckthorn biological control research has been disseminated in one peer reviewed journal publication, a summary report by CABI, four poster presentations, and a webpage on the DNR website: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialplants/woody/buckthorn/biocontrol.html.

Garlic mustard biological control research has been disseminated in one peer reviewed journal publication, a U.S. Forest service report (http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/technology/pdfs/GarlicMustardBiocontrol_FHTET-2012-05.pdf), project reports, and seven conference presentations.

Project Publications:

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2013


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Ecological and Hydrological Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer
Subd. 06b     $636,000

Anthony D'Amato
U of MN
1530 Cleveland Avenue N
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-3733
Email:  damato@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 625-5212
Web: http://silviculture.forestry.umn.edu/index.htm

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$636,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to assess the potential impacts of emerald ash borer on Minnesota's black ash forests and quantify potential impacts on native forest vegetation, invasive species spread, and hydrology. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2015, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect that has been decimating ash trees throughout the Great Lake states and is currently advancing into Minnesota, where it threatens ash forests that occur across much of the state. Of particular concern is the impact Emerald Ash Borer will have on the ecology and functioning of black ash swamps, which cover over one million acres in Minnesota and represent the state's most common ash forest type. Scientists at the University of Minnesota's Department of Forest Resources are using this appropriation to conduct a five year study that will assess the likelihood of this invasive insect extending into the black ash forests in the northern part of Minnesota and its potential impact on these marshy forest areas. Findings will inform management recommendations for mitigating the potential impacts of Emerald Ash Borer.

Project due to be completed:  6/30/2015
Work Program


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Healthy Forests to Resist Invasion
Subd. 06c     $359,000

Peter Reich
U of MN
1530 Cleveland Ave N
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-4270
Email:  preich@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 625-5212
Web: http://forestecology.cfans.umn.edu/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$359,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to assess the role of forest health management in resisting infestation of invasive species. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Invasive plants cause considerable ecological and economic damage in Minnesota and their control is often difficult to achieve in a long-term cost-effective manner. Although not immune from invasion, healthy forests may be somewhat resistant to invasion; therefore management aimed at maintaining, restoring, or enhancing key forest characteristics might be a useful strategy for slowing forest invasion. Scientists from the University of Minnesota's Department of Forest Resources will use this appropriation to study 80 different forest sites in order to determine the links between forest attributes and plant invasion. Findings will be used to make recommendations for how to best manage forests to resist invasive species.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The primary project goal was to identify forest characteristics effective as deterrents to invasive plants. Healthy forests are likely more resistant to invaders, so management to enhance these key characteristics might slow the spread of invaders.

Invasive plants sometimes form dense thickets that affect recreation and wildlife and exclude native plant species. To determine how various site characteristics affected the abundance of common buckthorn and other invaders, we surveyed plant diversity in 67 sites in central and southern Minnesota. At each site, we measured environmental characteristics to simultaneously account for other factors that might influence invasibility. Buckthorn was most abundant in sites with sparse leaf litter, where seed availability was high, and where native plant diversity was low. Both a greenhouse experiment and a second field study indicated that introduced earthworms also benefit germinating invasive plants by eliminating leaf litter.

We propose the idea of "preventive environmental care" that, like preventative medicine, manages forests to maintain "wellness". Although not a panacea for reducing invasion, it is worth considering given the challenges of controlling established invasive species. We suggest managers enhance the competitive challenge to invaders by increasing the diversity of native species by seeding natives and/or reducing the density of white-tailed deer, a species that severely impacts native forest plants. Furthermore, timber harvests should be limited to the winter season and trail maintenance should be done in a way that limits disturbance. This will help maintain intact native understory plants and litter layers, important deterrents to invasive plant establishment. However, none of these approaches are likely to be successful without a strong effort to control landscape level seed availability. Collaborative management with neighboring landowners is crucial to any effort that hopes to reduce invasibility.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
To summarize results from the project and provide guidelines for management, we prepared a pamphlet that included all aspects of the research, as it pertains to the invasion of buckthorn. The pamphlet also provides suggestions for pre-invasion management to reduce invasibility, the main focus of the "Healthy Forests" research project. We distributed the pamphlet to all participants at a symposium held on August 14, 2013. The pamphlet is available as a pdf from the project website, http://forestecology.cfans.umn.edu/Research/Buckthorn/index.htm.

We presented talks at the Upper Midwest Invasive Species conference (a regional meeting focused on invasive species) and the Ecological Society of America conference (an international conference focusing on all aspects of ecology) in 2012 and 2013. The talks focused on measuring propagule pressure, the greenhouse study, the relationship between earthworm and buckthorn buckthorn, and the effects of native species diversity on buckthorn abundance.

On August 14, we hosted a symposium on the St. Paul campus that brought together managers, researchers, and private landowners to share the latest information on invasive plants in Minnesota forests. In addition to talks based on this LCCMR project, other speakers presented information about buckthorn invasion on the prairie-forest border in west central Minnesota, garlic mustard (another common plant invader in Minnesota's forests) as a driver of species invasion, management of buckthorn from a forester's perspective, and management efforts to control other common invasive plants. The symposium was attended by 100 people. The project website has links to recordings of all the symposium talks, as well as links to the MS Access database, species lists from all survey sites, and a photo gallery.

We have published one paper ("Community phylogenetic diversity and abiotic site characteristics influence abundance of the invasive plant Rhamnus cathartica L.") in the Journal of Plant Ecology. A second paper based on results from our greenhouse experiment (Native plant diversity and introduced earthworms have contrasting effects on the success of invasive plants") has been submitted to the peer-reviewed journal Biological Invasions. More papers are in preparation including one focusing on propagule pressure and another that documents the relationship between earthworms and buckthorn abundance.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Bioacoustic Traps for Management of Round Goby
Subd. 06d     $175,000

Allen Mensinger
U of MN - Duluth
1035 Kirby Dr
Duluth, MN 55812

Phone:  (218) 726-7259
Email:  amensing@d.umn.edu
Fax:  (218) 726-8142
Web: http://www.d.umn.edu/~amensing/toadfish.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$175,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to evaluate bioacoustic technology specific to invasive round goby in Lake Superior as a method for early detection and population reduction. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The round goby is an invasive fish that is rapidly spreading throughout the Great Lakes. One reason for its rapid expansion is that round goby outcompetes native fish through its ability to spawn throughout the spring and summer in contrast to native fish, which only spawn once a year. Interrupting this reproductive cycle in some way could be used to help halt further expansion of round goby and control existing populations. Scientists from the University of Minnesota - Duluth are using this appropriation to develop and test a method for trapping these fish using sounds that mimic those that male gobies use to attract females to the nest.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The bioacoustics of the round goby population in the Duluth-Superior Harbor were investigated over the course of three summers. The goal of the project was to assess the behavior and the sound production of this invasive species to develop a fish trap to target this invasive species. Fish were found to move offshore during the winter and thus subsequent concentrations were thought to have great potential for collection. However, fish were found to be inactive the majority of the winter and did not produce sound. Sound production coincided with the resumption of swimming activity and feeding in late spring with vocalization first recorded when water temperature exceeded 8 degrees C, which correlated with the initiation of spawning. Two choice experimental trials succeeded in attracting the fish to sound sources using both pure tones and round goby vocalizations, indicating that fish can find the origin of sound. Several different traps were produced and bioacoustical field trials were conducted. We were able to capture, for the first time, round gobies in unbaited traps using sound as the only stimulus and observed many round gobies approach sound sources but fail to enter the traps. As they readily enter the same traps when baited, it was concluded that although sound is an effective attractant, it is not the only sensory modality that round goby use to approach calling males. Future experiments that would combine sound with a large sexually mature fish and/or pheromones could significantly increase the number of fish that enter the trap and could prove to be an effective strategy.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Project manager collaborated with the Great Lakes aquarium to produce a audio video exhibit on invasive fish. Two master's students, Jared Leino (degree pending) and Elise Cordo (degree in progress), received funding from the project and five undergraduate students received funding for summer research. Additionally several manuscripts are in preparation and will be submitted for publication.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


Subd. 07  Renewable Energy


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Algae for Fuels Pilot Project
Subd. 07a     $900,000

Roger Ruan
U of MN
1390 Eckles Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-1710
Email:  ruanx001@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 624-3005
Web: http://biorefining.cfans.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$900,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to demonstrate an innovative microalgae production system utilizing and treating sanitary wastewater to produce biofuels from algae. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Biomass-based energy holds important potential as a viable renewable alternative to non-renewable fossil-based energy supplies; however significant challenges to biomass energy technologies remain to be overcome before such a role can be achieved at a large scale. Researchers at the University of Minnesota's Center for Biorefining, in partnership with the Metropolitan Council, are using this appropriation to develop, build, and test a pilot scale fuel production system that uses the nutrients in sewage wastewater to grow algae that can then be harvested to produce biodiesel. Additional benefits resulting from the system may include improved water quality, minimized freshwater and land use, reduced carbon emissions, and capture and recycling of plant nutrients. With additional research and development of this system it could potentially be implemented at other wastewater treatment facilities and adapted to other waste streams throughout Minnesota and beyond.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Current biomass energy technologies have encountered economic, ecological, and policy concerns, including feed stock procurement, energy balance, carbon footprint, competition for food and fuel, water use, and others. This project was built on our existing collaborative R&D partnership to demonstrate an innovative photosynthetic algae production system which simultaneously produces high lipid oil for bio-fuel production, captures and recycles nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater, and sequesters carbon dioxide. The goal of the project was to develop, build, and test a pilot scale algae production system that will treat concentrated wastewater and animal facility wastewater and generate algal biomass for production of biofuels and bioproducts. More than 10 high performance algae strains have been developed for specific applications such as oil accumulation, nutrient removal, growth under low temperature and low light conditions, and accumulation of high value lipids. Growth conditions were optimized for specific applications. A pilot cultivation facility with a cultivation volume of 20,000 liters was developed and demonstrated. The microwave assisted pyrolysis was found to be an excellent conversion alternative to conventional oil extraction based biodiesel process, and the hydrothermal process is a cost effective pretreatment technology to improve dewatering of algal biomass. The life cycle analysis results indicate that our technologies, which integrate wastewater into algal cultivation, can improve the environmental performance of algal biofuels. The life cycle analysis study also suggests that utilization of multiple major waste streams in wastewater plants should be developed to maximize the economic and environmental benefits of algae based technologies. The outcomes of the project point to a great potential of algae technologies for simultaneous removal of nitrogen, phosphorus, chemical oxygen demand (COD), and other nutrients in municipal and animal wastewaters; sequestration of carbons in organic matters and flue gas; and at the same time accumulation of biomass for production of high vale biofuels and bioproducts.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information about the project results were disseminated through more than 10 presentations at national and international conferences, five demonstrations to stakeholders, eleven peer-reviewed journal publications, and through a website: http://biorefining.cfans.umn.edu.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2014


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Sustainable Biofuels
Subd. 07b     $221,000

David Tilman
Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
100 Ecology, 1987 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-5740
Email:  tilman@umn.edu
Fax:  (612) 624-6777
Web: http://www.cedarcreek.umn.edu

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$221,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to determine how fertilization and irrigation impact yields of grass monoculture and high diversity prairie biofuel crops, their storage of soil carbon, and susceptibility to invasion by exotic species. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Perennial grasslands have the potential to provide Minnesota with locally grown energy sources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality, and provide other important benefits. However, much remains unknown about how these crops will be impacted by factors such as climate change and invasive species. Through this appropriation, researchers at the University of Minnesota's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve will study how irrigation, fertilization, and climate warming impact perennial grassland biofuel crops in terms of yield, carbon sequestration, plant biodiversity, water quality, and susceptibility to invasive species. Findings will be used to develop methods for optimizing biofuel production, carbon storage, and habitat restoration.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Minnesota's perennial grasslands produce considerable biomass that could become a valuable resource for producing renewable energy. How might Minnesota's capacity to produce biomass for biofuels be impacted by climate change and anticipated mitigation practices? We explored the impacts of warming, fertilization, and irrigation on biomass production at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.

Our major overall finding is that high diversity mixtures of prairie perennials provided the best combination of biomass production, invasion resistance, carbon storage in soil, and response to climate warming of all the biomass crops we tested.

Specific findings from the Climate Experiment include:

  1. Compared to low diversity mixtures of prairie plant species, high diversity mixtures produced much more biomass when experiencing normal weather, were more resilient to the stress of warming, and had their biomass production increase the most from warming.
  2. High diversity mixes enhanced ecosystem services more than low diversity mixes by sequestering more carbon in soils and being less prone to invasion by non-native species.
  3. Warming inhibited seed establishment. This could reduce invasions by non-native species, but might threaten establishment of native prairie restorations.

The Fertilization & Irrigation Experiment found:

  1. Fertilization had similar impacts across all species mixtures.
  2. Moderate fertilization and irrigation increased productivity, with the largest effects in the Panicum, Panicum+Grasses, and High Diversity plots.

Overall findings on plant invasion showed:

  1. Invasion is inhibited by higher diversity species mixtures.
  2. A potential biofuel crop, Miscanthus (as a sterile hybrid), was ineffective at producing biomass in central Minnesota, at least on sandy, drier soils. It had detectable, but moderate invasion into native prairies.

This research has been documented in one publication. Two manuscripts have been submitted and are either in review or under revision. Another manuscript is in preparation. We anticipate additional publications will follow. In 2012, the education programming Cedar Creek reached 6,619 users, including K-12 students, teachers, and the general public.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The data from these studies will be included in Cedar Creek's database and made publicly available on the Cedar Creek website. Researchers around the world access and use the data on this site for diverse ecological analyses in many research areas including, among others, biodiversity, invasion, and climate change studies.

The results of these studies are integrated into the educational programming and outreach at Cedar Creek. In 2012, 1,777 K-12 students participated in on-site programs. 1,062 K-12 students participated in off-site programs. Furthermore, 120 K-12 teachers participated in professional development opportunities at Cedar Creek and in their schools. At the university level, 845 students and faculty have made use of Cedar Creek programs, courses, meetings, and workshops both on and off-site. There have been 1,070 visitors to the experimental sites where this study took place.

One journal article that documents findings from this study has been published. See:
Isbell, F., 2013, Nutrient enrichment, biodiversity loss, and consequent declines in ecosystem productivity, PNAS, 110: 29.

A second publication by Heather Whittington is under revision in Oecologia and a third has been submitted to Functional Biology. Jane Cowles has a fourth article in preparation. We anticipate additional publications will result from this work.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Linking Habitat Restoration to Bioenergy and Local Economies
Subd. 07c     $600,000

Barb Spears
DNR
1200 Warner Rd
St. Paul, MN 55106

Phone:  (651) 259-5849
Email:  barb.spears@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 772-7977
Web: http://mndnr.gov/eco/habitat_biomass.html

Appropriation Language
$600,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to restore high quality native habitats and expand market opportunities for utilizing postharvest restoration as a bioenergy source. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
More than 7,000 acres of public and private lands needing restoration have been identified within 75 miles of St. Paul. Given the various emerging markets for woody biomass, a unique opportunity has been identified. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will use this appropriation to continue development of an innovative approach to improving lands by harvesting ecologically inappropriate woody vegetation and working with local markets to turn the resulting biomass into marketable products such as mulch, animal bedding, firewood, and wood pellets for energy generation. Funds raised from the sale of these products could then be used to expand this type of model into other areas of Minnesota. In addition to helping stimulate local economies, benefits of this approach also include enhanced biodiversity and effective utilization of woody material traditionally burned or landfilled.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This innovative project helped restore 385 acres of critical habitat and high quality native plant communities by removing ecologically inappropriate woody vegetation (exotic and/or native species) while stimulating local economies through jobs and strategic utilization of the biomass material for bioenergy and other products. This project facilitated habitat restoration efforts that might not have otherwise occurred while making the woody material, traditionally burned or landfilled, available to established and emerging woody biomass markets.

Of the $600,000 appropriation, $490,666 was spent on eleven projects. Seven non-DNR public and private landowners received a total of $324,530 granted through a competitive process. Four DNR projects received a total of $166,136. A variety of types of projects (based on restoration goals, species/type of woody biomass material, density, distance, land ownership, utilization opportunity, etc.) were completed.

Projects were selected based on critical requirements including ecological value and recovery potential of the project site, current ecologically-based management plan, project-specific harvest plan, post-harvest restoration plan, and demonstrated capacity and long-term commitment to effectively manage the site to achieve and maintain restoration goals.

Viable markets were identified prior to project implementation. Utilization of the woody biomass resulted in 291 semi-truck loads or 5,280 tons for bioenergy, 242 semi-truck loads of commercial mulch, 450 cords of pine sawlogs, 6 log loads of cottonwood for pallets, and pine cabin logs. Biomass material was either sold separately from the harvest with revenue collected, or in conjunction with the harvest where contractors valued the material (deducted from the harvest bid) and were responsible for final utilization. Revenues collected ($11,100) and values attributed ($4,000) were reinvested for further purposes of the project.

This project demonstrated that there are opportunities to sell or properly utilize ecologically inappropriate woody vegetation removed through habitat restoration activities. The long-term vision for this effort is to achieve an ecologically sound and systematic approach that addresses: current and future issues of habitat restoration and enhancement; renewable energy and climate change; invasive species, and natural resources conservation planning and implementation - all of which are effected, to some degree, by the impacts and opportunities of woody biomass.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The webpage "Linking Habitat Restoration to Bioenergy and Local Economies" located at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/habitat_biomass.htmlprovides an overview of the entire project, the project fact sheet, the LCCMR-approved Work Program, and the final report.

Project data were compiled and regularly updated for the DNR's Grant Outcomes webpage to provide project descriptions, funding information, indicators, targets and outcomes information. The website is located at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/outcomes/index.html.

Project information was shared at public workshops, conferences and meetings through formal presentations, panel discussions, informal conversations and handouts, such as the project fact sheet and other printed materials, targeted for the audience. Project information was also shared with DNR staff through staff meetings, project coordination, formal presentations, and informal discussions.

Telephone conversations and meetings were convened with land managers/owners, harvest contractors, and biomass market industry representatives to discuss the project, garner insights for improvements to implementing this project, identify challenges and opportunities to move this effort forward and to facilitate connections between landowners, contractors, and biomass end-users.

The key messages were:

  1. For land managers/owners conducting habitat restoration projects: explore and implement the option to utilize the biomass material removed versus piling and burning or landfilling;
  2. For contractors: provide the combined service of harvest and utilization of the material; and
  3. For end-users: acknowledge habitat restoration projects as a potential significant source of material and to seek this opportunity.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Demonstrating Sustainable Energy Practices at Residential Environmental Learning Centers (RELCs)
Subd. 07d     $1,500,000

MN COALITION OF RELCs
Web: http://www.earthsensealliance.org/

07d-1 ($350,000)
Joe Deden
Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center
28097 Goodview Dr
Lanesboro, MN 55949
Phone:  (507) 467-2437
Email:  director@eagle-bluff.org
Fax:  (507) 467-3583
Web: http://www.eagle-bluff.org/

07d-2 ($206,000)
Bryan Wood
Audubon Center of the North Woods
P.O. Box 530
Sandstone, MN 55072
Phone:  (320) 245-2648
Email:  bwood@audubon-center.org
Fax:  (320) 245-5272
Web: http://www.audubon-center.org/

07d-3 ($212,000)
Dale Yerger
Deep Portage Learning Center
2197 Nature Center Drive NW
Hackensack, MN 564529
Phone:  (218) 682-2325
Email:  portage@uslink.net
Fax:  (218) 682-3121
Web: http://www.deep-portage.org/

07d-4 ($258,000)
Karl Brown
Laurentian Environmental Learning Center
8950 Peppard Road
Britt, MN 55710
Phone:  (651) 621-6041
Email:  karl.brown@moundsviewschools.org
Fax:  (651) 621-7405
Web: http://www2.moundsviewschools.org/laurentian/

07d-5 ($240,000)
Todd Roggenkamp
Long Lake Conservation Center
28952 438th Lane
Palisade, MN 56469
Phone:  (218) 768-4653
Email:  todd@llcc.org
Fax:  (218) 768-2309
Web: http://www.llcc.org/

07d-6 ($234,000)
Kimberly Skyelander
Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center
6282 Cranberry Road
Finland, MN 55603
Phone:  (218) 353-7414
Email:  director@eagle-bluff.org
Fax:  (218) 353-7762
Web: http://www.wolf-ridge.org/

Appropriation Language
$1,500,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for agreements as follows: $206,000 with Audubon Center of the North Woods; $212,000 with Deep Portage Learning Center; $350,000 with Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center; $258,000 with Laurentian Environmental Learning Center; $240,000 with Long Lake Conservation Center; and $234,000 with Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center to implement renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation practices at the facilities. Efforts will include dissemination of related energy education.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Six environmental learning centers located around the state - Audubon Center of the North Woods, Deep Portage Learning Center, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, Laurentian Environmental Learning Center, Long Lake Conservation Center and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center - are using this appropriation to expand their use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation technologies at their facilities. Once implemented these technologies will be employed as demonstrations to be used in their educational curriculum for close to 85,000 visitors each year. These improvements may also be used as part of the New ERA (Energy Resource Advisor) program being developed by Winona State University that will offer adults a continuing education course intended to foster understanding and leadership of environmental sustainability in our communities, homes, and workplaces.

07d1: EAGLE BLUFF ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER AND OVERALL PROJECT COORDINATION

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Minnesota's six accredited Residential Environmental Learning Center's undertook a collaborative project, "Today's Leaders for a Sustainable Tomorrow," with the intent of acting as a public resource for information regarding energy use and energy technologies. This was accomplished by demonstrating geographically appropriate technologies for reducing energy use and providing public access to energy information through formal education programs and a web presence. In-depth information on each center's energy reduction demonstrations are found in their individual reports. A bulleted summary of each demonstration is as follows:

  • Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center - Lanesboro, MN: Installed deep energy reduction retrofit, solar thermal, and a solar hot water heater.
  • Audubon Center of the North Woods - Sandstone, MN: Installed geothermal heat pump, solar arrays, solar panels, and a wind generator.
  • Deep Portage Learning Center - Walker, MN: Installed wood gasification system and lighting upgrades (CFLs to LEDs and T12s to T8s).
  • Laurentian Environmental Learning Center - Britt, MN: Installed building envelope improvements, energy conservation technologies, and a solar hot water heater.
  • Long Lake Conservation Center - Palisades, MN: Installed building envelope improvements, a solar hot water heater, and lighting upgrades (trail lighting and T12s to T8s).
  • Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center - Finland, MN: Installed biofuel heating system, solar arrays, wind generation, and lighting upgrades (trail lighting and T 12s to T8s).

Eagle Bluff implemented a deep energy reduction retrofit on its most inefficient building, the staff residence. The building was super insulated using the Cold Climate Housings Research Center's REMOTE (Residence Exterior Membrane Outside-insulate Technique). Solar thermal heat was added for domestic hot water and building heating. A 5.6 Kw solar photovoltaic system provides green power for the heating system. As a result of the retrofit, the building became the 9th house in North America to receive ACI's 1000 Home Challenge for reducing energy consumption by over 78% A pdf describing the project is available from Eagle Bluff.

All centers collaborated in developing over 20 new units of educational curriculum based on the following seven areas: biomass, conservation, efficiency, energy basics, food and energy, solar power and wind power. An activity toolbox was designed for use at the RELC's and in the formal classroom. They range from formal lessons to informal tours to an energy choice challenge and are currently in practice at the RELC's collectively reaching nearly 60,000 visitors/students annually. In order to determine the efficacy of the educational materials and program, an external assessment was done which evaluated the knowledge and behaviors of visitors to the RELC who participated in the activities. The results showed that 88.5% of children and 50.6% of adults had an increase in knowledge and 70.2% of children and 52.6% of adults increased their energy conserving behaviors while visiting an RELC.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Homeowners, commercial businesses, educators and the general public can access the educational materials, assessment results, demonstration information, and current energy use/production on the Today's Leaders for a Sustainable Tomorrow website at: www.tlfast.org.

In addition, this project has allowed the centers the opportunity to collaborate with Winona State University to offer an Energy Resource Advisor course which is part of Continuing Education program and a core course in WSU's Sustainability major.

Using the TLFAST demonstrations and curriculum as the framework, the centers are also now positioned to collaborate on an innovative program funded by the National Science Foundation which focuses on providing informal STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) experiences for K-12 students.

In the upcoming year and upon the total completion of the project, the centers' will be participating in tours, conferences, or workshops to share the success of the project and publicize the resources available to the public as a result of the project.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012

07d2: AUDUBON CENTER OF THE NORTH WOODS

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
As part of the coalition of Minnesota's residential environmental learning centers Today's Leaders for a Sustainable Tomorrow (TLFAST), the Audubon Center of the North Woods has made reducing our carbon footprint, through energy conservation, efficiency and renewable technologies, a top priority. We aim to serve as a sustainable energy demonstration site by modeling responsible energy usage and through energy offering energy curriculum for the nearly 10,000 participants that visit us every year. Through funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF), we have been able to make strides in both of these directions. With our ENRTF grant, we hired an architecture and engineering firm to design the envelope improvements and solar hot water systems that would benefit several of our campus buildings. We contracted with local builders and installers to:

  1. Improve the envelopes of our two largest buildings, the Dining Hall and Crosby Dormitory, through blown cellulose insulation, foam sealing air penetrations and weather stripping exterior doors.
  2. Insulate the walls and roof as well as re-side and re-shingle our 100+ year old Wildlife Barn.
  3. Insulate Nationally Historic Registered Schwyzer Lodge through blown cellulose insulation in the crawl spaces and attic, as well as vapor-line and foam-seal the open air basement.
  4. Install a solar hot water system at our Dining Hall for hot water use in our kitchen and dining hall restrooms.
  5. Install a solar hot water system at Crosby Dormitory for hot water use of showers and sinks in the dormitory rooms.

Through these energy improvements we anticipate savings 259,570 lbs. of carbon annually from reduction in propane and electricity usage. As part of TLFAST, we have helped to create 22 energy lessons to engage and inform students about energy issues and topics to be taught at the Audubon Center and outreach programs.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information about this project is disseminated through the TLFAST collective website at http://earthsensealliance.org/e_energy.php. We have written about this project in our past two Audubon Center of the North Woods newsletters, and have been leading energy tours for local groups for the past several months, highlighting the outcomes of the ENRTF grant. In the spring of 2011, we contacted our 80+ participating K-12 schools about the opportunity to pilot test the energy curriculum developed and had several schools participate. Information about the completed energy lessons has been sent to all participating schools as options for their on-site or outreach programs.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012

07d3: DEEP PORTAGE LEARNING CENTER

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS Cass County, MN has installed a small wind turbine and solar hot water system and has made electrical and envelope improvements to the environmental education facility known as Deep Portage Learning Center. A $212,000 grant from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund has made this possible. All of these systems have been installed, and we now have a year's worth of energy savings data. The 10 Kw small wind turbine has produced 4,200 Kw hours of electricity and has eliminated the emission of 10,080m lbs. of carbon dioxide. The solar hot water system has produced thousands of gallons of domestic hot water and displaced 1,400 gallons of fossil fuel propane. New LED (light-emitting diodes) lights, E Solutions refrigeration equipment and new Energy Star windows round out the project. These technologies are for demonstration and education. A new sustainable energy curriculum has been developed and piloted with several Minnesota schools. Five-hundred-plus people have now gone on a renewable energy tour at the center. This project shows our residents how to reduce our carbon footprint, save money. and support local jobs and industry. The electrical use at the Deep Portage Learning Center is now an astonishing 2.2 Kw hours per square foot annually. The Carbon footprint has been cut in half, and the total energy savings is $15,000-20,000 per year. This is a model that can be repeated at public schools and government buildings around the State.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information about this project will be disseminated in our center's newsletters, website and blogs, emails, and annual reports. It will also be discussed in all future New ERA training seminars held on-site at each center.

The Energy Resource Advisor (ERA) certificate, developed by Winona State University, is a new curriculum designed to accelerate public understanding of energy efficiency, clean energy, carbon emissions, resource conservation, green technologies, and green jobs. This curriculum is the first of its kind in Minnesota. It is a non-credit, continuing education course for adults 18 years of age and older, using online instructional technology combined with applied, field experience at one of the six RELCs. Participants in this class will learn about: a) the basic components of an energy audit, b) small-scale renewable energy including site suitability, system sizing, and financial incentives that are available, c) alternative building and transportation options, d) ways to "green up" the home or business, and e) the field of emerging "green" jobs. After completing this course, the successful participant may serve as an energy resource advisor and "green" consultant in the community and workplace.

Deep Portage has had over 200 participants attend renewable energy tours and has taught classes to elementary students in renewable energy. We have posted data on our Facebook page, and our website has a renewable energy toolbar with data on the accomplishments of the initiative. The TLFAST and LCCMR websites also feature information.

The collective website is up and running, www.tlfast.org/dplc.html. The six centers have collaboratively developed 22 units of curriculum for use by each center. These curricula integrate the use of the demonstrated sustainable energy practices at each of the centers. These lessons were pilot tested in all six centers this past spring, adjustments made over the summer, and are now all available for groups.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012

07d4: LAURENTIAN ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
In 2007, a McKinstry study was conducted at the six residential environmental learning centers in Minnesota to identify ways to reduce carbon, and energy consumption. The results of the study were used as the baseline carbon and energy use for Laurentian Environmental Center. This data was submitted as part of the LCCMR ENRTF grant request that focused on carbon reduction as a result of envelope improvements for the lodge and office buildings, and a solar hot water. In 2010, Laurentian Environmental Center (LEC) was awarded $258,000 from the ENRTF. In late early fall of 2010,an RFP was sent out for the design work of the project. Wagner Zaun Architecture of Duluth was selected to design and manage the project. A predesign site assessment determined the scope of work. A design package and RFP for the energy retrofit of the lodge and office was created, and sent out. Nelson Exteriors was selected to complete the project. The retrofit work included air sealing, insulation, high efficiency windows and doors, and mechanical improvements. Construction began in fall 2010, and was completed in spring 2011.

In spring 2011, design work for the solar hot water system was conducted by Wagner Zahn Architecture, and Conservation Technologies. Bid specifications were developed. Qualified contractors were identified, and invited to submit proposals. Innovative Power Systems was awarded the contract for the design and installation of the lodge solar hot water system, and Gruska Construction was awarded the contract for site preparation and slab installation. The slab was installed fall 2011. Solar installation occurred fall/winter 2011/2012.. The solar hot water system was fully operational in April 2012.. Innovative Power Systems designed and installed a solar hot water monitoring package that was below budget, and met the center needs.

The envelope improvements in the lodge and office have made a remarkable difference in the overall comfort of the buildings. Prior to the construction, it was difficult to maintain uniform temperatures. Air sealing, insulation, and operational windows have made the building extremely comfortable for groups and staff to use. Propane use in the lodge has dropped approximately 40%, due to a combination of burning more wood for heating, and the energy retrofit projects. Future energy monitoring and utility bills will likely yield continued reductions in carbon, and energy use.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012

07d5: LONG LAKE CONSERVATION CENTER

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Minnesota's six Residential Environmental Learning Centers (RELC) including Long Lake Conservation Center (LLCC) teamed up to obtain grant funding to reduce their carbon footprints and provide energy education that focuses on renewable energy. In order to get the most value from the energy efficiency measures a study was conducted for each RELC. As a result, a series of recommendations were given to reduce carbon and energy consumption. Each RELC is unique, so recommendations varied between them. Specifically for LLCC, the recommendations were to improve the energy efficiency in campus buildings, convert campus lighting to solar and LED's, design and install solar energy sources for the Northstar Lodge and Dining Hall.

LLCC goals for this project were:

  1. Increase conservation measures and energy efficiency in the targeted buildings.
  2. Invest in renewable energy technology applications that LLCC currently does not have.
  3. Use these conservation measures and renewable energy applications to educate users on making choices about conservation and renewable energy options that are applicable to their everyday lives.

All three goals have been met and the project was under budget.

In 10 years this collective education program will reach nearly 100,000 people who will attend LLCC and participate in its programs. This includes 55-60 K-12 schools annually and a number of other colleges and organizations who use LLCC.

The project is completed with the monitoring equipment installed and tested during the last week in June. Final installation and testing of the Solar Panel for the Dining Hall was completed in May, 2012. An issue with the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative regarding the 3 Phase inverter was solved resulting in the final installation. The issue was technical in nature and the inverter's Manufacturer's specifications were submitted to Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative, which they approved. The experience could assist in future solar projects with the cooperative. Overall the project went very well. However, over the 4th of July Holiday, LLCC experienced a lightning strike that disabled the entire phone system and the Directors computer, where the monitoring software was loaded. Aitkin County IT Department has rebuilt the computer and has re-installed the system at LLC. The phone system was also just recently repaired.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012

07d6: WOLF RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
In 2007, the six residential environmental learning centers (RELCs) of Minnesota organized a collaborative group naming themselves Today's Leaders For A Sustainable Tomorrow (TLFAST). The TLFAST group that collectively serves over 550 schools in the region and over 40,000 students annually, began an effort to raise the energy education capacity of each center, along with a stronger commitment to model sustainable energy practices. Needing a baseline to begin, the TLFAST group hired McKinstry Engineering in 2007 to conduct an energy audit of each facility and recommend the best efforts to reduce energy and/or carbon footprints at each center. The McKinstry recommendations were used as a basis for action items chosen to implement at each center. At Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (WRELC), the ENRTF funding enabled four projects.

  1. Installation of an energy monitoring system that provides data on the generation and total consumption of energy, both electrical and heating, in each building of the facility. Use of the system provides accurate information to instructors of conservation lessons while also providing maintenance personnel with data to focus on documented energy wasting conditions.
  2. Upgrading the building envelopes in 5 buildings by replacing the worst insulating and sealing doors with a Curries Trio-E Door. This door product is one of the most energy efficient, highest performing commercial doors available. Following professional site evaluation and calculation, replacing the five doors will achieve savings of 125,034 kBtu or 42,673 kWh of energy. Four of the five doors are in buildings heated by wood, thus carbon neutral; at the fifth location, the door is calculated to conserve 2,888 kg of CO2.
  3. Upgrade to energy efficient interior lighting by conversion of the last of the campus' T12 fluorescent fixtures, 106 total, to T8 technology; a reduction of 33% energy use, thus 33% reduction in carbon footprint. Also upgraded was the entire outdoor campus lighting system by replacing all 46 fixtures with LED lighting technology. This achieved a 74% reduction in energy consumption and carbon footprint for lighting at the center.
  4. The addition of a solar domestic hot water heating system to the East Dormitory that houses 180 students. The installed system will supply 50% of the annual hot water need for the building occupancy while reducing the domestic hot water carbon footprint by 49%.

A fifth project was originally proposed and approved with the ENRTF funding, a recapture of waste heat from refrigeration systems in the center's kitchen, but following initial work on the project, expert opinion and consultation quickly revealed problems and the project was aborted following an approved amendment for redistribution of funds. The budgeted funds were moved into three of the other four projects.

As the project only recently concluded, data collection is not yet adequate to document the change in carbon footprint for the entire center, but examples listed above by project, provide via calculation the reductions in energy and/or carbon footprint. To further enhance the education effectiveness of these demonstrations, 24 energy education lessons were created with the ENRTF funding and have been implemented at the six respective centers.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
It is important within every energy sustainability learning experience that students' understand that to achieve energy sustainability the best investment value for the effort is to first begin with conservation, then move to increased efficiencies and finally to new renewable energy generation. Wolf Ridge chose and implemented projects that will demonstrate and be regularly used to teach all three concepts. On a daily basis our students will engage with energy efficient doors, view the trail in front of them lit by an energy efficient LED light fixture, see the panels that renewably generate the hot water for their shower, and learn from a monitoring system how much energy was used or conserved in their dormitory. These are the learning experiences that occur simply by living at WRELC as a student for a week.

Immediately after the ENRTF funding was made available to the TLFAST group, the energy education specialists of the six centers met and outlined plans for over 20 new units of energy curriculum to be developed. Twenty-four new curricular units on energy were developed, pilot tested with students, refined, and written lesson plans were prepared with accompanying Minnesota graduation standards. Lessons were created for eight subject areas: biomass, climate change, conservation, efficiency, energy basics, food and energy, solar power and wind power. Developed lessons have been incorporated into curriculum in the following WRELC courses: Climate Change, Renewable Energy, and Conservation Challenge. All of the lessons as well as 19 point of action posters are available at the web site for free download, www.tlfast.org. The free and publicly available curriculum on the web site is also made available to the over 550 schools that attend the collective group of RELCs. See the comprehensive report from Eagle Bluff ELC that provides more detail on the educational dissemination of the collective effort of the six RELCs known collectively as TLFAST.

The fulfillment of the project as per its title became evident even before the project was complete. Not only are the participants in WRELC programs learning from the demonstrated installations, but also political leaders, agency staff of Minnesota and corporate business leaders. To date 123 people have come to tour and learn from the sustainable energy installations including: the Ambassador of Sweden, leaders of several different offices of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, staff of US Senator offices, native tribal leadership and corporate leaders interested in renewable energy. In program participation, WRELC recorded 13,084 participants last year on the WRELC campus, with another 10,843 in off site programs. The on-campus attendance is an extremely consistent number of students that are annually learning from these models of energy sustainable practices at WRELC. With support from the ENRTF, WRELC is changing how our future generations will see their own future. What is considered "cutting edge" to adults, is being learned and viewed by our children as behaviors and technologies that are simply "the appropriate way we live" in the 21st century. Through this project we have furthered established this transformation for thousands of Minnesota children each year.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2012


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GOVERNOR VETO
Analysis of Options for Minnesota's Energy Independence
Subd. 07e     $143,000

Melisa Pollak
U of M
154 Hubert H. Humphrey Center 301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  
Email:  
Fax:  

$143,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for a life-cycle analysis of low carbon energy technologies available to implement in Minnesota.

Project due to be completed:  6/30/2012
Work Program


Subd. 08  Environmental Education


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Minnesota Conservation Apprenticeship Academy
Subd. 08a     $368,000

Steve Woods
Board of Water and Soil Resources
520 Lafayette Rd N
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 297-7748
Email:  steve.woods@state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 297-5615
Web: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/

Appropriation Language
$368,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources in cooperation with the Minnesota Conservation Corps or its successor to train and mentor future conservation professionals by providing apprenticeship service opportunities to soil and water conservation districts. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and the final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Many of the most experienced conservation practitioners at local soil and water conservation districts throughout the state are nearing retirement, and with their departure will go much of their practical, on-the-ground knowledge, experience, and skills. Meanwhile, college students seeking to be the next generation of conservation practitioners have knowledge of emerging technologies and other innovations that can improve and contribute to current conservation efforts. Through this appropriation the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources will work with the Minnesota Conservation Corps to find and place a total of 60 students in apprenticeship positions with county soil and water conservation district offices throughout the state. This unique program will provide an opportunity for interns to gain valuable in-the-field experience from current practitioners while sharing their knowledge with those practitioners about the newest ideas and solutions for meeting today's natural resource challenges.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Many of Minnesota's conservation districts' most experienced conservation professionals and practitioners are nearing retirement age but due to budget constraints will not be replaced until they have left employment. Consequently, Minnesota is missing a great opportunity to transfer knowledge and experience to the next generation responsible for Minnesota's conservation.

While college graduates with conservation-related degrees are knowledgeable in technology, theory, and research methods, their practical, on-the-ground skills need development. Communicating with landowners and adjusting designs for field nuances are vital skills for the success of conservation projects and are best learned from seasoned professionals. In turn, apprentices bring knowledge of emerging technologies and other innovations to improve the quality and productivity of current conservation efforts. This allows for a cross-pollination of ideas and solutions for natural resource challenges.

From 2011 to 2012, 65 students were placed with 60 Conservation Districts. During this time, the apprentices planted 33,339 trees, took 5,219 samples to monitor water quality; provided environmental education to 1,495 people; conducted 1,372 surveys; restored 1,542 acres of habitat through invasive species removal; completed 466,773 square feet of rain garden planting and maintenance; 272,173 square feet of erosion control and shoreline restoration; and 12,933,645 square feet of seeding. Due to the 2011 state shut down, a shifting of allocated funds allowed for the placement of an additional 35 students with conservation districts in May of 2013.

This program has benefits to both students and conservation districts. 100% of apprentices indicated the hands-on experience gained during the apprenticeship will enhance their future academic studies, and that they now have increased technical conservation skills and are more prepared for a future career in conservation.

98% of the Districts were satisfied with the work their apprentices completed, and 100% indicate they would participate in the program again. Managers also indicated that the work conducted by the apprentices increased the amount of conservation practices delivered by their districts during the program period.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information from the project has been disseminated through reports to LCCMR, press releases by BWSR and the Governor's Office, local press releases by SWCDs, and through the Conservation Corps newsletter and annual report. Information was used to recruit apprentices and increase awareness of the project.

Communication and outreach activities include the aforementioned reports, press releases, and electronic newsletters. Additionally, BWSR and Conservation Corps staff conducted outreach to SWCDs to find optimal matches between districts and apprentices. Through the course of their work, the apprentices conducted significant outreach to land owners and residents in topics ranging from easement protection, to water quality education, to plant biodiversity.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Engaging Students in Environmental Stewardship through Adventure Learning
Subd. 08b     $250,000

Nicole Rom
Will Steger Foundation
2801 21st Avenue S, Ste 127
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Phone:  (612) 278-7147
Email:  nicole@willstegerfoundation.org
Fax:  (612) 278-7101
Web: http://www.willstegerfoundation.org

Appropriation Language
$250,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Will Steger Foundation to provide curriculum, teacher training, online learning, and grants to schools on investigating the connection between Minnesota's changing climate and the impacts on ecosystems and natural resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Climate change poses many challenges for Minnesota's future. To successfully engage people in overcoming these challenges it is important for them to have a developed sense of connection to Minnesota's ecosystems and an understanding of the immediate and long-term impacts climate change will have on them. Through this appropriation, the Will Steger Foundation will partner with a number of academic and civic organizations to develop an age appropriate program for students in grades 3-12 that ties Arctic explorer Will Steger's adventures with engaging content on Minnesota's natural environment, the short and long term impacts of climate change, and related student-led action projects.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Will Steger Foundation developed Engaging Students in Environmental Stewardship through Adventure Learning (MCC) with the understanding that environmental stewardship begins with a local connection and sense of appreciation, or environmental sensitivity, towards the natural environment. This project's primary audience, educators, have the unique opportunity to lead their students through the environmental education continuum of knowledge, awareness, and skills that lead to an informed and active environmental citizenry.

Climate change is one of the most critical environmental issues of our time and educators have an important role to play in educating their students and providing them the skills to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In order to make the issue relevant and connected to the lives of those reached through our project, we focused specifically on the impacts of climate change on Minnesota's biomes. Additionally, we wove in stories from Will Steger's life and examples of his own early observations of the natural world and his curiosity of weather and climate. We also tapped into the expertise of many Minnesota scientists and educators in the development of our Grades 3-12 curriculum, online classroom and two public forums and three Summer Institutes for climate change education.

Over the three years of the project we were able to reach and increase the climate literacy of over 5000 educators, members of the public and students via our Summer Institutes for Climate Change Education, year round workshops, conference presentations, school visits, field trips, public forums and our online classroom (classroom.willstegerfoundation.org). The project also resulted in the development of a number of valuable, mutually beneficial, and long-term partnerships. The partnership with the Mississippi River Fund, National Park Foundation and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area resulted in the ability to support 20 student service projects and field trips for over 500 students to enhance their learning on Minnesota's changing climate. MCC was recognized in 2012 by Environmental Initiative in the area of environmental education in part due to these important partnerships. A final evaluation report showed overall success for the project in providing a curriculum and training that increased climate literacy, environmental stewardship and educator confidence in teaching about climate change.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Over 500 formal and informal educators from all four biomes received a copy of the Minnesota's Changing Climate Curriculum via three Summer Institutes and customized workshops for school districts and at professional education conferences. The curriculum was used to teach over 10,000 Grades 3-12 students about Minnesota's unique biomes, what makes them unique, how they are threatened by climate change and what they can do to mitigate the impacts. Additionally, the curriculum has been shared nationally and regionally via the Climate Literacy Network, the Great Lakes Education Collaborative, Green Teacher, Humphrey Institutes Innovations in Education Forum and the North American Association for Environmental Education as a model of place based climate change education.

Additionally, over 1,000 students submitted their observations of Minnesota's biomes during the school year to our online classroom, with at least 2,000 more viewing and/or commenting on their observations.

Minnesota's Changing Climate curriculum has been used as a framework to develop curriculum specifically focused on the Mississippi River and climate change impacts on Wisconsin. Additionally the Minnesota Phenology Network and Minnesota Master Naturalists have used portions of it and endorse its effectiveness for communicating the connection between phenology and climate change. The curriculum has been aligned with the St. Paul Public Schools "power standards" and Minneapolis Public schools elementary STEM standards and used as an example of how to meet those standards. Finally, teachers from Minnesota American Indian reservations that are participating in The CYCLES project, a project of the STEM Center at the University of Minnesota, received training and are using the curriculum in their schools because the place based focus of the curriculum resonates culturally.

The online classroom, created in partnership with Hamline's Center for Global Environmental Education, has been used by educators around the state to learn more about Minnesota's unique biomes, their cultural history and climate change impacts. Finally, the Minnesota Phenology Network has utilized it has the perfect curriculum for connecting individuals with a reason why phenology is important.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Connecting Youth with Nature
Subd. 08c     $160,000

Carrol Henderson
DNR
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5104
Email:  carrol.henderson@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 296-1811
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/digitalbridge.html

Appropriation Language
$160,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to hold teacher training workshops on the use of digital photography as a tool for learning about nature. The equipment must be provided from other funds.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Trends amongst youth are showing decreasing interest in the nature world and declining involvement in outdoor recreation. Some attribute these changes to increased usage of computers and other technology that compete for the attention of young people. Through this appropriation, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is partnering with several organizations to build on this potential contributing factor as being part of a possible solution by expanding a successfully piloted environmental education program that uses digital photography as a bridge between technology and outdoor experiences. Outdoor nature photography workshops for at least 1,000 teachers and naturalists are being conducted throughout the state that provide guidance on how to use outdoor digital photography to enhance student learning on classroom subjects including math, science, geography, arts, and language arts.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Connecting Youth with Nature has successfully achieved it goals as initially proposed. The working title of the project was changed to the "Digital Photography Bridge to Nature" because there were federal agencies using the name "Connecting Youth with Nature" for other environmental education initiatives. Two statewide coordinators were hired under contract-one for the metropolitan region and one for greater Minnesota. Nine workshop facilitators were hired to deliver 80 Digital Bridge workshops over the course of the project. The kickoff teacher workshop was held on July 10 at Luverne, Minnesota, and was attended by 60 teachers. The keynote speaker was world-reknown National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg who grew up in Luverne, Minnesota.

A total of 40 camera kits of 12 cameras each and several field guides were purchased and assembled with additional funds provided by the Nongame Wildlife Program and the DNR Division of Parks and Trails. Additional cameras were purchased for use on "Photo safari" programs in State Parks.

For the 24 month period from July 10, 2010, through June 30, 2012, a total of 84 teacher workshops were carried out for a total of 1147 teachers. The goal of the project was to present 80 workshops reaching 1000 teachers in two years. In addition to facilitating teacher workshops, project facilitators have also gone into classrooms with teachers and taken the students on "photo safaris". A total of ten photos safaris were carried out with teachers with a total of over 500 students.

Workshop facilitators have been providing the camera kits to teachers so they can carry out their photo safaris after attending Digital Bridge workshops. The Nikon digital cameras selected for this project have been holding up very well to such intensive use. Only ten cameras out of 500 have been damaged beyond repair.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information on the Digital Photography Bridge to Nature project is available on the DNR website (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/digitalbridge.html). Additional publicity on this project has been shared on local and state newspapers, radio, television, and the national Birdwatching magazine.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2012


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Urban Wilderness Youth Outdoor Education
Subd. 08d     $557,000

Greg Lais
Wilderness Inquiry
808 14th Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone:  (612) 676-9409
Email:  greglais@wildernessinquiry.org
Fax:  (612) 676-9401
Web:

Appropriation Language
$557,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Wilderness Inquiry to provide an outdoor education and recreation program on the Mississippi River. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
There has been a sharp decline in participation in outdoor recreation and education amongst urban youth. Some argue that youth who have meaningful outdoor education experiences are more likely to become engaged in environmental stewardship and invested in outdoor resources as adults. Wilderness Inquiry- in partnership with state and federal agencies, non-profits, and local school districts - will use this appropriation to expand an environmental education and recreation program that provides disadvantaged urban youth and families, some of whom have never even been on a boat, with hands-on educational and recreational experiences of the Mississippi River in 24 foot Voyageur canoes. Funds are enabling the program to serve an additional 23,000 urban youth and families in the Twin Cities metro area. Public school groups have day trips and overnight excursions available to them to augment their classroom learning, while other youth and families have access through community events.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The goal of Urban Wilderness Youth Outdoor Education (UWYOE) was to provide accessible, outdoor education and recreation opportunities on the Mississippi River and surrounding watershed for more than 20,000 urban youth over a three-year period. UWYOE was developed in response to the sharp decline in participation in outdoor education and activities such as canoeing, camping, hunting and fishing by urban youth.

UWYOE provided experiential environmental learning experiences on the Mississippi River and surrounding watershed for 24,899 Twin Cities middle and high school students, exceeding our initial goal of 20,000. 80% of the youth served identify as a person of color and 80% are eligible for free or reduced lunch. The majority, 76%, had very little or no prior experience with outdoor activities.

Environmental education experiences were provided through outdoor workshops on local lakes and rivers, guided day trips on the Mississippi River, and overnight camping trips in local parks. National Park Service Rangers and Wilderness Inquiry guides provided natural and cultural history and science lessons as part of each program activity. We developed, refined and implemented classroom activities, provided three teacher trainings for Minneapolis Public Schools summer school staff, and developed a program website. We also purchased four 24' Voyageur canoes to expand our capacity to serve more youth.

A three-year evaluation was conducted by the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI). Major outcomes include:

  • 77% of participants reported an increased interest in science and the environment
  • 87% of teachers agreed that students learned about environmental issues
  • 100% of students said they would like to participate in an outdoor activity like this again

This program has gained national attention as a model for engaging urban youth with the environment and building skills to grow future stewards and managers of our public lands. In the summer of 2012, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Governor Mark Dayton recognized the program as a leader in America's Great Outdoors initiative.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund's investment in UWYOE has resulted in the establishment of a model program for engaging youth in the outdoors, which we now call Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA). The UWCA has been recognized by the EPA, the Department of Interior, and Gov. Mark Dayton, among others, as a leader in America's Great Outdoors Initiative. Within the National Park Service and National Forest Service, the UWCA is being held up as an example of how these agencies need to engage in urban communities across the country.

In 2010, Wilderness Inquiry and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area unit of the National Park Service piloted the UWCA concept developed in the Twin Cities to Washington DC, with support from the National Park Service, US Forest Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and several DC based nonprofit organizations. Serving 1,000 DC area school kids on the Anacostia River, this effort helping bring together 20 DC area organizations focused on though and/or the Anacostia River. To build on this success, we launched the "Canoemobile" to introduce youth to urban waters in multiple cities, and to help build local coalitions dedicated to providing outdoor opportunities to disadvantaged youth. In 2013, the Canoemobile will serve youth in Milwaukee, Michigan City, Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington DC. Nature Valley has signed on as a sponsor of the Canoemobile.

We held two outcomes briefings (one in 2011 and one in 2013) to present the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) evaluation results. The first was hosted by the Minneapolis Foundation and the second by Mayor Chris Coleman and the Saint Paul Foundation. Each had more than 35 community leaders, funders, and educators present. Information about the project has also been disseminated through the project website.

The UWCA has received coverage on Kare 11 News, the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, and Mpls/St. Paul Magazine.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Get Outside - Urban Woodland for Kids
Subd. 08e     $218,000

Bryan Murphy
City of Saint Paul, Dept of Parks and Recreation
400 City Hall Annex, 25 West Fourth Street
St. Paul, MN 55102

Phone:  (651) 266-6411
Email:  Bryan.Murphy@ci.stpaul.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 292-7405
Web: http://www.comowoodland.org

Appropriation Language
$218,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the city of St. Paul, Department of Parks and Recreation, to restore and develop an outdoor classroom for ecological education and historical interpretation at Como Regional Park in St. Paul. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Outdoor classrooms provide students and community members with an opportunity to have hands-on experiences learning about the environment and about core subjects like science, math, and social studies using nature as the base context. This appropriation will help the city of St Paul develop an outdoor classroom at Como Regional Park that will provide environmental education, historical interpretation, and habitat for native wildlife in an inner-city community where environmental learning opportunities are rare. The development plan calls for control of invasive species for the 17 acre area, gravel pathways and signs to help visitors travel and interpret the site, and outdoor study areas featuring coniferous forest, oak savanna, tall-grass prairie, sedge meadow, transitional woodland, and propagation gardens for native plants. Site planners will work to establish the area as a MN DNR School Forest.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Trends amongst youth are showing decreasing interest in the nature world and declining involvement in outdoor recreation. Some attribute these changes to increased usage of computers and other technology that compete for the attention of young people. Through this appropriation, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is partnering with several organizations to build on this potential contributing factor as being part of a possible solution by expanding a successfully piloted environmental education program that uses digital photography as a bridge between technology and outdoor experiences. Outdoor nature photography workshops for at least 1,000 teachers and naturalists are being conducted throughout the state that provide guidance on how to use outdoor digital photography to enhance student learning on classroom subjects including math, science, geography, arts, and language arts.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The City of Saint Paul developed a 17.65 acre outdoor classroom in Como Regional Park to provide environmental education, historical interpretation, and habitat for native wildlife in an inner-city community where environmental learning opportunities are rare. The woodland is located within five miles of over 75 public and private schools. To date, the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom has been utilized by 2,103 students and educators. It has become the School Forest for Great River School and Crossroads Elementary School through the MN DNR's School Forest Program.

The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund's investment in the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom has resulted in the development of outdoor study areas featuring coniferous woodland, oak savanna, tallgrass prairie, shortgrass prairie, transitional woodland, and terrace forest plant communities. Additionally, a propagation garden area has been constructed within the Classroom that will serve as a native plant demonstration garden for the public and will be utilized by students to grow native plants for the Classroom. ENRTF funds were also utilized to install 2,525 feet of ADA accessible gravel trails within the Classroom.

Funds were used to install four entry signs at each of the major entrances to the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. 27 numbered, interpretative posts were installed at key locations throughout the site. The City of Saint Paul has received $17,000 from the Minnesota Historical Society and is in the final stages of developing a guide book to the cultural and natural history of the site, referencing these numbered posts. When published, the guide book will be an invaluable resource for educators wishing to bring students to the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom.

Community volunteers were engaged throughout the restoration process. 2,005 volunteers participated in restoration activities, including planting, invasive species removal, and trail construction.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Our advisory committee, the Como Woodland Advisory Committee, has set up a website dedicated to the classroom: http://www.comowoodland.org/.. Progress about our project has been shared with the general public through our blog (http://restoresaintpaul.blogspot.com/.) and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/saintpaulnaturalresources). Community volunteer events taking place in the classroom are highlighted on the City's website (http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=1043). The Minnesota Lottery recently highlighted the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom in their newly launched blog: http://blog.mnlottery.com/blog/2014/07/24/64/where_the_money_goes_como_woodland_outdoor_classroom.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2014


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Expanding Outdoor Classrooms at Minnesota Schools
Subd. 08f     $300,000

Amy Kay Kerber
DNR
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5263
Email:  amykay.kerber@dnr.state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 259-5272
Web: http://www.mndnr.gov/schoolforest

Appropriation Language
$300,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to establish additional and enhance existing outdoor school forest and prairie classroom networks throughout Minnesota.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Since 1949 the School Forest Program has been providing Minnesota's K-12 students with outdoor classrooms where they can learn core subjects like math, science, and social studies outdoors using nature as the base context. Statewide there are currently 100 School Forests - which can also include prairie, wetland, and other natural areas other than forest - located in both urban and rural areas. This appropriation will help the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources establish 20 new school forests and provide better training and support services for teachers and school districts with existing forest areas.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The School Forest Program is Minnesota's outdoor classroom program. This project provided support to create new School Forest sites; develop and deliver site-specific outdoor education trainings, regional workshops, a multi-day conference, and a summit; create new online and in-person resources to better support School Forests; and investigate long-term support options for the School Forest Program. Funding provided 1.5 FTEs of School Forest educators for three years and an additional .75 FTE School Forest Specialist for one year.

Minnesota has 125 School Forests throughout the state. As a result of this project, 22 new School Forest sites were developed on 256 acres of land, complete with proper applications, legal paperwork, School Forest committees, and land management plans. To meet teacher needs, several assessments were conducted (see 2012 School Forest Survey Report) and the results were used to create support materials for online and in-person delivery. The School Forest website was revamped and new sections relating to land management, outdoor education, and lesson plans/activities were created. More than 39,000 visitors used the website. School Forest staff participated in hundreds of crucial in-person site visits, meetings, and presentations to bolster support for new and existing School Forests.

To encourage and support outdoor education activities, this project delivered 21 site-specific outdoor education trainings, reaching 523 teachers. These workshops involved Project Learning Tree materials and content was tied to Minnesota academic standards in math, science, and social studies. One hundred outdoor education kits were developed and delivered. The kits provided tools, materials, and lesson plans to allow teachers to easily prep and teach age-appropriate outdoor activities meeting Minnesota academic standards. In addition, two regional trainings, one multi-day conference, and one summit were developed and delivered. These events provided School Forest teachers the opportunity to delve into outdoor education strategy, discover practical teaching tips, and network with teachers, natural resource, and education experts; 106 teachers participated in these events.

Over three years, this project provided new outdoor education opportunities to over 400 teachers and 11,000 students at 22 new School Forests. The total project activities reached over 1,500 teachers and 30,000 students statewide at all 124 School Forests.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The School Forest website (www.mndnr.gov/schoolforest) houses many materials created by this project. It is viewed by thousands of people every month. The School Forest Activity Board, within the website, is home to more than 100 new lesson plans created by School Forest teachers and staff. Of particular note are over 20 newly developed activities and lesson plans that correlate to math standards from Prekindergarten to eighth grade, meeting the need to effectively teach math outside.

Dozens of newspaper articles and websites posts were created regarding the new 22 School Forest sites created during this grant.

The results of the School Forest Survey were presented at the 2013 Minnesota Environmental Education Conference and are being reviewed by DNR staff, teachers and naturalists statewide. This information is being used to create or provide better resources to support teachers interested in outdoor education.

Delivery of the "How to Teach in Your School Forest" trainings have evolved and been modified to meet teacher needs. For example, appropriate outdoor and reflection time is incorporated into each training and several other DNR and partner education programs have begun to use these techniques. In addition, the Minn. Dept. of Education asked School Forest staff and teachers to present much of the outdoor education training delivered as part of their ENRTF Environmental and Outdoor Education project. This provided positive outcomes for all partners involved.

About 70 percent of the 22 new School Forest sites are in an urban area. Results from the 2013 Urban School Forest focus groups were used to identify needs specific to urban sites. Strategies are needed for dealing with vandalism, dogs, invasive species, and high community use on small, urban parcels.

Two School Forest site coordinators were awarded the "Formal Environmental Educator of the Year" by the MN Association for Environmental Education for their work with their school forests (2012 & 2013). The School Forest program was recognized as one of Governor Dayton's Education Highlights for 2011-2012.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Integrated Environmental and Outdoor Education in Grades 7-12
Subd. 08g     $300,000

Jeff Ledermann
Minnesota Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113-4266

Phone:  (651) 582-8602
Email:  jeff.ledermann@state.mn.us
Fax:  (651) 582-8876
Web: http://education.state.mn.us and http://www.seek.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$300,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of education in cooperation with the commissioner of natural resources to train and support grade 7-12 teachers to integrate environmental and outdoor education into the instruction of academic standards.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Trends amongst youth are showing declining participation in outdoor recreation, a decreased understanding of the natural world, and a shift to a more sedentary lifestyle. Through this appropriation, the Minnesota Department of Education is working to combat these trends while also improving the achievement of students in grades 7-12. Professional development and grants for innovative programs are being provided to help teachers use the environment and outdoors as a context for student learning in science, mathematics, social studies, and physical education.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
With research indicating that students are increasingly disconnected from nature, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources was funded to hire a full-time coordinator to lead a project to train and support grade 7-12 teachers to integrate environmental and outdoor education (EOE) into the instruction of academic standards. Professional development and grants of up to $8,500 were provided to six pilot schools to support 50 teachers and administrators in their use of the environment and outdoors as a context for student learning, which resulted in engaging over 1,000 students in EOE on a regular basis. A full report of the project, including evaluation of the training and student learning and model lessons, was submitted to LCCMR.

Beyond the original goals of the project, the project coordinator also developed partnerships with several EOE providers to coordinate and offer five, additional, day-long regional workshops at minimal cost that were attended by 108 additional educators not from the pilot schools.

The project coordinator also developed and implemented Minnesota's participation in the first two years of the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program that recognizes schools for efforts to reduce their environmental impact and implement EOE throughout their curriculum. Minnesota led the nation with the most applicants in 2013 and seven Minnesota schools and districts were among 156 schools that received the national award to date. Workshops led by the coordinator at the sites of Minnesota's three 2012 national honorees were attended by over 100 people.

A position at MDE to integrate EOE has provided credibility and prioritization of EOE at Minnesota schools and within the department. It has resulted in better coordination among Minnesota's many EOE providers and plans exist for future coordination with MDE standards and health program staff.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information about the project, including the final report and model lessons, will be posted on the SEEK (Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge) website at www.seek.state.mn.us, hosted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

In addition to the numerous EOE workshops and training led by the coordinator, the coordinator has directly reached over 2,300 other educators through technical assistance and teaching, including participating in several workshops, programs and events. The coordinator also made regular efforts to promote activities related to the project and the benefits of environmental and outdoor education whenever possible throughout the duration of the project. EOE information, resources and achievements, such as the Green Ribbon Schools honorees, were regularly shared through MDE's Superintendents mailings and department listserves, and newsletters and listserves by SEEK, Minnesota Association for Environmental Education, Minnesota Science Teachers Association, Green Schools Coalition, Children and Nature Connection, Minnesota Sustainable Communities Network and many others.

The coordinator had occasional opportunities to do some media activities, including a 20 minute interview about the value of EOE on the April 1, 2013 show of the podcast, Mom Enough, which has a national following of several thousand listeners. The interview can be found at http://momenough.com/2013/04/lets-get-outside-tips-for-parents-and-teachers-from-an-environmental-educator-and-creative-dad. Local media from the communities of the pilot schools and Green Ribbon School honorees also developed news stories covering the value of EOE activities.

The introductory EOE regional workshops developed with the DNR, Jeffers Foundation and other local partners have led to additional opportunities for coordinated workshops. In particular, the Jeffers Foundation has expressed interest in continuing to work with MDE on future workshops patterned after those developed during the project.

The evaluation of the project, which was conducted by Dr. Julie Ernst, University of Minnesota - Duluth, was a great opportunity for her to expand on her nationally-recognized environmental education research. She is hoping to publish a research paper at some point summarizing the evaluation of the project, which will hopefully help inform and guide future research in the field.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Project Get Outdoors
Subd. 08h     $15,000

Sara Grover
Project Get Outdoors, Inc.
Whitewater State Park, 19041 Hwy 74
Altura, MN 55910

Phone:  (507) 951-5885
Email:  sara.grover@yahoo.com
Fax:  (507) 932-5938
Web: http://mnprojectgetoutdoors.org/

Appropriation Language
$15,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Project Get Outdoors, Inc. to develop out of school programs connecting children to local nature experiences.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Outdoor recreation is declining among Minnesota children and families. Efforts are underway to try and reverse this trend. One of those efforts - led by Project Get Outdoors, Inc. - is working to implement a program that reconnects Minnesota children in grades K-8 to nature exploration and outdoor recreation utilizing our public lands. Using this appropriation, Project Get Outdoors, Inc. created 50 toolkits and five equipment trunks with supplies that encourage over 100 safe, after-school activities that get kids out in nature. Activities include insect collection, themed hikes, geo-caching, and fishing. These toolkits are available free of charge to interested communities in southern Minnesota by Project GO coordinators along with training for community volunteers on how to start and sustain their own unique programs.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Project GO has developed a toolkit to help local communities design, implement, evaluate, and sustain free after-school and summer programs that introduce children to nearby public lands and outdoor activities and skills they can enjoy at these sites.

Through funds from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, Project GO was able to assemble 50 Activity Backpacks and 32 Equipment Trunks for Project GO program leaders to use in their communities. Each program leader is issued a backpack to keep during their involvement with the Project GO program. The Activity Backpacks provide basic supplies to help leaders implement 100 or more different outdoor games, projects, and activities.

The Equipment Trunks focus on 16 different activities and are available for Project GO leaders to check out for free. These trunks are housed at Whitewater State Park for use in SE Minnesota and we anticipate the other set of 16 trunks will be housed out of Minneopa State Park for use by Project GO clubs in SW Minnesota.

At the time of this report, 14 backpacks have been issued. Equipment trunks are beginning to be checked out. Program leaders are excited to have these resources and so far, feedback has been very positive. The children are happy to have more diverse equipment and supplies to use while learning about the outdoors. We plan to evaluate the usefulness of these resources over the coming year via a program leader survey. One obstacle we are looking at is getting the equipment trunks to and from program sites that are farther from the storage site. We are hoping to develop a network of volunteer "runners" who would be reimbursed mileage for delivering and returning the equipment trunks when a GO site in a community such as Red Wing or Spring Grove desires to check out a trunk.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The completed Activity Backpacks have already been issued to 14 sites. We will continue to help communities design Project GO programs that are unique as well as work with local staff at community organizations such as youth centers, school age child care programs, and other after school sites to introduce children in those programs to nature through our toolkit resources.

Since completing the assembly of the 50 Activity Backpacks and 32 Equipment Trunks, Project GO has formed a partnership with local public health and child care resource professionals to look at implementing our program into the larger child care centers that serve school age children during the after school hours. We are currently piloting this at a child care center in Caledonia and looking to work with two child care centers in Rochester. We will train the school age room staff at these centers to use our backpacks at least once a week. As an incentive for them to use the backpacks and journal their experiences, Project GO will provide a person to come out to their site no more than once a month to lead a hands-on nature activity using one of the Equipment Trunks. This new approach with child care centers will allow us to serve many more children. Project GO will be presenting at an upcoming Focus on the Child conference in Rochester, sharing this information with child care providers from across the southern region.

A number of colleges and college professors in SE Minnesota have expressed enthusiasm to connect their students to service learning, internship, and practicum experiences with Project GO. We have found that college students bring great enthusiasm to the program which the children really enjoy and in exchange Project GO is able to provide real world learning experiences for these students.

We are already looking to secure additional funds to purchase more backpacks, as we anticipate the first 50 will be issued within a year. The US Fish & Wildlife Service Winona District is eager to help us acquire another batch of backpacks.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed:  11/16/2010


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Fishing: Cross Cultural Gateway to Environmental Education
Subd. 08i     $155,000

Ly Vang
Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in MN
1101 N Snelling Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (651) 398-2917
Email:  lyvangaahwm@yahoo.com
Fax:  (651) 222-3599

Appropriation Language
$155,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota to provide environmental information and teaching skills to and increase participation of Southeast Asian communities through the gateway of fishing skills. Information on mercury in fish advisories must be included as part of the educational outreach. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The number of people from other cultures and with other native languages is increasing in Minnesota. It is important for these new Minnesota residents to have knowledge of behaviors that best ensure protection of Minnesota's natural resources into the future. However, effectively communicating with people across cultures to change behaviors can be challenging. Through this appropriation, the Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization are partnering to use the common ground of fishing as a foundation for community outreach on environmental stewardship to Southeast Asian elders, youth, and families. Public events will be held that combine fishing and environmental education on topics including water quality, invasive species, lead-free tackle, mercury and other contaminants, fish consumption advisories, and fishing regulations.

Project Incomplete: Project failed to comply with reporting requirements and was closed out as incomplete in 2013. No final report.
Work Program


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Minnesota WolfLink
Subd. 08j     $193,000

Sharon Reed
International Wolf Center
3410 Winnetka Ave N, Suite 101
Minneapolis, MN 55427

Phone:  (763) 560-7374 x221
Email:   sreed@wolf.org
Fax:  (218) 365-3318
Web: http://www.wolf.org/wolves/learn/wolflink.asp

Appropriation Language
$193,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the InternationalWolf Center to develop interactive onsite and distance learning about wolves and their habitat. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2013, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Wolves are an important part of Minnesota's ecosystems and natural history. Minnesota is one of the only places in the lower 48 states where wolves were not completely eliminated by the 1970's and the state has been at the center of wolf population recovery and range expansion ever since. Because of people's widespread interest in wolves, they also provide an important vehicle for educating about nature and the environment. The International Wolf Center in Ely will use this appropriation to expand an educational program to an additional 2,500 students that utilizes wolves as an interdisciplinary educational tool for K-12 students, their teachers, and others throughout Minnesota. The program uses live, interactive distance learning through video conferencing in conjunction with on-site kits to bring wolves directly into the classroom.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS
The project funded:

  • 118 live interactive video broadcasts from the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota to inner-city, suburban and rural schools throughout Minnesota.
  • Two new loan boxes. These boxes are shipped to schools in advance of the broadcast. Each box contains: Wolf pelts, claws, teeth, scat, bones of the wolf prey, wolf related books, ink stamps, projects that they can work on and keep and lesson materials in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, and Braille.
  • New video broadcasting equipment. It will provide quality broadcasts for many years.
  • A portion of an educator wages and benefits. The educator has a master's degree and many years of wolf exposure and training.
  • The creation, printing and mailing of promotional materials and some promotional travel expenses.

The original goal was to offer 100 WolfLink programs reaching 2,500 students and teachers along with the wolf loan boxes to educate, engage, and promote future stewardship of the state's environmental resources. To provide translation for three languages and braille to the classroom educational materials. Also, to provide improved broadcasting technology by acquiring new technology.

International Wolf Center was able to reach 118 schools and 3,804 students, exceeding the original goal by 18 schools and 1,304 students. The 2 additional loan boxes were added and much needed due to the frequency of programs. One Minnesota school was able to be included in a broadcast with schools from Canada and Mexico, making their wolf education also a multi-cultural event with the ability to interact with these foreign students. The lesson materials are translated and opened the education to children where English is their second language.

There were several schools that were not aware they possessed the necessary technology to receive the live interactive broadcasts. After the wolf broadcasts those schools were open to Internet broadcast learning opportunities.

Minnesota tourism increased somewhat as many children brought home their souvenirs and other lesson materials from the wolf loan boxes and requested their family make a trip to Ely, where many families visited the International Wolf Center and viewed in person the same live wolves seen in their WolfLink program.

The advanced technology made available by this grant will continue to serve well for many years.

The question may be asked why this education is important and even relevant today. It is best answered by the enthusiasm displayed by the children's faces when the wolves howled or showed other wolf behavior. They learned all about wolves based on scientific based research. They were able to figuratively leave their school, via the internet broadcast, to experience the great outdoors of Minnesota, all the while learning about taking care of Minnesota's natural resources. By involving children in this educational process it is preparing our next generation to be stewards of Minnesota resources. The facts are taught in the hopes that a better informed public can be involved in making better informed public policy relative to wolves and other Minnesota natural resources.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The WolfLink programs reaching out to 118 schools has been spread by word of mouth. The original plan of having 100 interactive broadcasts was an aggressive goal at the time of grant application. Having exceeded it has shown how successful the new technology presents the materials. When a teacher in a school completed a program, they naturally shared their enthusiasm with their fellow teachers. This led to other teachers within the same school to request programs for their classroom.

Part of the marketing plan included printing of postcards which were done for less money than originally planned. The Internet and emails, which were not funded by this grant, were also used effectively to market the WolfLink programs to Minnesota schools. In all the communications credit was given to the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund for making these free programs possible.

The lessons plans were updated before and during the WolfLink presentations. The updating is a continue process. The split screen capability allows the teacher and the wolves to be presented on the same screen to hold the attention of the class to what is being taught. We believe that part of this program that teachers will repeat this process each year, as the cost after the completion of this grant is not cost prohibitive.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 6/30/2013


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Online Field Trip of Minnesota River
Subd. 08k     $124,000

Kimberly Musser
MN State University - Mankato
184 Trafton Science Center S
Mankato, MN 56001

Phone:  (507) 389-5492
Email:  kimberly.musser@mnsu.edu
Fax:  (507) 389-5493
Web: http://mrbdc.mnsu.edu

Appropriation Language
$124,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Minnesota State University - Mankato to develop online educational materials on the Minnesota River for schools and outreach centers.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Considerable public funding and effort has gone into better understanding and restoring the Minnesota River, but the research is not always readily accessible or easily understood by the public. There is a need to bridge the information gap between researchers and the public to help improve environmental education about the river. The Water Resources Center at Minnesota State University - Mankato is using this appropriation to develop educational materials and a multimedia virtual field trip that showcase, in an engaging format, what natural resource experts have learned about this unique area of our state. The materials and virtual field trip will be available on the internet and at informational kiosks placed at the Treaty Site History Center near St Peter, the Regional River History Center in New Ulm, the Ney Nature Center near Henderson and the Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) Office in Montevideo.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Considerable public funding and effort has gone into better understanding and restoring the Minnesota River. Research about the river is housed in an array of scientific publications not easily accessible for the public. This project helps to bridge the information gap between researchers and the public and to generally improve environmental education about the river. The project's goal is to increase public awareness about the river's health by using new media techniques to engage students and the public.

Major results included 1) developing and delivering the "Ask an Expert about the Minnesota River" website and 2) performing educational outreach. This project developed a multi-media virtual field trip with accompanying educational materials to showcase what scientists are learning about the Minnesota River. Citizens have a unique opportunity to learn directly from natural resource experts about the current state of the Minnesota River. Video clips of interviews and related information are available online on the Minnesota River Basin Data Center website: http://mrbdc.mnsu.edu/learn.

Online Educational Website - Ask an Expert about the Minnesota River
Video clips of scientist and citizen experts answering questions about the river's health are the central feature of the website enriched by accompanying handouts, and graphics. Specifically, the major features of the website include:

  • 171 video clips of experts answering questions;
  • 27 handouts with background information developed to enrich each theme;
  • 9 panoramic virtual tours and 20 slideshows;
  • 5 educator's guides and 7 accompanying PowerPoint presentations on prairies, wetlands, agriculture, fish, and mussels.

Educational outreach and learning stations
Four computer kiosks (learning stations) were installed at key educational centers across the basin - specifically Treaty Site History Center in St. Peter, MN; Regional River History Center in New Ulm, MN; Ney Nature Center in Henderson, MN; and Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) office in Montevideo, MN - likely reaching 4,000-8,000 people in the upcoming year. Open houses at the four educational centers and other events directly reached approximately 349 people during the project period. Four school classroom presentations reached approximately 371 students.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The broad dissemination goals for the project are to share data with the public, students and teachers through both traditional and nontraditional outreach methods. The dissemination of this project proceeded at several levels. All the project data is available on the web in a user-friendly format. Computer kiosks (learning stations) highlighting the project were developed and installed in four key river and history centers across the basin. We also conducted outreach to three schools and four educational centers that included presentations and open houses. We have also used social media resources such as Facebook and YouTube to disseminate information about the project.

We worked collaboratively with a wide range of state and local agencies (MPCA, MDNR, Department of Agriculture, etc.) and citizen organizations (CURE, Ney Nature Center, Nicollet County Historical Society) to develop and publicize the project. Project staff have spoken about the project to local and state officials and staff, nonprofit organizations, teachers and students, and citizens. The project has received attention at scientific meetings (both poster session in 2011 and presentation in 2012 at the Minnesota Water Resources Conference) and educational training (DNR Naturalists). The project team plans to continue outreach to schools and putting on public events to promote the project and further raise public awareness about the Minnesota River.

FINAL REPORT

Project completed: 06/30/2012


100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 65 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155