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Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

M.L. 2014 Projects

M.L. 2014 Projects

MN Laws 2014, Chapter 226, Section 2 (beginning July 1, 2014)

MN Laws 2014, Chapter 312, Article 12, Section 8 (beginning July 1, 2014)

For the Minnesota's FY 2014-15 biennium (July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2015), approximately $33.8 million was available each fiscal year (Total = $67,620,000) for funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. In response to the 2014 Request for Proposal, 192 proposals requesting a total of approximately $111 million were received. Through a competitive, multi-step process 94 of these proposals, requesting a total of $58.7 million, were chosen to present to the LCCMR and 71 of those proposals, totaling $29 million, were chosen to receive a recommendation for funding to the 2013 MN Legislature. The Legislature adopted all 71 of these project recommendations and they were signed into law by the Governor on 05/09/14. The Legislature added one additional project and it was signed into law by the Governor on 05/20/14. For 2014 a total of 72 appropriations will be receiving $30,430,000.

LINKS TO:

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.

When available, we have provided links to web sites related to the project. The sites linked to this page are not created, maintained, or endorsed by the LCCMR office or the Minnesota Legislature.


M.L. 2014, Chapter 226, Section 2 Appropriations
M.L. 2014, Chapter 312, Section 8 Appropriations

MN Laws 2014, Chapter 226, Section 2

Subd. 03   Water Resources
03aSolar Driven Destruction of Pesticides, Pharmaceuticals, Contaminants in Water - RESEARCH
03bMethods to Protect Beneficial Bacteria from Contaminants to Preserve Water Quality - RESEARCH
03cTriclosan Impacts on Wastewater Treatment - RESEARCH
03dEvaluation of Wasterwater Nitrogen and Estrogen Treatment Options - RESEARCH
03eAntibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Minnesota Lakes - RESEARCH
03fImpacts of Estrogen Exposure on Minnesota's Shallow Lake Wildlife - RESEARCH
03gWatershed-Scale Monitoring of Long-Term Best Management Practice Effectiveness - RESEARCH
03hProtection of State's Confined Drinking Water Aquifers - RESEARCH
03iWatershed Water Budgets for Managing Minnesota's Groundwater - RESEARCH
03jIdentifying Causes of Exceptionally High Mercury in Fish - RESEARCH
03kReducing Lake Quality Impairments through Citizen Action
03lRainwater Reuse and Valuation Investigation
03mMeasuring Hydrologic Benefits from Glacial Ridge habitat Restoration - RESEARCH
 
Subd. 04   Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species
04aBlocking Bighead, Silver, and Other Invasive Carp by Optimizing Lock and Dams - RESEARCH
04bBioacoustics to Detect, Deter and Eliminate Silver Carp - RESEARCH
04cNorthwest Minnesota Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pilot
04dBiosurveillance and Biocontrol of Emerald Ash Borer - Phase 2
04e1Mountain Pine Beetle Invasive Threat to Minnesota's Pines
04e2Mountain Pine Beetle Invasive Threat to Minnesota's Pines
04f1Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Monitoring and Biocontrol Evaluation
04f2Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Monitoring and Biocontrol Evaluation
Sec. 08Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center - RESEARCH
 
Subd. 05   Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information
05aUpdate Statewide Land Cover Use Map
05bState Spring Inventory for Resource Management and Protection
05cDrainage Records Modernization and Statewide Geographic Information System Database
05dRestoring Forest Inventory Data
05eAssessing Species Vulnerability to Climate Change Using Phenology
05fMinnesota Breeding Bird Atlas - Final Phase
05gAssessing Contaminants in Minnesota's Loons and Pelicans - Phase 2
05hSandhill Crane Populations and Management in Minnesota - RESEARCH
05iWild Bee Pollinator Surveys in Prairie-Grassland Habitats
05j1Imperiled Prairie Butterfly Conservation, Research and Breeding Program - RESEARCH
05j2Imperiled Prairie Butterfly Conservation, Research and Breeding Program
05kConserving Minnesota's Native Freshwater Mussels - RESEARCH
05lImpacts of Forest Quality on Declining Minnesota Moose - RESEARCH
05mMoose Decline and Air Temperatures in Northeastern Minnesota - RESEARCH
05nExpansion of Minnesota Wildflowers Online Botanical Reference
 
Subd. 06   Methods to Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat
06aEnhancing Pollinator Landscapes
06bUnderstanding Systemic Insecticides as Protection Strategy for Bees - RESEARCH
06cPrairie Sustainability through Seed Storage, Beneficial Microbes, and Adaptation - RESEARCH
06dNortheast Minnesota White Cedar Restoration - Phase 2
06eSoutheast Minnesota Watershed Protection Plan
06fUpland and Shoreline Restoration in Greater Metropolitan Area
06gPrairie, Forest, and Savanna Restoration in Greater Metropolitan Area
06hNutrient Capture Through Water Management and Biomass Harvesting
06iCattail Management for Wetland Wildlife and Bioenergy Potential
06jDredged Sediment for Forest Restoration on Unproductive Minelands
06kExpansion of Greenhouse Production
 
Subd. 07   Land Acquisition, Habitat, and Recreation
07aScientific and Natural Area Acquisition, Restoration, Improvement and Citizen Engagement
07bMetropolitan Regional Park System Acquisition
07cMesabi Trail Development - Soudan to Ely Segment
07dShoreland Acquisition on St. Croix River
07eMartin County Park and Natural Area Acquisition
07fMinnesota River Water Trailhead and Landing in Morton
 
Subd. 08   Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy
08aSolar Cell Materials from Sulfur and Common Metals - RESEARCH
08bInnovative Groundwater-Enhanced Geothermal Heat Pump Study
08cDemonstrating Innovative Technologies to Fully Utilize Wastewater Resources - RESEARCH
08dTransitioning Minnesota Farms to Local Energy
08eLife Cycle Energy of Renewably Produced Nitrogen Fertilizers
08fClean Water and Renewable Energy from Beet Processing Wastewater and Manure - RESEARCH
08gNext Generation Large-Scale Septic Tank Systems - RESEARCH
08hSolar Photovoltaic Installation at Residential Environmental Learning Centers
08iItasca Community College Woody Biomass Utilization Project Design
 
Subd. 09   Environmental Education
09aMinnesota Conservation Apprenticeship Academy
09bYouth-led Sustainability Initiatives in 40 Greater Minnesota Communities
09cUrban Environmental Education Engaging Students in Local Resources
09dDiversifying Involvement in the Natural Resources Community
09eEducating Minnesotans about Potential Impacts of Changing Climate
09fPollinator Education Center at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
09gMinnesota Pollinator Partnership
09hRaptor Lab Integrating Online and Outdoor Learning Environments
09iWolf Management Education
 
Subd. 10   Administration and Contract Agreement Reimbursement
10aContract Agreement Reimbursement
10bLegislative Coordinating Commission Legacy Web Site
10cEnvironment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) Project Records System Upgrade
 

MN Laws 2014, Chapter 312, Section 8

Sec. 08   Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center - RESEARCH


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


MN Laws 2014, Chapter 226, Section 2


Subd. 03  Water Resources


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Solar Driven Destruction of Pesticides, Pharmaceuticals, Contaminants in Water
Subd. 03a     $291,000 TF

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

Phone:  (612) 625-8582
Email:  arnol032@umn.edu
Web: http://personal.ce.umn.edu/~arnold/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$291,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to quantify the solar-driven destruction of contaminants reacting with dissolved organic matter to optimize water treatment methods and guide reuse. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural nutrients serve important functions in crop production and the treatment of disease. However, these chemicals become pollutants when discharged into surface waters through wastewater, storm water, and agricultural runoff. There are natural processes, though, that help break down and remove these pollutants from water. One such process is the role that sunlight interacting with dissolved organic matter naturally present in surface water from decaying plant materials and algae has in transforming these contaminants. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to better understand the role this interaction between sunlight and dissolved organic matter has in affecting the fate of water pollutants in order to optimize water treatment methods and guide effective water reuse.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Urban stormwater, agricultural runoff, and municipal wastewater effluent transport pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other trace organic compounds to aquatic systems. Once in the environment, these compounds are considered pollutants because they may have adverse ecological effects on non-target organisms. It may be possible to use or design wetland systems to take advantage of natural processes to maintain pollutant concentrations below harmful levels. Chemical reactions initiated by sunlight, also called photochemical reactions, are particularly important in degrading these pollutants. The organic matter (produced by the breakdown of plant material or from algae) dissolved in the water absorbs sunlight, and this process reactivates intermediates that breakdown pollutants.

In this work a method was developed to relate the amount of reactive intermediates produced to the source and composition of the organic matter. This allows prediction of how fast pollutants will be broken down by sunlight in surface waters impacted by stormwater runoff or wastewater effluents. Stormwater, wetland surface water, and municipal effluent samples were collected seasonally from Fall 2014 to Spring 2016 throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and greater Minnesota. The efficiency of reactive intermediate formation was experimentally measured using chemical probes, and the composition of the organic matter was assessed using light absorbance and fluorescence measurements and high-resolution mass spectrometry. Trends show that organic matter with low capacity to absorb light also has high efficiencies of reactive species formation. The relationship between reactive species formation efficiency and organic matter composition appears to be highly influenced by the content of the organic derived from plants. From this work, a model was developed to aid in the design of treatment wetlands to achieve pollutant removal by allowing an appropriate amount of time for sunlight exposure. In addition, an empirical multiple linear regression model using both chemical information about the organic matter and descriptors of the surrounding landscape was developed to aid in the prediction of reactive species formation in surface waters across regional scales. This will allow prediction of contaminant degradation via sunlight-driven reactions in a broad range of surface waters in Minnesota.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
This work has been presented at two sessions of the Environmental Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society in March 2017 (both submitted with this report). This work has also been presented at poster sessions of the Minnesota Water Resources Conference (October 2016), the Conference on the Environment (November 2016), and the Year of Water Action Forum (March 2017; poster submitted with this report). One manuscript presenting the results of this work has been accepted for publication (July 2017; manuscript submitted with this report) and additional manuscripts are in preparation. Additional opportunities are being pursued to develop a pilot-scale treatment wetland to assess the accuracy and applicability of the models developed from this study.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Poster Presentation Graphic (PDF)


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Methods to Protect Beneficial Bacteria from Contaminants to Preserve Water Quality
Subd. 03b     $279,000 TF

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

Phone:  (612) 626-9846
Email:  novak010@umn.edu
Web: http://www.cege.umn.edu/directory/faculty-directory/novak.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$279,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to research how and why bacteria that provide ecological functions humans depend on for water quality are affected by exposure to certain man-made perfluorinated chemicals entering the wastewater treatment system in order to identify methods that can be implemented to protect those bacterial functions from being degraded. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Many types of bacteria perform critical ecological functions, such as cycling carbon and other nutrients, which enable life to exist. In fact, humans harness these types of bacteria in certain engineered systems, such as wastewater treatment plants and landfills, to provide various benefits such as protecting surface waters from excess nitrogen, decomposing solid waste, and treating wastewater. Unfortunately, the environments within these systems where the beneficial bacteria live are also environments that receive a complex array of synthetic chemicals that can negatively affect bacterial function, particularly when present in mixtures. One such class of chemicals that find their way into these systems is perfluorinated chemicals, which research has suggested can cause other co-contaminants to be more toxic to bacteria. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to research how and why these beneficial bacteria are affected by exposure to perfluorinated chemicals entering the wastewater treatment system in order to help develop and engineer methods to better protect and enhance the important ecological functions these bacteria provide.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
We studied the effect of common pollutants, perfluorinated alkyl substances or perfluorinated substances (PFCs), on bacteria. PFCs are found throughout the environment from concentrations of 0.00001 mg/L in rivers to 10 mg/L at heavily polluted sites. Because humans rely on bacteria for nutrient cycling and waste degradation, it is important to understand whether PFCs affect bacteria. We studied PFCs with known health impacts, those containing 7-8 fully fluorinated carbons, along with shorter, 4- and 6-carbon “replacement” PFCs. We discovered that PFCs with 3-8 fully fluorinated carbons increased the permeability of bacterial membranes at high (mg/L) concentrations. We observed that these compounds deposited into model bacterial membranes and changed their fluidity at concentrations of 0.1 to 50 mg/L. This is significant because bacterial membranes form semi-permeable barriers; it is the semi-permeable nature of membranes that enable bacteria to communicate with one another and control metabolism. Increased membrane fluidity and permeability in bacteria induced by PFC exposure could have impacts on the bacterial functions that humans rely on.

Perhaps not surprisingly, we also discovered that PFCs with 3-8 fully fluorinated carbons altered the bacterial response the external chemical signal used for bacteria-to-bacteria communication. This occurred at PFC concentrations of 0.01 to 50 mg/L. Finally, exposure to high (50 mg/L) concentrations of PFCs with 7-8 fully fluorinated carbons and PFC-containing aqueous film-forming foam changed microbial metabolism, decreasing the amount of carbon degraded to methane. The presence of a co-contaminant lessened this effect, likely as a result of the co-contaminant displacing the PFCs from the bacterial surface. This research indicates microbial metabolism is not likely to be affected by PFCs unless these compounds are present at high concentrations, such as at fire-fighting training sites. Nevertheless, the effects of PFCs on bacterial membranes and bacteria-to-bacteria communication at lower concentrations could cause unanticipated impacts.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Three peer-reviewed manuscripts are expected to be published from this work; these will be submitted to the LCCMR when accepted for publication. Multiple presentations about the research have been given at both regional and national/international conferences.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Triclosan Impacts on Wastewater Treatment
Subd. 03c     $380,000 TF

Timothy LaPara
U of MN
500 Pillsbury Dr SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (612) 624-6028
Email:  lapar001@umn.edu
Web: http://www.cege.umn.edu/directory/faculty-directory/lapara.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$380,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to assess the role of the commercially used antibacterial agent triclosan in creating antibiotic resistant bacteria during the municipal wastewater treatment process. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
As people use antibiotics and products containing antibacterial substances the bacteria that are resistant to the effects of these products survive and reproduce, thus creating a selection for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Many of these bacteria and the antibacterial substances ultimately make their way into the waste stream and are mixed together and concentrated at wastewater treatment plants, where they interact and can create further selection for organisms with antibiotic resistance to multiple antibacterial substances resulting in what are commonly known as "super bugs". If these antibiotic resistant organisms are not entirely removed during the wastewater treatment process, these organisms then are released into the environment where they can eventually affect humans and other species. One antimicrobial substance of particular concern is triclosan, which is present in numerous personal care products, because it has been shown to help select for organisms that show antibiotic resistance not just to triclosan but also to a multitude of other antibiotics. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to improve understanding of the role of triclosan in selecting for antibiotic resistant bacteria during the municipal wastewater treatment process.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactors were constructed and operated in triplicate at four different concentrations of triclosan (0 µg/L, 1 µg/L, 5 µg/L , and 15 µg/L). After six weeks of operation, biomass was harvested and used for 12 discrete sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) and operated them for a total of six weeks. Chemical analysis of the biomass for triclosan concentrations confirmed that the cultures were grown over the expected range of triclosan concentrations. Metagenomic DNA was extracted and purified from the biomass from these laboratory-scale cultures. Bacterial community composition was characterized by PCR of 16S rRNA genes followed by DNA sequencing using Illumina MiSeq. Results demonstrated that bacterial community composition shifted in a statistically significant fashion in response to higher triclosan doses. Direct DNA sequencing of metagenomic DNA demonstrated that only a few antibiotic resistance genes were overrepresented in the cultures with high triclosan concentrations compared to those with low triclosan concentrations. Specifically, tet(R) and tet(A) genes were overrepresented in the 5 µg/L triclosan treatment; tet(R), tet(A), tet(X), msrE, and sul1 were overrepresented in the 15 µg/L triclosan treatments. No statistical difference was observed for more than 2,100 other antibiotic resistance genes. Metagenomic DNA was also directly cloned and introduced into E. coli to select for functional antibiotic resistance genes. Each of the resulting clone libraries averaged 20,000 clones, the equivalent of more than 1300 bacterial genomes. All libraries were selected for genes conferring resistance to a panel of antibiotics. Sequence analysis indicated that the enzymes encoded by the resistance genes ranged from 57 to 100 percent identical to the closest matching proteins in the GenBank database. Many of these genes were found adjacent to each other on single DNA molecules. Two clones contained multiple resistance genes on integrons in arrangements that have not been previously reported in the literature.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Results from this project have been presented at Microbe 2016, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology and at the Functional Metagenomics 2016 conference in Inderøy, Norway. Manuscripts are currently being written for publication in the peer-reviewed archival literature.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Evaluation of Wasterwater Nitrogen and Estrogen Treatment Options
Subd. 03d     $500,000 TF

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

Phone:  (612) 626-9846
Email:  novak010@umn.edu
Web: http://www.cege.umn.edu/directory/faculty-directory/novak.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$500,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to examine the performance of new wastewater contaminant treatment options under Minnesota weather conditions in order to understand how to improve wastewater treatment of nitrogen and estrogenic compounds, decrease costs and energy use, and safeguard aquatic species. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Wastewater treatment plants discharge effluent that contains contaminants of emerging concern, such as estrogens. Estrogens have been shown to cause ecological effects such as fish feminization and fish population collapses. Presently the treatment and discharge of estrogens into the environment via wastewater treatment is not regulated. However, it has been found that the extent of estrogen discharge from wastewater treatment correlates with how and how well nitrogen, which currently is regulated and will likely be more so in the future, is removed during the treatment process. Thus more effective nitrogen removal processes have the potential to also ensure more effective removal of estrogens. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to determine how different nitrogen removal processes perform under a variety of weather conditions with respect to how well they remove both nitrogen and estrogenic compounds in order to help improve wastewater treatment of nitrogen and estrogenic compounds.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2017

Work Plan (PDF)


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Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Minnesota Lakes
Subd. 03e     $300,000 TF

William Arnold
U of M
122 Civil Engineering Building
500 Pillsbury Dr SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (612) 625-8582
Email:  arnol032@umn.edu
Web: www.cege.umn.edu/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to quantify the relationship between antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Minnesota lakes to determine if improved wastewater treatment is necessary to protect human and aquatic health. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Through various means, human produced chemicals can make their way into surface waters where they can have adverse effects on the function of ecological communities. Of particular concern are antibiotics and other antimicrobial substances because they have the potential to create increased antibiotic resistance. While there is a background level of naturally occurring antibiotic resistance in the natural world, elevated or persistent levels caused by human activities have the potential to harm human, animal, and overall ecosystem health. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to quantify and compare the levels within lakes of naturally occurring antibiotic compounds versus those resulting from human actions to delineate the role of each in creating antibiotic resistant bacteria and determine the extent to which improved wastewater treatment could contribute to controlling the amount of antibiotics and antibiotic resistant genes within the environment.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Antibiotics are substances that stop the growth of or kill bacteria. Animal agriculture and human medicine are the largest consumers of antibiotics worldwide. A fraction of the antibiotic administered is excreted in its original form through urine and/or feces. These residues reach aquatic environments through the discharge of wastewater effluent or drainage and surface runoff from agricultural fields to which manure has been applied. The presence of antibiotics in the environment are of concern, because these chemicals may select for and proliferate the occurrence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). ARGs allow bacteria to survive in the presence of an antibiotic. Heavy metals are also known to co-select for ARGs. The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the major threats to global health. The increase in the prevalence of antibiotic resistant infections, coupled with the decrease in the development of new antibiotics, emphasize the need for new strategies to better understand antibiotic resistance.

The goal of the project is to quantify the current and historical levels of selected human and veterinary antibiotic compounds and genes that code for their resistance in lake sediments. Sediment cores collected for three anthropogenically-impacted Minnesota lakes (Lake Pepin, Duluth Harbor, and Lake Winona) and a control lake in Superior National Forest (Little Wilson Lake) were radiometrically dated. The twenty antibiotics included in this study have a mixture of human and/or agricultural uses, some are known natural products, and they span several of the major classifications (sulfonamides, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, macrolides).

Sediment cores were successful at capturing the usage trends of ten antibiotics. The initial appearance of antibiotics in the sediment core generally agreed with the FDA approval date, which provided further confidence in the dating of the sediment cores and the ability of sediment cores to capture antibiotic usage trends. Ofloxacin, trimethoprim, sulfapyridine, and sulfamethazine were the only antibiotics to be detected in all three anthropogenically-impacted studied lakes with levels up to 91.7, 2.5, 13.1, and 5 ng g-1, respectively. Human-use antibiotics were detected more frequently and at higher concentrations than antibiotics used for veterinary medicine. Also, the degree of antibiotic pollution appeared to be a function of treated wastewater impact. Lake Winona was the most heavily wastewater impacted lake in the study (approximately 63% of the inflow is treated wastewater effluent) and had the highest concentrations and greatest number of antibiotics detected. Treated municipal wastewater is likely the primary contributor to antibiotic pollution in the studied lakes.

The abundance of 48 antibiotic, metal, and antibiotic-associated resistance genes were quantified in the sediment cores with detected levels ranging from 103 to 108 gene copies per gram. Most ARGs included in this study, however, were not consistently quantifiable throughout the sediment cores. Similar concentrations of blaSHV, cadA, copA, intI1, and mexB were measured amongst the sediment cores, but Lake Winona had higher levels of sul3 and tet(A) compared to the other lakes. ARGs levels did not appear to be a function of sediment core depth, and thus the measured levels are at or close to natural, indigenous background levels of the studied genes. Also, (unlike the antibiotics studied) ARG abundance did not appear to be a function of agricultural activity or degree of wastewater impact. Therefore, ARG abundance in the studied lakes is likely not influenced by antibiotic usage, but rather may be influenced by the presence of heavy metals that are known to co-select for ARGs.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
This project led to the production of chapters in the PhD dissertations of both Kyle Sandberg and Jill Kerrigan. Manuscripts will be submitted to the journals Science of the Total Environment and Environment Science and Technology Letters. Copies of manuscripts will be provided upon publication. The results of this work have been presented at least nine times at national and local conferences.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Impacts of Estrogen Exposure on Minnesota's Shallow Lake Wildlife
Subd. 03f     $136,000 TF

Kurt Illig
St. Thomas University
2115 Summit Ave, OWS 352
St. Paul, MN 55105

Phone:  (651) 962-5273
Email:  krillig@stthomas.edu
Web: http://www.stthomas.edu/biology/faculty/kurt-r-illig.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$136,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the University of St. Thomas to use biological samples already gathered from shallow lakes across Minnesota to determine the environmental estrogen exposure impacts on aquatic wildlife in shallow lakes for enhanced land and lake management. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Endocrine-disrupting contaminants such as environmental estrogens have been found and studied in large lakes and streams and shown to exist at concentrations that have adverse effects on wildlife. However, very little is known about the sources and effects of environmental estrogens in small, shallow lakes. Preliminary data suggests that these compounds are present in shallow lakes and have an effect on the survival and reproduction of wildlife. Researchers at the University of St. Thomas are using this appropriation to determine the extent to which aquatic wildlife in shallow lakes are being exposed to environmental estrogens, the land-use practices that correlate with exposure, and the amount of detrimental impact that exposure creates in order to enhance land and water management practices.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Minnesota’s shallow lakes play an important role in the ecosystem by providing clean water, recharging groundwater stores, and sequestering chemical and soil runoff. These lakes also benefit citizens, both by providing opportunities for recreation (e.g., fishing, swimming) and by providing economic value as a site for various commercial ventures (e.g., summer camps, fisheries). Endocrine-disrupting contaminants, including environmental estrogens (EEs) are present in Minnesota’s larger lakes and streams at concentrations which have adverse impacts on wildlife. However, very little is known about the sources and effects of EEs in small, shallow lakes. Importantly, the use of surrounding land and associated lake management practices may influence or exacerbate the effects of contaminants in these systems. By developing an assay that allows us to look at levels of EE exposure in the painted turtle, we have found that lakes across Minnesota have widely different chemical makeup, and that turtles in these lakes show different levels of exposure. By examining the brains of these animals, we have discovered that the size of certain structures related to reproduction is highly correlated with EE exposure. We are now examining the relationship between land-use practices in lake watersheds and the chemical makeup of these lakes.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
We presented work resulting from our efforts to develop a species-specific measure for VTG in painted turtles at the Midwest Regional Chapter meeting of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in April, 2017. We presented work that describes the relationship between VTG levels and brain structure at the North American Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry annual meeting in November, 2017.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Watershed-Scale Monitoring of Long-Term Best Management Practice Effectiveness
Subd. 03g     $900,000 TF

Daniel Engstrom
Science Museum of Minnesota
St. Croix Watershed Research Station
16910 152nd St N
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Phone:  (651) 433-5953
Email:  dengstrom@smm.org
Web: http://www.smm.org/scwrs/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$900,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Science Museum of Minnesota for the St. Croix Watershed Research Station to evaluate the effectiveness of best management practices in reducing sediment and nutrient loads at watershed scales over long time periods. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Minnesota has widespread water quality impairments due to nonpoint-source pollution generated by agricultural, urban, and other human-altered lands. Mitigation of these impairments requires implementing best management practices (BMPs) that are designed to limit soil erosion and nutrient transport from lands to receiving waters. Long-term data sets of water quality and land-use history are needed to tease apart the many factors that affect water quality. In particular, data sets that span periods before and after BMP implementation are needed to determine BMP effectiveness. However, such data sets are lacking because water quality monitoring of our lakes and rivers did not begin until well after humans altered the landscape. To fill this data gap, Researchers at the Science Museum of Minnesota's St. Croix Watershed Research Station are using this appropriation to construct long-term historical water quality records through analysis of lake sediments in order to enable better determination of the effectiveness of BMPs on improving water quality.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Nonpoint-source pollution (NPS) by sediment and nutrients represents the greatest human impact to Minnesota surface waters, especially in agricultural regions, yet monitoring records are too short to demonstrate the magnitude of the impact or potential benefits of best-management practices (BMPs). To fill this knowledge gap, our project used sediment cores, land-use compilations, and watershed modeling to reconstruct the long-term record of how land use has contributed to sediment and nutrient pollution in our rivers and lakes, and whether BMPs have been effective in reducing this pollution. Watershed erosion gradually fills in lakes over time, and so lake-sediment accumulation provides a record of watershed-scale erosion rates and changes.

We first re-analyzed statewide data from 142 lakes in our extensive lake-core archive. We then selected 14 lakes from the southern half of Minnesota for intensive analysis, collected 57 sediment cores from these lakes, and analyzed over 4,000 samples from these cores to determine the accumulation rates of sediment and phosphorus over the past 150 years. Radioisotope analysis determined the sediment age and source, whether from fields or stream channels. The results confirm that sediment erosion increased from the time of settlement in concert with increased cropland and the subsequent replacement of hay and small grains by corn and soybean row crops. In our intensive study lakes, sediment accumulation increased 2-10 (average 6) times over natural (pre-settlement) rates, and phosphorus accumulation increased 2-8 (average 5) times over natural rates. Radioisotopic fingerprinting indicated most of the lake sediment originated from fields, which is in contrast to our larger rivers such as the Minnesota, where bluffs and stream banks are the major erosion sources. Watershed modeling linked soil erosion to lake-sediment accumulation and confirmed that while BMPs produce beneficial results, they are overwhelmed by increases in row-crop acreage. We conclude that Minnesota needs to look beyond conventional BMPs towards putting more perennials in our croplands to achieve substantial water-quality improvement.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Presentations have been given to the following groups in the Twin Cities and in out-state Minnesota: Clean Water Council; “Moving the Needle” taskforce to follow up on Governor Dayton’s Water Summit; Working Lands group, as organized by BWSR; Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance; Chippewa Watershed “10% Project”; Isaac Walton League (joint meeting for southern Minnesota chapters); Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance; Friends of the Mississippi River; Upper Mississippi River Conservation Alliance (in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); Friends of the Star Prairie Land Preservation Trust; Great Lakes Protection Commission (national meeting). A special session is planned for this year’s Minnesota Water Conference on “The Need for and Potential of Creating Markets for BMPs” where project results will be discussed. Finally, a series of fact sheets will summarize the main components of the project for water-resource managers and an educated lay audience.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Protection of State's Confined Drinking Water Aquifers
Subd. 03h     $394,000 TF

Jared Trost
US Geological Survey
2280 Woodale Dr
Mounds View, MN 55112

Phone:  (763) 783-3205
Email:  jtrost@usgs.gov
Web: http://mn.water.usgs.gov/index.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$394,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the United States Geological Survey to test methods of defining properties of confined drinking water aquifers in order to improve water management. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
The groundwater contained in confined glacial aquifers provides clean drinking water to many Minnesota residents. An important factor affecting the long-term sustainability of these aquifers is how water infiltrates through clayey deposits of overlying glacial till, which act as barriers to contaminants but also limit water flow and aquifer recharge. Very little is actually known about the properties and infiltration of water through till, which hinders the ability to accurately define the sustainability of these aquifers. The United States Geological Survey is using this appropriation to test methods for assessing and defining the hydrologic properties of glacial till in order to understand the role it plays in the long-term sustainability of groundwater.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Confined (or buried) aquifers overlain by till confining units provide drinking water to thousands of Minnesota residents. These till confining units are typically conceptualized as having very low potential for transmitting water. Thus, buried aquifers are thought to be less susceptible to surface contamination, but may recharge very slowly and may be prone to unsustainable groundwater withdrawals. This study was completed to give insight to the susceptibility and sustainability of the groundwater resources being withdrawn from confined aquifer systems in Minnesota. A combination of hydrologic field measurements, geochemical analyses, and modeling techniques were used to quantify the variability of hydrologic properties and flux of water through till confining units to buried aquifers at two representative sites in Minnesota. Glacial deposits of the Des Moines Lobe were characterized in Litchfield, Minnesota and glacial deposits of the Superior Lobe were characterized in Cromwell, Minnesota.

A conceptual understanding emerges from the field measurements at the two sites that till “layers” in the glacial deposits of the Des Moines and Superior Lobes in Minnesota are not really continuous layers, but rather a complex series of sediment mixtures with differing abilities to transmit water. The hydrologic field measurements and geochemical analysis demonstrated large variations in till confining unit properties over relatively small vertical and horizontal distances, underscoring the challenges of assessing the susceptibility and sustainability of groundwater resources in confined aquifer systems.

Many waters in Minnesota are under threat of nutrient contamination from anthropogenic activities such as row-crop agriculture. This study provided some evidence that till confining units may be effective at reducing the susceptibility of buried aquifers to nitrate contamination, but may be a source of phosphorus. Data from Litchfield show that chloride is present in elevated concentrations where nitrate is not, despite abundant agriculture in the surrounding area. This suggests that denitrification may be occurring within the till; previous studies have demonstrated denitrification in Des Moines lobe tills (Simpkins and Parkin, 1993; Parkin and Simpkins, 1995). Phosphorus, though present at depth, particularly in Cromwell, is likely geologic rather than anthropogenic in origin.

The conceptual modeling demonstrates the importance of having accurate information, about the hydrogeologic setting (particularly about the vertical hydraulic conductivity of overlying till, the areal extent of the buried aquifer, and the lateral connectivity of the buried aquifer to other aquifers) when evaluating the sustainability of pumping water from confined aquifer systems. Over long periods of time, pumping-induced hydraulic gradients can be established in buried aquifer systems and, even in low hydraulic conductivity tills, these gradients could induce flow that affects surface-water resources. The source of water entering a buried aquifer that is being pumped can be highly variable, depending on the overlying till vertical hydraulic conductivities and the lateral connectivity of buried aquifer to adjacent till and aquifers. A sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the simulation of the source of water to wells is most sensitive to the vertical hydraulic conductivity of the overlying till, the areal extent of the aquifer, and the connectivity of the horizontal hydraulic conductivity of geologic materials adjacent to the aquifer.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
As the result of this project, 4 publications were produced and 1 in preparation. A total of 9 presentations were given to audiences; 5 presentations at professional meetings and 4 public presentations.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Minnesota Geological Survey Report (PDF)
MDH Cromwell Well Aquifer Test (PDF)
MDH Litchfield Well Aquifer Test (PDF)


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Watershed Water Budgets for Managing Minnesota's Groundwater
Subd. 03i     $129,000 TF

Erik A. Smith
US Geological Survey
2280 Woodale Dr
Mounds View, MN 55112

Phone:  (612) 419-4777
Email:  easmith@usgs.gov
Web: http://mn.water.usgs.gov/index.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$129,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the United States Geological Survey to create a pilot study to calculate complete watershed water budgets for two counties in Minnesota for enhanced groundwater management. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Effective groundwater management requires accurate knowledge about the water budget, which is the amount of water stored within the system in aquifers and the amount of water flowing through the overall hydrologic system including water flowing at the surface, water flowing from above ground down into aquifers, and water flowing between aquifers below the surface. While groundwater storage can be generally well understood and there is good knowledge about surface water flow, there is not usually a strong understanding about the water flowing down from the surface to aquifers and below the surface between different aquifers. The United States Geological Survey is using this appropriation to pilot a method intended to better calculate the groundwater flow component of the hydrologic system in order to provide information that will improve knowledge about water sustainability and the interaction between surface and ground water. The method will be piloted in watersheds in St. Louis and Goodhue counties.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
A new visual mapping technique that illustrates the relative and cumulative streamflow contributions from across a large watershed was developed for two pilot areas in Minnesota: Cannon River and St. Louis River. Both areas were selected because of mining-related activities. For the Cannon River, for the surficial sand mining, and for the St. Louis River, for the ongoing iron ore mining of the Mesabi Iron Range. Each large watershed (Cannon, St. Louis) was sub-divided into a series of much smaller sub-watersheds (Cannon: 153; St. Louis: 353). For each sub-watershed, the estimated groundwater (as baseflow) and surface runoff fluxes flowing into all surface-water features was summed under different typical conditions, such as drought or flood conditions. Downstream sub-watersheds aggregate upstream surface-water flows in addition to baseflow and surface runoff directly from the sub-watershed. These maps, termed as streamflow distribution maps, can help illustrate sub-watersheds that are vulnerable due to either groundwater or surface-water appropriations, particularly under drought conditions.

For each pilot watershed, a series of the streamflow distribution maps were developed at selected flow regimes: extreme drought conditions, drought conditions, an average condition, and a flood condition. Each pilot watershed is displayed as a single map sheet with the four flow regimes as separate panels for ease of comparison. The selected streamflow distribution maps illustrate streamflow contributions from different parts of the watershed for typical conditions, not necessarily the contribution for any particular time. These maps will provide a tool for State cooperators, such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, for proactive water management and water-use sustainability. Furthermore, by highlighting the sub-watersheds in terms of surface-water flows, the streamflows can be evaluated in the context of meeting specific ecological flows under different flow regimes and potentially assist with decisions regarding groundwater and surface-water appropriations.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The new visual mapping technique will be summarized in a U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map (SIM). The SIM series includes map sheets and an accompanying report to discuss the methodology for creating the map products. In the case of this study, the SIM will include the following: (1) separate map sheets for each watershed (Cannon River, St. Louis River) that includes four panels of selected flow regimes: extreme drought, drought, mean flow, and flood; (2) the accompanying report with included tables and figures that support the map construction; (3) three separate model archives related to the mapping work. The web locations for the Scientific Investigations Map and model archives will be included with the final report, expected to be completed by November 2017. With this final workplan update/progress report, a complete draft of the SIM and the accompanying map sheets has been included. By the requirement of U.S. Geological Survey guidelines, all materials used in the construction of these maps will be made available through public webpage (https://www.usgs.gov/) upon release of the final SIM report.

The U.S. Geological Survey also organized two phone calls during the project timeline to interface with key partners from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). These meetings were meant to ensure that the mapping products produced from the project would meet their needs, and the USGS project team did adapt some of the final products to make the maps more useful. Keen interest was shown in the final products, and upon release of the final Scientific Investigations Map, the lead project managers (Erik Smith and Chris Sanocki) will be meeting again with key MNDNR and MPCA to develop next steps for other watersheds in the State.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Streamflow Distribution Maps Report (PDF)
Cannon River drainage basin Soil-Water-Balance model data set (Link)
St. Louis River drainage basin Soil-Water-Balance model data set (Link)


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Identifying Causes of Exceptionally High Mercury in Fish
Subd. 03j     $743,000 TF

Bruce Monson
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Rd N
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 757-2579
Email:  bruce.monson@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.pca.state.mn.us

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$743,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency to quantify the probable causes of high mercury levels in fish within the Roseau River and two tributaries of the Red River of the North by comparing mercury movements within watersheds to understand the drivers of mercury biomagnifications in the food web of rivers with similarly high mercury levels and to guide further mercury reduction initiatives. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Most mercury in Minnesota waters is deposited from the atmosphere as a byproduct of burning coal and other compounds. Once in the environment, mercury can convert to a form called methylmercury where it bioaccumulates up the food chain from microscopic plants and animals to fish and then to humans and wildlife that consume the fish. The first step in solving the problem of mercury in fish is reducing the sources of mercury entering waters. Significant efforts are underway to reduce the amount of mercury released from human sources such as smokestacks and wastewater discharge, which will address the majority of the mercury entering the environment. However, there are a percentage of watersheds where mercury appears to have enhanced concentrations due to factors that are particular to the ecology of a watershed and not mainly driven by the amount of mercury entering the watershed. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is using this appropriation to better understand the probable causes of high mercury levels in fish in watersheds where atmospheric deposition alone does not account for the high mercury levels in order to determine what additional measures beyond source reduction can be taken to reduce mercury levels in those watersheds.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This study investigated probable causes of higher mercury levels in fish in certain mercury-impaired Minnesota rivers. We hypothesized that these high fish-mercury concentrations are caused by increased efficiency of mercury transmission to fish. To evaluate this, we measured mercury flow through the watershed, conversion of mercury to methylmercury, and accumulation of methylmercury in the riverine food web. The first two processes determine mercury availability to the food web, while the structure of the food web also determines mercury in fish.

The project focused on the Roseau River, in the Red River Basin, with comparison measurements in six other rivers. Also in the Red River Basin, Thief River was chosen for its similarity and proximity and the Mustinka River because of its relatively low fish-mercury levels. The other rivers had high mercury levels in fish, similar to Roseau, but differed in watershed land cover and water chemistry. Data collection for this project is complete, but data analysis will continue.

Mustinka had the lowest methylmercury levels, and the lowest rates of conversion of inorganic mercury to methylmercury (methylation). Roseau and Thief Rivers had the highest methylmercury levels in water and biota, showing increasing methylmercury in the food web from upstream to downstream locations.

Although analysis of results will continue over the next several years, the preliminary results seem to indicate the dominant cause of high mercury in the food webs differ among the rivers and even within rivers. Organic carbon has a predominant role in transporting mercury, but inhibiting uptake by the food web. For instance, methylmercury levels in Vermilion River fish were similar to Roseau River, but levels in the water were much lower in Vermilion. Lake Vermilion appears to retain mercury before water flows to the Vermilion River; however, low organic carbon in the river allows more methylmercury available for uptake by the biota.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Six presentations were completed by June 30, 2017, two poster presentations at the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant and four presentations at various scientific conferences. Three manuscripts are proposed for publication. When the data are compiled, analyzed, and reported, completed publications will be shared with LCCMR.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Reducing Lake Quality Impairments through Citizen Action
Subd. 03k     $59,000 TF

Jen Kader
Freshwater Society
2424 Territorial Road Suite B
Saint Paul, MN 55114

Phone:  (651) 313-5807
Email:  jkader@freshwater.org
Web: http://www.freshwater.org

Appropriation Language
$59,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Freshwater Society to train lake associations and other stakeholder groups to develop lake management plans and to implement science-based, citizen-led water quality improvement projects on impaired lakes in west central Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Many lakes in Minnesota are classified as "impaired" for aquatic recreation and aquatic life as the result of nonpoint source pollution. These impairments can be addressed by the citizens that live by and have a vested interest in these water bodies, but there is often a lack of knowledge and resources to take effective action. The Freshwater Society is using this appropriation to train citizen groups in lake ecology and management in order to guide them in implementing water quality improvement projects for their local water bodies.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Since 2000, more than 400 lake associations have participated in the Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership (HLRP) program founded by Don Hickman of the Initiative Foundation and now run by Freshwater Society. HLRP is a program designed to help lake associations across the state identify and work towards the priorities they have for their water body, one county at a time. The round of HLRP funded through LCCMR allowed for collaboration with Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District, with specific attention focused on helping to align lake plans with County Water Plans so that local efforts could help to achieve county water quality goals.

In the last year and a half, four lake associations from Otter Tail County participated in a 2-day training covering the importance of lake planning, engaged in a Freshwater Society-led participatory planning process to define lake-specific and community-identified goals and strategies, drafted and finalized a Lake Management Plan specific to their lake (copies included in report), and began implementing those plans. These groups now have in their hands documents which detail specific stresses, threats, and opportunities for their lakes generated by RMB Laboratories, a clear indication of the shared vision of the community, and a 2-5 year action plan with steps they identified to help them realize these goals. Additionally, each group understands the resources that are out there to help them along the way, and has received $5,000 of seed funds to get them started from West Central Initiative.

The four participatory planning sessions engaged a total of 184 lake residents from the county, and countless volunteer hours from the boards of the four lake associations to produce their own lake management plan for lakes representing hundreds of Minnesotans who have clear, community-identified goals and action plans to improve the health of their lakes.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
As a requirement for the final distribution of funds from West Central Initiative, all groups needed to send their final Lake Management Plans to East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District. The groups are also planning to distribute the final versions to their member residents and local elected officials in one way or another. This may include a mailing of a portion of the plan, loading the final copy to the website, or providing a small supply to volunteer leaders within the association. Additionally, the Project Manager sent final plans to West Central Initiative so they could see how the funding was going to be used. Freshwater Society will also keep copies of the plan on file to be given to other interested persons upon request.

A blog post describing the project and outcomes will be published by Freshwater Society in coming months, and the project website will be updated to reflect the closure of the project and goals identified by the groups. Each lake association has been asked to check in with updates so that we may share how LCCMR funding has contributed to the success of community-led efforts to improve local water resources.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Lake Management Plan for Lake Six (PDF)
Lake Management Plan for Big McDonald Lake (PDF)
Lake Management Plan for Wall Lake (PDF)
Lake Management Plan for Lake Lida (PDF)


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Rainwater Reuse and Valuation Investigation
Subd. 03l     $300,000 TF

Scott Alexander
U of MN
310 Pillsbury Dr SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (612) 626-4164
Email:  alexa017@umn.edu
Web: http://www.esci.umn.edu/orgs/geofluids/people_scott_alexander_home.html

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to design, install, and monitor a rainwater reuse system for use in evaporative chiller systems and identify other potential applications for rainwater reuse systems.

Project Overview
Rainfall runoff in urban areas contributes to localized flooding and washes contaminants and excess nutrients downstream affecting water quality. Systems to mitigate these problems can be challenging to implement in urban areas due to existing infrastructure and competing demands for land use. However, one option is to find alternative applications for the excess rainwater and use it replace the potable water that is currently being used for certain purposes. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to evaluate alternative uses for captured rainwater. In particular the project will design and install a rainwater reuse system for integration into evaporative chiller systems, which are common in large buildings and currently account for a significant portion of summer water usage at these sites, and examine other potential reuses for rainwater, such as for toilet flushing and industrial processes.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project evaluated rain water as a source for evaporative chillers and process water. Rain water has low dissolved solids and is better suited as process feed water than groundwater derived waters. The project investigated the utility of capturing high purity water that would otherwise contribute to excessive runoff, localized flooding, and downstream nutrient and contaminant transport.

Harvested rain water was run through an evaporative concentrator simulating operation of commercial evaporative chiller systems. In contrast to conventional systems which required complete replacement of the system water after 3 to 4 cycles the rain water fed systems could run more than 30 cycles without replacement. After 30 cycles of evaporation the accumulated dissolved solids were still not precipitating minerals, especially calcite. In conventional systems mineral deposits must be prevented by the addition of chemicals and/or removed by acid washes in addition to frequent water replacement.

Based on the much smaller volume of feed water required with rain water, estimates of the seasonal chiller demand, roof area, rain fall rates, and storage volume can be made with a spreadsheet tool developed as part of this project. The required volume of water can be as little as 10% of the volume of ground water derived drinking water required for current systems. The costs of a roof water capture and treatment system is partially offset by savings on potable drinking water and to a larger extent by reducing the cost of other storm water retention and detention systems.

As part of a literature review other potential ways rain water can advantageously replace potable water were investigated ranging from toilet flushing, laundry, industrial processes, and anywhere the naturally dilute nature of rain water is an advantage. Traditional plumbing codes and definitions of gray water need to be updated to consider the relative cleanliness of roof run-off. In fact, many regions of the world where there is limited fresh water collect rain water as their sole drinking water source.

Unfortunately, a demonstration system designed for the UM campus could not be constructed within the project timelines, leaving a significant portion the grant funds unspent.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Results were provided as a future addendum to the Minnesota Storm Water Manual in coordination with UM Extension Service. A journal article covering the potential for rain water reuse in commercial evaporative chiller systems is in review. We are working with local watershed districts, engineers, and architects to identify potential sites for rain water reuse systems in commercial settings. Presentations of this work have been made to the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization in Minneapolis and the Capital Region Watershed District in St. Paul.

Presently rain water is being used at the 17th Ave Residence Hall where roof runoff is stored for reuse in toilet flushing and at the Landcare Building where a cistern stores storm water for irrigation. Results from these systems show that rain water quality declines rapidly from pure rain water to roof runoff to street level runoff. Finding ways to capture the cleanest fractions of rain water for reuse this water instead of simply dumping it to the river is critical. Options for rain water reuse are particularly important where underground conditions limit infiltration of storm water and dense urban areas where there is no room for conventional storm water management systems.

We have been in discussion with local storm water professionals and consulting firms about the use of rain water. Of particular interest are retail settings, like large shopping centers, that produce detrimental amounts of storm runoff but are resistant to giving up parking space for storm water management. These same retail areas use large evaporative chillers systems that consume significant ground water resources. In addition, rain water has great potential as feed for industrial process water. In particular, rain water can be easily polished through filtration and reverse osmosis to produce high purity water.

Project completed: 6/30/2017 [Extended in M.L. 2016, Chapter 186]

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Measuring Hydrologic Benefits from Glacial Ridge habitat Restoration
Subd. 03m     $168,000 TF

Myron Jesme
Red Lake Watershed District
100 Pennington Avenue South
Thief River Falls, MN 56701

Phone:  (218) 681-5800
Email:  jesme@wiktel.com
Web: http://www.redlakewatershed.org/default.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$168,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Red Lake Watershed District and the United States Geological Survey for completion of the analysis of flooding and water-quality benefits resulting from wetland and prairie restorations at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge.

Project Overview
Since 2000, a diverse group of partners has been collectively working in northwestern Minnesota on one of the largest prairie-wetland restorations in the world. Spanning 22,000 acres and adjacent to an additional 16,000 acres of public and private conservation land, the goal of the Glacial Ridge Project has been to demonstrate whether large-scale habitat restoration is a viable way to reduce flooding and improve water quality. Prior to beginning restoration efforts on the project, a comprehensive baseline hydrologic study of the area was completed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Red Lake Watershed District and USGS are using this appropriation to complete a post restoration study that will quantify and evaluate the amount of flood reduction, water-quality improvement, and ecosystem-function change that has resulted from the wetland and prairie restoration efforts at Glacial Ridge. This information will be used to guide future restoration efforts throughout the state and beyond.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
A comparison between the hydrology of the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge before and after wetland and prairie restoration shows substantial changes in flows of water through the hydrologic cycle, in behavior of overland runoff and ditchflow during storms, and in water quality. Within the 6 basins measured for this study, the area of cropland decreased by 14 percent, the area of wetlands increased by 6 percent, and the area of native prairie increase by 19 percent between 2002 and 2015 due to restorations. During the same period, hydrologic changes had the benefits of decreasing runoff rate (-33 percent, as a proportion of precipitation) and ditchflow rate(-23 percent) and improving water quality as measured by nitrate concentration (surficial groundwater median: -79 percent, ditchwater median: -53 percent) and suspended sediment in ditchwater (-64 percent) within the study area. Peak ditchflow from storms decreased, ditchflow recessions lengthened, and baseflow from groundwater discharge increased, though only a small amount. These changes reduce the amount of water leaving the study area through ditches, reducing flows that contribute to flooding.

Neither the density of restorations nor the beneficial changes in hydrology were evenly distributed throughout the study area. Amount of hydrologic benefits within an individual ditch basin did not correlate directly with amount of restoration in that basin. This is likely because of complicating factors within each basin like the kind of land restored, the amount of surficial aquifer, the amount of remaining ditches, and the density of closed wetland and lake basins.

An analysis of landscape characteristics that correlated with hydrologic benefits in the study area showed that area of surficial aquifer and area of drained wetlands are most important. Surficial aquifers provide a groundwater reservoir that can reduce runoff and slowly release water as baseflow to streams. Drained wetlands simply provide the opportunity for restoration of closed basins, which reduces streamflow. Areas with the highest density of surficial aquifers and drained wetlands have the highest potential for hydrologic benefits from prairie and wetland restoration. In western Minnesota, these areas are the uplands the Alexandria Moraine Complex and the beaches of Glacial Lake Agassiz on the eastern side of the western third of Minnesota, north of Wilmar, MN (Cowdery and others, 2017).

Cowdery, T.K., Christenson, C.A., and Zeigwied, J.R., 2017, The hydrologic benefits of wetland and prairie restoration in western Minnesota: lessons learned at the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, 2002–15: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017-xxxx, in preparation.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The information generated by this grant will be documented in a U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report that is in preparation. A draft of the report is attached to the project workplan. We expect the final draft of the report will be completed by 15 August. 2017. The report must be reviewed and approved, which we expect will occur by 31 October 2017. Once published, we will issue press announcements of the project results regionally and nationally. Additionally, the information in this report will be presented at several scientific meetings including that of the Minnesota Groundwater Association, the Minnesota Water-Resources Conference, and at annual conference of either the Geological Society of America or the American Geophysical Union. Presentations of interim result from this project have already been presented at meetings of the Minnesota Groundwater Association, the past Minnesota Water-Resources Conferences.

Project completed: 6/30/2017 [Extended in M.L. 2015, Chapter 76]

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


Subd. 04  Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species


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Blocking Bighead, Silver, and Other Invasive Carp by Optimizing Lock and Dams
Subd. 04a     $854,000 TF

Peter Sorensen
U of MN
135 Skok Hall
2003 Upper Buford Circle
St Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-4997
Email:  soren003@umn.edu
Web: http://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/sorensen/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$854,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to collaborate with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to develop ways, including new technologies, to modify the operations of Lock and Dam Numbers 2 to 8 to optimize their ability to impede invasive carp movement into the Minnesota, St. Croix, and Mississippi Rivers. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Invasive carp species, including silver carp and bighead carp, are migrating north up the Mississippi River and pose threats to the native fish and aquatic ecosystems of Minnesota rivers and lakes where they can become established. While individual carp have been found in Minnesota, it is not presently believed that there are established breeding populations in the state. Nevertheless, the only current impediments to the upstream travel of carp into Minnesota waterways are the various lock and dam systems located between the Iowa border and the Twin Cities and these systems do not create a constant barrier to carp passage. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are using this appropriation to develop and test ways to modify and optimize the operations of the existing lock and dam systems in order to enhance their ability to deter and block carp passage without detrimentally affecting native fish or current lock and dam function. These efforts have the potential to delay or even prevent statewide invasion by invasive carp in Minnesota via the Mississippi River.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
We successfully collaborated with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and developed new ways and technologies to impede the upstream movement of invasive (bigheaded) carp through their locks and dams in the Mississippi River. Further, these approaches have now been implemented at Lock and Dam #8, which is the southernmost Lock and Dam in Minnesota and has thus been our focus. At this structure, dam spillway gate operating protocols were adjusted by the USACE to optimize their ability to stop carp and speakers added to the lock gates to deter carp with few effects on native fish. This is the first structure in the world to be so modified and our calculations suggest it now stops twice as many carp as it once did (well over 90%). Tentative plans for similar modifications to Lock and Dams #2 and #5 (the other most promising structures in Minnesota) have also been presented to the USACE for future deployment at their discretion. This progress was possible because we met all four objectives of this project: 1) we added speakers to Lock and Dam #1; 2) we quantified and published how well bigheaded carp swim (and thus what flows might stop them); 3) we developed and tested several new acoustic systems in the laboratory and field that stop carp but do not affect native fish ; and 4) we developed new solutions for the gates at Lock and Dam #2-8 and provided specific data (specific solutions) for Locks and Dams #5 and #2, the most promising structures of these.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Our findings were disseminated via several dozen presentations to both professional scientific and lay groups across both the state and country, as well as four peer-review publications in high quality international journals. The speakers we installed at Lock and Dam #8 are still operating where they stop carp and have inspired the USACE and USFWS to mount similar speaker systems elsewhere while the DNR funded studies of their performance. Meanwhile, the published data we generated on silver and bigheaded carp swimming performance serves as the foundation of computational models to guide changes in gate operations to stop carp. In addition, the sound systems we identified as having special promise for stopping carp are now being considered for installation as part of a proof-of-concept project in both Minnesota (ENRTF, USFWS) and either Illinois or Kentucky (USFWS). Finally, our computational models are guiding gate operations that are presently both stopping carp and reducing scour at Lock and Dam #8. There is active interest by the USFWS to deploy our work downstream to further protect our state and region.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Bubble Curtain Deflection Screen Diverts the Movement of both Asian and Common Carp (PDF)
Silver, bighead, and common carp orient to acoustic particle motion when avoiding a complex sound (PDF)
Swimming performance of adult bighead carp and silver carp (PDF)


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Bioacoustics to Detect, Deter and Eliminate Silver Carp
Subd. 04b     $262,000 TF

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

Phone:  (218) 726-7259
Email:  amensing@d.umn.edu
Web: http://www.d.umn.edu/biology/faculty/mensinger.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$262,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota-Duluth to develop bioacoustics technology for detection and early warning systems, capture and elimination methods, and deterrent systems for silver carp. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Silver carp are migrating north up the Mississippi River and pose threats to the native fish and aquatic ecosystems of Minnesota rivers and lakes where they can become established. Additionally, the unique jumping ability of silver carp also places recreational boaters in danger of being injured during collisions with airborne fish. However, it is believed that this jumping ability could potentially be exploited as a weakness to help detect, manage, and control silver carp populations. Researchers at the University of Minnesota - Duluth, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, are using this appropriation to develop bioacoustics technologies that use sound to stimulate silver carp jumping in order to assist with strategies for detection, capture, and deterrence.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2017

Work Plan (PDF)


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Northwest Minnesota Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pilot
Subd. 04c     $219,000 TF

Julie Goehring
Red River Basin Commission
1120 28th Ave N, Suite C
Fargo, ND 58102

Phone:  (701) 356-3183
Email:  Julie@redriverbasincommission.org
Web: http://www.redriverbasincommission.org

Appropriation Language
$219,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Red River Basin Commission to develop aquatic invasive species prevention strategies on a watershed scale and develop materials to sustain watershed scale decision-making and implementation. This initiative must be coordinated with the Department of Natural Resources and outdoor heritage fund activities for locally based invasive species control. Specific reporting and analysis of outcomes and findings of this alternative approach must be provided to enable duplication in other regions of the state.

Project Overview
Aquatic invasive species are a threat to the ecology and the recreational and economic viability of Minnesota's water resources. When an invasion is confined to a distinct lake or wetland, local government units will implement localized plans to address invasions. However, when a water body crosses jurisdictions, such as with river systems, to be effective a more coordinated, regional approach is necessary that is more attuned with the natural pathways for invasive species. The Red River Basin Commission is using this appropriation to pilot an effort to develop processes for addressing invasive species at a watershed scale using partnerships between local government units working collectively rather than individually. The pilot is intended to create a model for invasive species prevention that can be applied in other parts of the state.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) spread has become one of the top concerns as it threatens the recreational and economic viability of the surface water resources of the Red River of the North watershed. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Infested Waters report (2016), Zebra Mussels have invaded the Otter Tail, Pelican and Red River systems. The Local Governmental Units (LGU's) are implementing plans to address AIS issues at the county level, but introduction into our river systems necessitate a regional approach to education, outreach and management of AIS within the Red River of the North watershed. The goal of this pilot project was to expand AIS work from a largely county based process to a watershed scale through partnerships between LGU's. The project targeted three main watersheds, Buffalo, Otter Tail and Wild Rice, which make up the Red River drainage basins of Becker, Clay, Otter Tail and Wilkin Counties.

The project focused on three specific outcomes including 1) Coordination with LGU's to develop effective AIS communication and management. 2) Develop and distribute educational materials that support best management practices for AIS. 3) Expand and leverage opportunities to develop and deliver an AIS program based on best management practices that are replicable throughout the region.

The project made significant progress toward the coordination of the LGU's within the three watersheds and four counties. All endorsed the watershed approach and included this strategy in their local plans. The Red River Basin Commission staff met monthly for the duration of the project with AIS LGU's to integrate the watershed approach and worked directly with over 20 groups and 6,000 individuals including natural resource managers, lake property owners, students, teachers and researchers.

Educational materials and management resources including; AIS Risk Assessments for the targeted watersheds, an AIS mobile application, GIS based AIS maps, AIS identification cards, information brochures and promotional items and multiple surveys, presentations and ads were all developed and disseminated by the Red River Basin Commission for the watershed approach to AIS management as a result of the project.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Educational materials and management resources developed by the Red River Basin Commission were disseminated to local groups, state agencies, national and international AIS related peer groups through the Red River Basin Commission website, public presentations and educational workshops.

Additionally, targeted media messages included regionally branded print media and radio AIS promotions that run along with other timely water conservation messages daily during prime listening time were adopted for reaching a regional listening audience of 71,500 weekly.

The resources developed including the Aqua.mn mobile application - https://aqua.mn/ and website- http://www.redriverbasincommission.org/ are designed so citizens can access educational materials and resources with links back to county based resources, watershed partner resources and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources AIS tools and information.

The AIS Risk Assessments that use science, fact and logic to identify and quantify vectors of risk assist in planning for zebra mussel management. These assessments were shared with and are used by watershed districts, local units of government, lake associations and others, to support the prioritization of funding and activities, including inspection and decontamination, to curtail and prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other AIS species to Minnesota's lakes and rivers. The AIS Risk Assessment GIS Tool allows users to interactively explore the infestation risks of lakes and rivers in the project area, and visualize where aquatic invasive species have been sighted. It serves as a digital companion to the static maps generated in the reports. The AIS Risk Assessment GIS Tool can be accessed on ArcGIS Online via the link: http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=2a3a1ecbc1ca414b875c0b8feed7463a

The Red River Basin Commission lead efforts to collect, review and distribute current AIS survey data and watershed scale demographic data within the targeted project region. The survey initiatives were aimed to help determine the current knowledge, attitude and interest in AIS issues affecting Minnesota's lakes region. A final survey results report was shared with watershed districts, LGU's, lake associations and others and is attached to the LCCMR Final Report.

As a basin wide focused organization the Red River Basin Commission is continuing to take action in coordinating efforts between organizations focused on AIS. The Red River Basin Commission through the facilitation of the Red River AIS Technical and Science Team and multiple other working groups will continue to sustain and build upon the watershed scale AIS strategy for the Red River of the North International Watershed.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Wild Rice River Watershed: AIS Prioritization (PDF)
Otter Tail River Watershed: AIS Prioritization (PDF)
Pelican River Watershed: AIS Prioritization (PDF)
Early Detection Zebra Mussel Monitoring Project (PDF)


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Biosurveillance and Biocontrol of Emerald Ash Borer - Phase 2
Subd. 04d     $447,000 TF

Monika Chandler
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert St N
St Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 201-6537
Email:  Monika.Chandler@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/eab/eabbiocontrol.aspx

Appropriation Language
$447,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of agriculture in cooperation with the University of Minnesota to continue to monitor ash tree and emerald ash borer populations and expand the biological control implementation for emerald ash borer management. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive insect that has been decimating ash trees throughout the Great Lake states and is currently advancing into Minnesota where it threatens the nearly 1 billion ash trees that occur throughout the state - the second most in any state. Loss of these trees would devastate ecosystems throughout Minnesota and have major economic impacts for the forest products industry as well as through the costs associated with treatment, removal, and replacement of lost trees. Biological control - the use of a natural enemy of a species from its native habitat to help with control of that species - is currently the only promising long-term management strategy for EAB. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is using this appropriation to continue to implement and assess the effectiveness of a biocontrol method for EAB in Minnesota that involves the use of tiny, stingless wasps that are parasitoids of EAB.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Emerald ash borer (EAB) populations have grown slower than expected in the Twin Cities metro region. To date, the insect has not spread as quickly in Minnesota as in other states. We were able to characterize this growth phase well with the continuing study on the infestation core commenced in Phase I of this project. Using annual branch sampling, we showed that after a decade of EAB presence in the Twin Cities metro region, half of the trees in the core area still did not exhibit easily-detectable levels of EAB, and canopy conditions remained quite good. We expect that EAB mortality due to extreme cold during the winter of 2013-2014 helped slow population growth. This slow growth continued to buy the state valuable time for implementing biological control and engaging the public in the fight against this insect, two other important strategies funded by this project. An astounding total of 450,000 larval and egg parasitoids were released at 33 sites during Phases 1 and 2 of this project. We are pleased that we documented established, reproducing populations of biological control agents at 5 sites in 2 counties. To document this, both larval parasitoids and the egg parasitoids were recovered with methods involving debarking ash branches and trunks, bark sifting, yellow pan traps and larval dissection. We also documented a native parasitoid, Atanycolus simplex, which can also attack EAB. We engaged a total of 128 citizen scientists using the biosurveillance program with smokey winged beetle bandit wasps, and collected more than two dozen species of buprestid beetles brought back to the nests by these wasps. We recovered ten species of Agrilus (in addition to EAB), providing important survey information on what other potential damaging wood borers in this family are present in the state. Agrilus coxalis is killing oaks in California, for example, but we have not found it in Minnesota to date.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Our newly updated EAB management guidelines will be a valuable resource for people planning for or actively managing EAB. We incorporated findings from the project titled Improving EAB Detection in addition to Phase 1 and Phase 2 of our project. These guidelines provide information regarding EAB identification and reporting, detection methods and their relative efficiencies, recommended management tactics, including biocontrol, based on the infestation and site specifics. The guidelines will soon be available on MDA’s EAB webpages (https://www.mda.state.mn.us/emeraldashborer).

We will build upon our accomplishments and learning with Phase 3: Assessment and Citizen Engagement.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
UMN Wasp Watcher Training Materials (PDF)
UMN Wasp Watcher 2015 Field Report (PDF)
UMN Wasp Watcher 2016 Field Report (PDF)
UMN Wasp Watcher Pamphlet (PDF)
MDA EAB Management Guidelines (PDF)
MDA EAB Biocontrol Fact Sheet (PDF)
MDA Biological Control of EAB: Bark sifting for Oobius agrili (PDF)


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Mountain Pine Beetle Invasive Threat to Minnesota's Pines
Subd. 04e     $250,000 TF

Subd. 04e1     $175,000 TF
Brian Aukema
U of MN
1980 Folwell Avenue
St Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-1847
Email:  brianaukema@umn.edu
Web: https://www.forest-insects.umn.edu/

Subd. 04e2     $75,000 TF
Mark Abrahamson
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert St N
St Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (651) 201-6505
Email:  mark.abrahamson@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/home.aspx

Appropriation Language
$175,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota and $75,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of agriculture to survey for the presence and characterize the potential risk of the invasive mountain pine beetle to Minnesota's pine forests to inform early detection and rapid response. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Native to the western United States and Canada, mountain pine beetle is considered the most devastating forest insect in North America. Trees usually die as a result of infestation and an unprecedented outbreak in the west is currently decimating pine forests there. While mountain pine beetle is not presently believed to reside in Minnesota, there are risks posed by an expanding species range resulting from warming climate and the potential for accidental introduction via lumber imports from infested areas. It is estimated that Minnesota currently has about 200 million trees that would be susceptible to mountain pine beetle if it should become established here and loss of those trees would threaten wildlife habitat, water quality protection, and recreation. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are using this appropriation to survey state locations for the presence of mountain pine beetle and to characterize the risk posed by the insect to Minnesota pine species. If detected early enough isolated populations of mountain pine beetle may be possible to control and a better understanding of how Minnesota's particular pine species might react to the insect would guide future management response strategies.

U of M Project: OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Native to the western United States and Canada, mountain pine beetle is the most devastating forest insect in North America, impacting almost 125 million acres of western mature pine forests to date. Mountain pine beetle reproduces under the bark in the water conducting tissues of many species of pines. During outbreaks, mountain pine beetles must kill their trees in order to reproduce and prefer live, vigorous, large-diameter trees. Minnesota is at risk of invasion from mountain pine beetle via two different routes. First, populations reproducing in Alberta, Canada could spread through a corridor of jack pine stretching across Canada’s boreal forest into northern Minnesota. Second, green pine logs imported from western states could inadvertently bring this insect to the Midwest.

This project, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, had two objectives. First, pine stands in several areas of the state were surveyed for the presence of this insect. No populations were detected to date (see MDA update). Second, we exposed logs of pine species common in Minnesota, such as red pine, jack pine, white pine, and Scots pine, to the nearest known mountain pine beetle populations in the Black Hills of South Dakota, to gain baseline data on the risk to Minnesota’s species of pines.

We found that mountain pine beetles were able to tunnel into cut logs of Minnesota’s pines, attract mates, and lay eggs. The eggs were fertile, and insects could complete their development. The insects were cold hardy and the data suggest they could survive Minnesota’s winters if established here. Development times in Minnesota’s pines were slightly faster than those in historical western pine hosts, which was surprising. These results indicate that we should continue to take the threat of range expansion of mountain pine beetle seriously.

U of M Project: PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
During the course of this project, the MDA enacted an exterior state quarantine for pine logs with bark on them from western states, and the project manager met with DNR officials to discuss management/silvicultural responses to mountain pine beetle should the insect arrive in the state. This project fostered collaborations with five partner state and federal agencies, three universities, trained a PhD student who received a faculty position, and engaged several dozens of undergraduate university students by incorporating this project into classroom education such as redesigned laboratory practical exercises. In one instance, we hosted an undergraduate student from a different state who flew to Minnesota to conduct her internship on this project (at no cost to the project). If you are a student seeking to help with one of the most serious pending challenges in North America, the state of Minnesota is a great place to come! This research project has resulted in five peer-reviewed publications to date, with others currently in review, along with several presentations at various scientific conferences.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT - Aukema (Subd. 04e1) (PDF)
Colonization behaviors of mountain pine beetle (Subd. 04e1) (PDF)
Stimulating Curiosity and Engagement with Insects (Subd. 04e1) (PDF)
Cold tolerance of mountain pine beetle among novel eastern pines (Subd. 04e1) (PDF)
Sexing live mountain pine beetles (Subd. 04e1) (PDF)

MDA Project: OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Mountain pine beetle (MPB), is native to western North America, where periodic outbreaks are a normal part of its ecology; in recent years, however, MPB has experienced the largest population explosion ever recorded and has caused the mortality of approximately 125 million acres of coniferous forest in North America. There is concern that MPB may reach Minnesota and cause similar devastation. Adult beetles have been shown to attack many different species of healthy pines including some that are found in Minnesota.

Mountain pine beetle has been detected in Minnesota two times in recent past: in 2012 in lodgepole pine from Montana for log cabins and furniture building and in 2014 in pine firewood from Wyoming for retail sale. In both cases, the insects were dead; however, this demonstrated the existence of a pathway across the plains for MPB to enter Minnesota. Interviews with wood product businesses in Minnesota indicated past instances where western pine had been imported as well. As a result, the MDA began conducting a detection survey in 2014 to determine if low-level populations of MPB are present. Lindgren funnel traps baited with pheromone lures were checked at sites near businesses such as log home and furniture builders and sawmills for 3 consecutive field seasons. Twenty five sites were chosen and 5 traps per site were monitored bi-weekly throughout the field season. Trap catches were screened for presence of mountain pine beetle. Subsamples of captures were also kept to better characterize the community of potential predators, parasitoids, and other associates already present in Minnesota. A total of 2150 trap checks were conducted from 2014-2016, fortunately no mountain pine beetle were detected. Estimating the arrival of MPB is difficult, thus monitoring is an important part of informing land managers so that management of isolated, endemic populations may be attempted.

MDA Project: PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Dissemination of information from the monitoring portion of this mountain pine beetle project was ongoing through the entire three years 2014-2017. Staff participated in a variety of events with an emphasis on MPB. Our presence at trade shows, conferences, and community events provided unique and valuable opportunities to interact with different audiences in-person. We attended more than 20 events, where we interacted with over 13,000 people. At these events we specifically focused on invasive pest and pathogens. Three of the most trafficked events attended include the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show, whose audiences included families, gardeners, and outdoors enthusiasts; the Minneapolis/St. Paul RV and Camping Show, whose audiences included outdoors enthusiasts, families, and firewood users; and a Minnesota Twins Plaza Day, whose audiences included homeowners. Information and materials related to MPB were displayed and distributed to event visitors.

Materials produced for events included updated flyers, wallet-sized identification cards, display boxes, brochures and fact sheets. In addition, web pages focused on MPB and related surveys were added and updated as part of a larger, ongoing development project aimed at improving user experience. Cooperators, the public and the forest industry were also engaged and updated via phone, email, and through personal encounters in the field. Information and data was also continually updated throughout the project on the MDA MPB webpage: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/insects/mpb.aspx

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT - Abrahamson (Subd. 04e2) (PDF)
Mountain Pine Beetle Fact Sheet (Subd. 04e2) (PDF)


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Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Monitoring and Biocontrol Evaluation
Subd. 04f     $266,000 TF

Subd. 04f1     $167,000 TF
Robert Koch
U of MN
1980 Folwell Avenue
St Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-6771
Email:  koch0125@umn.edu
Web: http://www.entomology.umn.edu/People/GradFaculty/Koch/index.htm

Subd. 04f2     $99,000 TF
Mark Abrahamson
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert St N
St Paul, MN 55115

Phone:  (651) 201-6505
Email:  mark.abrahamson@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/insects/stinkbug.aspx

Appropriation Language
$99,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of agriculture and $167,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to monitor for brown marmorated stink bugs to identify problem areas, target biocontrol efforts, and evaluate the suitability of candidate biological control agents for use in Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Brown marmorated stink bug is a terrestrial invasive species in Minnesota that was first discovered in 2010 and has been expanding its range since. It is a generalist plant pest that attacks more than 300 species of plants in natural, agricultural, and horticultural settings and is known for its unpleasant odor, large numbers, and propensity for home invasion. Proactive management approaches are available and in development that can be used to slow and potentially control brown marmorated stink bug populations. Researchers at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to establish a state framework for monitoring and biological control of brown marmorated stink bug; efforts will focus on identifying new infestations and potential problem locations and evaluating and implementing biological control options.

MDA Project: OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) was first discovered in Minnesota in 2010. BMSB is a generalist that will feed on 300+ species of plants in natural and agricultural settings. Due to its large size and unpleasant odor, BMSB is also a nuisance home invader during the winter months. Based on experience with BMSB in other areas of the country, BMSB is expected to first become a household nuisance and then become a significant plant pest. MDA aimed to monitor BMSB to help track where problem areas are developing.

When MDA started this project in 2014, BMSB had been identified in 11 counties and has now been identified in 18. The goal of this project was to create a network of survey sites and place pheromone baited mini-tedder traps to detect BMSB and alert stakeholders to allow for targeted management. Traps were placed in the spring, serviced throughout the summer and removed in late October or early November 2014- 2016 and spring of 2017.

Over the course of the monitoring project, MDA placed and serviced 690 mini-tedder traps throughout the state. Trap catches were low the first two years of the project with one adult captured in 2014 and 2 captured in 2015. MDA did respond to increasing reports of BMSB throughout the state despite low trap catches these years. Most of these reports were of single insects that were likely brought into the state from elsewhere. In the fall of 2016, MDA trapped 200 adult BMSB and 47 nymphs between 9 locations in the metropolitan area.

The increase in reports of BMSB and trap catches, including nymphs, indicates growing activity in the metro area which this project was able to document. This information provides an opportunity to proactively focus biocontrol efforts in this area and provides an opportunity to avoid reactive use of insecticides by growers.

MDA Project:PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Dissemination of information and data about BMSB has been ongoing throughout this entire project. Presentations were given at Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association annual meetings, the Minnesota Organic Conference, the Minnesota Apple Growers Association annual meeting, and Forest Pest First Detector Trainings. Growers were engaged and updated via phone, email, special mailings such as the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Plant Pest Insider, and through personal encounters in the field.

Throughout the project, the MDA has maintained online maps regarding the status of BMSB

Project completed: 6/30/2017

Work Plan - Koch (Subd. 04f1) (PDF)
FINAL REPORT - Abrahamson (Subd. 04f2) (PDF)
BMSB Fact Sheet - Abrahamson (Subd. 04f2) (PDF)
BMSB MDA Presentation - Abrahamson (Subd. 04f2) (PDF)


Subd. 05  Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information


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Update Statewide Land Cover Use Map
Subd. 05a     $300,000 TF

Joseph Knight
U of MN
1530 Cleveland Ave N
115 Green Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-5354
Email:  jknight@umn.edu
Web: https://rs.umn.edu/

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to update Minnesota's land cover data at moderate spatial resolution statewide and at high resolution for selected areas, distribute products, and provide training. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Land and water conservation efforts require accurate information about land cover and land use. Minnesota's land cover and land use data has not been updated since 2000 and so does not reflect changes since that time resulting from growth and development, agricultural production, or landscape cover. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to conduct a statewide update and enhancement of land cover and land use data and make it freely available online for use by government and non-government organizations involved in land and water conservation.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Conservation and management of Minnesota’s natural resources require significant investments of time and money by many state/local agencies and stakeholder groups. The three components of success in such projects (define problem sources, target and track changes) begin with accurate quantification of land cover via Geographic Information System (GIS) or geospatial data. This project updated the statewide land cover data and freely distributed it to all stakeholders. We acquired 130 Landsat satellite images for all of Minnesota for three broad seasons: Spring 2014, Summer 13-14 and Fall 13-14. The Landsat images were preprocessed according to current standards, including cloud correction, mosaicking, and subsetting. We acquired and preprocessed statewide lidar data. Preprocessing included developing Digital Elevation Models, Digital Surface Models, Normalized Digital Surface Models, and Normalized Digital Terrain Models. The imagery and lidar data were classified using an Object-Based Image Analysis (OBIA) approach, wherein the image pixels were aggregated into homogeneous “objects” that have parameters such as spectral values, size, shape, texture, and context. These variables were used in an OBIA classification framework incorporating a Cognition Language ruleset and the Random Forest algorithm to map each object into one of several classes: Forest (and sub-types), Urban (and sub-types), Wetland (and sub-types), Grassland, Extraction, and Agriculture. We produced statewide geospatial land cover/use data for 2013-2014, with higher resolution data for the Twin Cities Metro Area, Duluth, and Rochester. The classified maps have very high accuracy.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
All of the project data have been posted to the Minnesota Geospatial Commons (https://gisdata.mn.gov/dataset/base-landcover-minnesota), the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota (https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/181555), and the UMN Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory (https://rs.umn.edu/datalayers) websites. A full project report has been provided separately. We have announced the availability of the data using several methods: via email, in person, in presentations at the MN GIS/LIS conference, and other communications. We regularly receive positive comments from users of the data. Scientific journal articles are in preparation.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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State Spring Inventory for Resource Management and Protection
Subd. 05b     $200,000 TF

Jim Berg
MN DNR
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5680
Email:  jim.a.berg@state.mn.us
Web: http://mndnr.gov

Appropriation Language
$200,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to develop necessary protocols, processes, and definitions of springs along with limited field testing of inventory procedures in priority areas to enable a systematic inventory of springs statewide needed to maintain spring flows and protect groundwater-dependent resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Natural springs occur throughout Minnesota and provide critical services for the state, such as creating trout streams and cool water fisheries, sustaining base flows in streams, creating unique ecological habitats, and maintaining the integrity of aquatic ecosystems against invasive species. In order to protect springs and the groundwater-dependent resources that depend on them, though, it is important to understand spring locations and status - information that is currently lacking in many areas of the state. The Department of Natural Resources is using this appropriation to establish a foundation and plan to systematically inventory, assess, and monitor spring resources throughout the state.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The purpose of this project was to initiate a systematic inventory of springs statewide. This inventory should help create awareness of and appreciation for this resource so spring flows can be maintained and groundwater-dependent resources can be protected. This phase of the inventory focused on developing protocols and methods for field work and data compilation along with limited field testing of inventory procedures. Major project objectives included the development of 1) a spring inventory guidance document to provide documentation of methods and guidance for other researchers; 2) a spring inventory database built on a web-based geographic information system (GIS) platform that can be used in the field with a computer tablet with GPS and cell phone data capabilities; 3) a web-based reporting application that citizens can use to submit spring locations with smartphones or other mobile devises; and to 4) expand the known set of spring locations through paper and digital records review and a limited amount of fieldwork.

All of these objectives were accomplished. Important sections of the guidance document include a spring classification system and key data to collect in the field. The document also describes data flow/data verification methods for entering data into the database from historical documents, field entry of data with the tablet, and data processing of citizen submittals through the citizen reporting application. The custom GIS database allows the project team to upload data directly to a server from the field with a cell phone data link. Important data include: spring location, estimated flow rate, photos, and physical/chemical information. The citizen reporting application provides similar but more limited capabilities.

To date, the spring inventory team has uploaded approximately 500 locations to the inventory database with the tablet system. Approximately 100 possible spring locations have been submitted through the citizen reporting application and targeted mailings with self-addressed, postal paid postcards. These efforts, in addition to migration of existing data from an older database and extensive document review, have created an inventory that currently contains approximately 6,000 locations.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The long-term strategy is to establish the Spring Inventory at DNR as an ongoing hydrologic cycle database on the same basis as the existing DNR stream gaging, groundwater level monitoring, climatology, and related hydrologic cycle databases.

This data can be accessed through the following link: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/groundwater_section/springs/msi.html. Data can be downloaded from the Minnesota Geospatial Commons: https://gisdata.mn.gov/dataset/env-mn-springs-inventory.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
MDNR Minnesota Spring Inventory Guidance Document (PDF)
Legacy Data in the Minnesota Spring Inventory (PDF)


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Drainage Records Modernization and Statewide Geographic Information System Database
Subd. 05c     $230,000 TF

Tim Gillette
Board of Water and Soil Resources
520 Lafayette Rd N
St Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 297-2907
Email:  tim.gillette@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/

Appropriation Language
$230,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to develop a template and Web-based geographic information system (GIS) database portal to facilitate statewide modernization of public drainage records under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 103E, and integrate new specifications into existing drainage records modernization guidelines. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
There are currently more than 21,000 miles of drainage ditches and many thousands of miles of subsurface tile located throughout Minnesota and overseen by over 100 different local drainage authorities. Historically public records of these drainage systems have been maintained primarily in hard copy following differing protocols depending on local requirements. However, this antiquated approach limits the usability and accessibility of public drainage records creating various challenges for drainage management efforts. Modernizing drainage records involves creating and cataloguing electronic copies of the records. While many drainage authorizes have begun at least some level of modernization, there is still much work to be done. The Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to establish a standardized information system to house public drainage records in a consistent manner that integrates the data with overall statewide GIS data. The system will facilitate increased accessibility and usability to drainage records and benefit water planning, modeling, and management efforts.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Approximately 100 counties and watershed districts serve as public drainage authorities (DA) under Chapter 103E drainage law. Their public drainage system administration encompasses more than 21,000 miles of drainage ditches and many thousands of miles of subsurface tile. Historically, their drainage system records have been maintained primarily in hard copy forms using production methods and materials of the time. Many of these records are over a century old and are becoming faded and fragile. Drainage records modernization (DRM) typically begins with creation and cataloguing of electronic copies (scans) of drainage system records. Advanced levels of DRM includes creation of associated geographic information systems (GIS) data layers.

This project included the development of a DRM GIS Database Template along with data standards, and access via a web-based data portal for M.S. Chapter 103E public drainage system hydrographic information (drainage system location, type, alignment, dimensions, profile, and road crossings) on the Minnesota GeoCommons which is administered by the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo). The database Template is available upon request to BWSR by interested drainage authorities statewide through the GeoCommons (https://gisdata.mn.gov/organization/us-mn-state-bwsr). Template use requires that the drainage authority upload drainage system hydrographic information on a yearly basis. If a DA desires to receive competitive DRM cost-share, it will be required to use the Template.

This project also included the updating of the Drainage Records Modernization Guidelines first published in 2008 by the BWSR, which is available on the BWSR website. http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/drainage/drainage_records_guidelines.pdf

The GIS database template creation and the Drainage Records Modernization Guidelines update were accomplished in coordination with MnGeo and their subcontractor, Houston Engineering, Inc., in consultation with 3 focus groups and a diverse project advisory committee.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
To date the GIS database template and updated Drainage Records Modernization Guidelines have been shared at the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium Conference (8/16), the fall meeting of the Minnesota Association of Drainage Inspectors (MADI) (10/16), the annual meeting of the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) (10/16), the annual meeting of Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) (specifically the AMC Ag and Rural Development Committee) (12/16), and the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (12/16). Plans are being made to continue outreach in 2017. Presently drainage records modernization cost share is before the Minnesota Legislature in the form of a LCCMR appropriation. The outcome of that effort will help establish the form of future DRM outreach.

At present 3 drainage authorities have requested the DRM GIS Database Template. One of those has uploaded drainage system hydrographic information to the GeoCommons.

Project completed: 12/31/2016

FINAL REPORT(PDF)

Drainage Records Modernization Guidelines(PDF)


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Restoring Forest Inventory Data
Subd. 05d     $100,000 TF

Alan Ek
U of MN
2004 Folwell Ave
St Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-3400
Email:  aek@umn.edu
Web: http://www.forestry.umn.edu/People/Ek/index.htm

Appropriation Language
$100,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to obtain and restore statewide forest inventories of 1935, 1953, and 1966 to link with more recent data to improve understanding of historical forest trends and enhance long-term ecological monitoring.

Project Overview
Long-term forest plot datasets are helpful for understanding the changing conditions and ecology of forestland over time. The USDA Forest Service produced statewide forest inventories in 1935, 1953, 1962, 1977, 1990, 2003, 2008, and 2013. Unfortunately, only the data from 1977 to the present is currently easily accessible and available in full. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriations to locate and restore important information from the 1935, 1953, and 1962 surveys and link it to the more recent data from 1977 and later to generate more detailed understandings of changes in Minnesota's forests over time. Compiling this data will be useful for examining forests in terms of climate change implications for resilience and adaptability, carbon sequestration potential, habitat and biodiversity change, and overall forest health.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Motivation and objectives: Long-term datasets have proven invaluable for understanding changing forest conditions and implications for timber supply, wildlife habitat, insect, disease, wildfire, and climate change. This history is also important to charting future investments in forest based industry, forest management and the protection of forests resources for the role they play in water quality and retention of biodiversity. The primary objective of this project was to find and restore the first (1935), second (1953) and third (1962) statewide forest inventories of Minnesota plus other forest inventory datasets we might find. A secondary object was to develop comparisons of those inventories to present day forest conditions.

Methods: The project began with review of the published literature and available notes, letters, planning and other documents) plus direct contacts with present and former USDA Forest Service inventory staff who might recall aspects of these early inventories and especially where these data might be located. With success in locating these data, we have moved to digitize and restore them, check the accuracy of the restoration, and make comparisons with the present (the 2014) statewide forest inventory. Finally, we have sought to make these data (and metadata) publically available for other analysts and researchers.

Results: We have succeeded in restoring the 1935 statewide forest inventory in considerable detail, now described in a published project report. We have also located various summary data of the 1953 inventory. However, that effort was developed as an update of the 1935 inventory with inputs of data obtained from federal, state, county and private companies in various years. Thus it lacks the geographical and temporal specificity and completeness to be very detailed and thus useful in research. The 1962 inventory records were fully digital and are thought to be much more useful, but those records are yet to be located-thus our search is continuing.

Significance: The project publication (Flanary et al. 2016) included with this report describes the restoration of the 1935 inventory and comparisons to the present. Also, figures 8, 9 and 10 of this report describe major aspects of forest change. This report is viewed by the USDA Forest Service forestry inventory leadership as a very successful effort and a model for other states in restoration of inventories from the 1930s to the 1960s that have likewise been lost in terms of their detail. The agency is now moving to establish a nationwide effort to restore these older yet very valuable inventory datasets.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The project data have been and are increasingly used to provide an understanding of the dramatic change in our forests since 1935. E.g., we have moved from a very young forest to an older forest with 3-4 times more standing biomass per acre than in the 1930s with important implications for forest health, wildfire, productivity and habitat. These results have been presented to the Minnesota Forest Resources Council and the Minnesota Forest Resource Partnership and been made available on the Interagency Information Cooperative website at: http://iic.umn.edu/project-areas/forest-inventory/historic-data/1936-usfs-survey. Additional presentations, publications and reports (and popular messages) are planned for the coming months.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)

Restoration of the 1936 Statewide Forest Survey of Minnesota (PDF)


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Assessing Species Vulnerability to Climate Change Using Phenology
Subd. 05e     $175,000 TF

Rebecca Montgomery
U of MN
1530 Cleveland Ave N
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-7249
Email:  rebeccam@umn.edu
Web: https://mnpn.usanpn.org/

Appropriation Language
$175,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to compile and use historical datasets to assess change over time in the ecology of Minnesota species, identify vulnerable species, and inform management strategies for climate change. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
There is a critical need to understand how our natural resources are already responding to climate change in order to develop tools for projecting natural resource responses into the future and to devise plans for actions that can be taken in reaction to observed and predicted changes. Phenology - the timing of seasonal biological events such as budburst, flowering, bird migration, and leaf coloring - provides a tested indicator of climate change response by plants and animals. A rich source of phenology datasets exists independently throughout the state, but these datasets are not compiled in a centralized manner. Furthermore, ongoing collection of phenology data is a cost efficient task that, done in an organized manner, can continue to provide valuable long-term evidence of climate change response. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to compile and analyze historical phenology datasets and to establish a statewide network to collect future phenology data. This information will be helpful in identifying plant and animal species vulnerable to climate change and enhancing adaptive management strategies, such as for maintaining forest productivity, supporting plant pollination and reproduction, and supporting efforts to maintain the integrity of wildlife and fisheries populations.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Understanding how natural resources are responding to climate change and developing tools for projecting responses into the future represent critical needs for environment and natural resource management in Minnesota. Phenology, the timing of biological events such as budburst, flowering and bird migration, provides an excellent and tested indicator of climate change response. The objectives of this project included: identify species vulnerable to climate change, develop a network of observers to monitor phenology into the future, provide data to natural resource managers for developing adaptive strategies that sustain environmental quality in a changing climate. To achieve these objectives we analyzed historical records of phenology to understand past trends and trained citizen scientists to collect new data to test models and provide continued monitoring into the future. In total we digitized over 44,595 historical observations from around the state of Minnesota. We performed >25 statewide training seminars (~800 participants) and created online training materials and a website. The number of observers entering phenological data into Nature’s Notebook went from 140 in 2015 to 1150 today. Minnesota now has the second most phenology observers by state, only surpassed by California. Observers come from all parts of the state (n=108 Northwest MN, 193 Northeastern MN, 59 Central MN, 85 Southern MN, and 703 in the Twin-cities Metro area). The growth in new observations has increased between 22-51% per year since the start of the project. Combining historical and current datasets yielded at total of 865,816 phenological observations. Our work is significant as one of the largest regional datasets documenting change in nature’s cycles and seasons. The data is publicly available for natural resource managers and scientists to use in decision-making. Examining phenological trends through time, we’ve found a number of species that show earlier spring phenology and later fall phenology as predicted under climate change. Among notable animals, Sandhill Crane, Northern White Shoveler, American White Pelican and Eastern Towhee are arriving significantly earlier. For plants, apple, bur oak, American elm, quaking aspen, beaked hazel and red pine all show significantly earlier budburst. For many of these, events are happening 7-9 days earlier in than in the 1940s. On-going analyses in a Ph.D. thesis will highlight species that could be at risk in a changing climate and thus guide policy and decision-making.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
We created and made available an online, searchable database and visualization tool of historical data (https://mnpn.usanpn.org/datasets). This dataset has been downloaded 20 times to date. New data collected by citizen observers is publicly available through Nature’s Notebook, a program of the USA-NPN (https://www.usanpn.org/results/data). Training videos and workshop materials are freely available via the Minnesota Phenology Network website. As described in our activity report and abstract, we conducted >25 presentations and workshops to ~ 800 people over the course of the project. We manage a Facebook page (Minnesota Phenology Network) on which we share results and create online community.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas - Final Phase
Subd. 05f     $300,000 TF

Lee Pfannmuller
Audubon Minnesota
One West Water St., Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55107

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

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Audobon Minnesota to complete a statewide survey of Minnesota's breeding bird distributions through final analysis, preparation, and dissemination of information collected on an ongoing basis since 2008 on breeding birds in the state. The completed atlas must be available for download from the Internet free of charge. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

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 every region of a state. Atlases are mainly used to set conservation priorities, develop conservation plans, and guide habitat protection, restoration, and management efforts - in addition to being useful for recreational bird watching. 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 complete the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas. This phase involves analyzing and synthesizing over 350,000 observations collected since this effort began in 2008 and producing and disseminating related information products.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Final Phase of the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (MNBBA) analyzed field data collected during the five year atlas project and developed a website presenting the results. The MNBBA was a comprehensive, statewide survey on the breeding distribution for all bird species in Minnesota. Initiated in July 2008, it was a collaborative effort among Audubon Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union, and the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources and Research Institute. The atlas encompassed 5 field seasons (2009-2013), involved nearly 700 volunteers and survey staff in data collection, and cataloged the distribution and relative abundance of 249 breeding species statewide down to the 1/4 township level. Similar initiatives have been conducted by states and provinces throughout North America.

Specific project outcomes since July 2014 included: 1) a technical review of the 380,707 records collected during the atlas to insure data integrity; 2) development of 160 predictive distribution models that linked the distribution and abundance of breeding species with data on climate, habitat, and landscape context; 3) analysis of habitat associations for 130 of the most common species; 4) preparation of accounts for each of the 249 species that summarized their life history, conservation status, Minnesota distribution since the late nineteenth century, breeding habitat, and population abundance; and 5) development of a website (mnbirdatlas.org) that presents results for each species, including an interactive map that enables users to conduct a variety of geographic and ecological searches of the MNBBA data.

These data will be invaluable to conservation planning efforts by local, state, and federal agencies as well as non-governmental organizations as they plan and implement efforts that affect Minnesota’s natural resources. As a historical record, the MNBBA also provides baseline data to monitor future changes in avian distribution and abundance.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
All project results, analyses, and interpretation will be displayed on the newly developed website no later than October 30, 2017 (mnbirdatlas.org). Audubon Minnesota will publicize the site’s launch. In the interim, all data collected during the atlas continue to be displayed on the website that has serviced the project since the beginning, mnbba.org. Data collected by MNBBA volunteers and point count data collected by the Natural Resources Research Institute will also be displayed and housed by the Midwest Avian Data Center (http://data.pointblue.org/partners/mwadc/), a regional node of the Avian Knowledge Network (http://www.avianknowledge.net). A Data Sharing Agreement between Audubon Minnesota and the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) outlines procedures for individuals interested in acquiring full or partial downloads of the original data. Users of the (https://mnbirdatlas.org/) website who wish to acquire data are directed to the AKN website. These same data also will be made available to the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas maintained by the Bell Museum of Natural History.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Assessing Contaminants in Minnesota's Loons and Pelicans - Phase 2
Subd. 05g     $260,000 TF

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

Phone:  (651) 259-5104
Email:  carrol.henderson@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$260,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to continue to assess the potential impact of petroleum, dispersants, and heavy metal contaminants from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on the wintering habitat of Minnesota's common loons and white pelicans using radiotelemetry, geolocators, and contaminant analysis.

Project Overview
Over a three-month period in 2010, approximately five million barrels of oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and resulting in significant losses in fish and wildlife populations. A number of Minnesota's migratory bird species spend parts of their lives in the areas impacted by the spill and impacts on their populations in the state could become evident over time. Impacts could be from immediate losses of birds that were present at the time of the spill or from cumulative negative effects resulting from contamination of the food chain by petroleum chemicals and the dispersants used on the oil. The two Minnesota species that are potentially most vulnerable are the common loon and the American white pelican; some of their young would have been present in the Gulf at the time of the spill and their behavior and feeding patterns put them at greater risk of exposure to chemicals from the spill persisting in the environment. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at determining whether or not common loon or American white pelican populations in Minnesota have been impacted by the Gulf oil spill. Phase one revealed that there were population losses following the spill and that a significant percentage of Minnesota loons and pelicans have been exposed to oil and dispersant contaminants, which may be having long-term effects by causing changes in behavior, migratory abilities, reproductive success, or longevity. Any impacts documented will be critical for receiving remediation funds from the Federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process currently underway, and those funds could be used to help restore the populations of these two species.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2011 released about five million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent deposition of up to one million gallons of "dispersant". Both are carcinogenic and threaten the health of Common Loons and American White Pelicans that nest in Minnesota and winter in the Gulf of Mexico.

Minnesota has the largest populations of Common Loons and American White Pelicans in the continental US. We have a stewardship responsibility to preserve healthy populations of those species.

This project documented the threat posed to loons and pelicans by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Loon research involved satellite telemetry and internal transmitters to monitor migration and wintering movements, geolocators on leg bands to study diving behavior, and sampling of blood, feathers, tissues, and eggs for contaminants. Pelican research involved analyses of eggs and shed bill knobs. Collection of pelican migration with cell tower transmitters was not successful.

Radiotelemetry revealed juvenile loons wintering in the Gulf where contaminants occurred. In summer they traveled along the Atlantic seaboard to Quebec and northern Manitoba their first two years. This information is new to science.

Sublethal petroleum contaminant levels were present in pelican eggs (46.3%), bill knobs (78.4%), loon eggs (17.9%) and blood (35.0%), loon feathers (14.3%) and fat (31.8%). Dispersant contamination was found in pelican bill knobs (37.0%) and eggs (43.5%). Those contaminants could affect survivability, behavior, reproduction, or chick survival. Loon population levels appear stable. Pelicans declined from 2012 to 2015 but the cause does not appear related to the oil spill.

The federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 will allow the State of Minnesota to obtain remediation funds from BP to pay for recovery efforts for conservation of loons and pelicans. The DNR is awaiting guidelines to apply for remediation funds.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

This LCCMR project has generated an enormous amount of media and public attention, especially for the work related to loons and the potential impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on loons. There have been numerous presentations to conservation groups, garden clubs, bird clubs, civic groups, and statewide media coverage.

Recent media coverage has included:

  1. Loon research. A look at new loon research at a time when Minnesota stands to share in BP Oil Spill settlement money to benefit the state bird. Photo gallery by Aaron Lavinsky.Star Tribune. Sept. 3, 2016.
  2. Minnesota on Cusp of a New Era of Loon Conservation. Star Tribune. Tony Kennedy. Sept. 4, 2016.
  3. Gulf oil spill residue found in Minnesota loons. Greg Vandegrift, KARE-TV. Sept. 27, 2016.
  4. Loon Study. Frequently asked questions. USGS. Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center. Website.
  5. Loons and the gulf oil spill. MN DNR website. Nongame Wildlife Program.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Sandhill Crane Populations and Management in Minnesota
Subd. 05h     $250,000 TF

David Andersen
U of MN
200 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 626-1222
Email:  dea@umn.edu
Web: http://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/Faculty/Andersen/index.htm

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$250,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to delineate population boundaries, habitat use relative to crop depredation, and migration patterns and survival of Minnesota's two populations of sandhill cranes, Mid-continent and Eastern. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Sandhill cranes have expanded their range in Minnesota and elsewhere and as populations have expanded several states, including Minnesota, have initiated sandhill crane hunting seasons and other states are considering doing the same. Partially this is in response to increasing complaints of crop degradation by sandhill cranes. Despite expanding populations, though, sandhill cranes remain a species of management concern and current information on population distribution and migration patterns of sandhill cranes in Minnesota is insufficient for projecting the impact of hunting or for making informed management decisions. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to conduct a survey to better understand population distributions, movement patterns, habitat usage, and survival of sandhill cranes in Minnesota in order to inform harvest and management strategies that will minimize conflict with agricultural interests.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Sandhill cranes are an important part of Minnesota’s natural heritage, and although they have expanded their breeding range in Minnesota, they remain a species of management concern. Minnesota supports two populations of sandhill cranes– the Mid-continent Population that breeds and migrates through northwestern Minnesota, and the Eastern Population that breeds and migrates throughout much of the remainder of the state. We affixed GPS-cell transmitters to 55 sandhill cranes during 2014 and 2015 near the presumed boundary between breeding Mid-Continent and Eastern Population cranes in Minnesota and monitored their seasonal (i.e., migratory) and local movements to (1) determine whether Mid-Continent and Eastern Population cranes breeding in Minnesota overlap in breeding or autumn staging distributions, and if so, identify regions of overlap, (2) quantify habitat-use patterns, especially related to crop depredation, and (3) estimate annual survival rate of Minnesota sandhill cranes:

  1. We identified areas of overlap between breeding populations in northwestern Minnesota, near the historical range boundary of Mid-Continent cranes, suggesting that Eastern Population cranes have expanded their distribution significantly northwest. Furthermore, cranes from both populations used fall staging areas in northwestern Minnesota in the current zone where recreational harvest of Mid-Continent Population cranes was allowed beginning in 2010, indicating at least some overlap of populations during Minnesota’s crane hunting season. In addition, some cranes used migration routes associated with both populations, providing potential for population mixing outside of their breeding ranges.
  2. At the local scale, adult and juvenile cranes used crops during both crepuscular and mid-day periods during spring (the peak period of crop depredation), with juvenile cranes exhibiting a stronger preference for crops during crepuscular periods, suggesting that juvenile cranes are more likely to engage in crop depredation than adults. However, juvenile cranes exhibited considerable individual variation in their use of agricultural landscapes.
  3. Finally, our estimates of annual survival rate of Minnesota cranes are consistent with other published estimates of crane survival rate, although because we had difficulty distinguishing mortality from transmitter failure, the uncertainty in our estimates is large.
Our study provides current information about the population affiliation of Minnesota sandhill cranes, and indicates that the recent dramatic growth in abundance of cranes in Minnesota is largely a consequence of an increase in the number and distribution of Eastern Population sandhill cranes in the state. There is overlap in the distribution of these two populations both on the breeding grounds, and to a lesser extent, during staging, migration, and winter, potentially complicating local management options. Conflicts caused by spring crop depredation are likely disproportionately due to juvenile cranes, and efforts to mitigate crop damage are likely to be most effective if targeted at cranes engaging in depredation, rather than at the entire population through hunting or other means. Generally high annual survival rates likely contribute to a growing Minnesota sandhill crane population, especially Eastern Population cranes.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
We presented our research results via four oral presentations and two poster presentations at professional conferences (the Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Chapter of The Wildlife Society, the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, and the North American Crane Workshop). We presented two invited talks to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (the Waterfowl Committee and the Northwest Regional Wildlife meeting). We presented four invited talks in general public scientific settings (Brainerd Lakes Audubon Society, Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society, Maplewood Nature Center, and the Minnesota Waterfowl Association), and a public seminar at the University of Minnesota (Natural Resource Science and Management Graduate Seminar Series). We also gave a presentation to five kindergarten classes in the Mounds View School district. We currently have one manuscript accepted for publication and in press at the Wildlife Society Bulletin. We also digitally archived the data and programming code required to reproduce the analysis for this publication at the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota, which is part of the University Digital Conservancy. This research project was featured in articles in the following Minnesota newspapers and magazines:

  1. Minnesota Study Focuses on Sandhill Cranes. Grand Forks Herald. Brad Dokken. May 17, 2015.
  2. Crane Set Record, Prompt Research at Sherburne NWR. Saint Cloud Times. Ann Wessel. November 2, 2015.
  3. The Resilience of Sandhill Cranes. Minnesota Conservation Volunteer. Carroll Henderson. March-April edition, 2016.
  4. Study’s Aim: Shed Light on State’s Sandhill Cranes. Outdoor News. Joe Albert. July 22, 2016.
Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Wild Bee Pollinator Surveys in Prairie-Grassland Habitats
Subd. 05i     $370,000 TF

Gerda Nordquist
MN DNR
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5124
Email:  gerda.nordquist@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$370,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to assess the current status and distribution of wild bee pollinators in prairie-grassland habitats of Minnesota.

Project Overview
Wild bees are important for their pollination services and for their contribution to species diversity; for example, many prairie-grassland plant species require pollinators for seed production. However, while the importance of plant-pollinator interactions is well recognized, there are large gaps in our knowledge of Minnesota's wild bees. The only statewide list of bee species was published in 1919 and it reported only 88 species, whereas it is currently estimated that there are approximately 350-400 native bee species in the state. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using this appropriation to conduct field surveys throughout the prairie-grassland region of MN to document the diversity and distribution of wild bees and related vegetation diversity and quality in order to assess the current status of wild bees and provide a baseline for comparing to past and future data. This information will be used to refine conservation and management decisions to enhance bee pollinator populations and prairie-grassland habitat. Future efforts could further expand knowledge by extending surveys into forested and forest-transition regions of the state.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Wild bees are important for their pollination services and also for their contributions to species diversity in prairie-grasslands. Many prairie plant species require pollinators for seed production and bees are often cited as the most important pollinator group. Native prairies once covered a third of Minnesota, but less than two percent of this habitat remains today. The impact of this habitat loss to wild bees is unknown due to large gaps in our knowledge of Minnesota's wild bees. The primary objective of this project was to fill in these knowledge gaps. This was accomplished by compiling existing records of wild bees statewide and conducting surveys of wild bees in prairie-grassland habitats of western Minnesota. The association of wild bees with native plant species and the effects of prairie restoration efforts on bee species diversity are poorly understood. To address these information needs, both native prairie and restored grassland sites were surveyed for bees and associated flowering plants.

To build upon the 1919 publication, The Hymenoptera of Minnesota, by Frederic Washburn that listed only 66 bee species, 11 museum collections in the Upper Midwest were accessed for bee specimens from Minnesota. Numerous personal collections, reports and publications were reviewed. Distributional data was obtained for over 30,000 bee specimens, resulting in a preliminary Minnesota wild bee list that presently stands at 418 reported species with an additional 29 species requiring expert evaluation . In addition, the statewide distribution of known species was greatly expanded. For example, a common sweat bee (Halictus ligatus) was known from only one county in 1919, but this project has compiled records from an additional 44 counties.

Surveys for wild bees were conducted at 75 locations in western Minnesota, May through October 2015 and May through June 2016 . Fifty-five native prairie sites distributed across western Minnesota and eight restored grassland sites were sampled every three weeks to obtain seasonal information on bees and flowering plants, and comparative information on bees found in native prairie versus restored grassland. The remaining twelve sites were sampled every three weeks to augment county records. Over 10,000 bee specimens were collected through this effort. Specimens have been prepared and data entered into databases that will be used to inform researchers and land managers.

Important bee and plant records were obtained. The rare and declining yellow banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola) was documented in Stevens County. This is a county record for the species and also the first time this bee has been recorded visiting snowberry plants, genus Symphoricarpos. Equally notable is the absence of another declining species, the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis). Twenty-eight county records for plants were collected during these surveys, as well as information on blooming phenology.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Data collected from this project is stored in the MNDNR Natural Heritage Information System and bee specimens are being deposited in the Insect Collection at the University of Minnesota. These will be available to researchers, land managers, and the public.

Several MNDNR websites were developed that summarize the goals and accomplishments of this project and address wild bees and other pollinators:

The project coordinator/bee specialist (Crystal Boyd) has delivered information on this project through presentations, publications, interviews and educational events. She co-organized a Tallgrass Prairie Bee Identification Workshop and has highlighted Minnesota's wild bees at a wide variety of public venues.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Imperiled Prairie Butterfly Conservation, Research and Breeding Program
Subd. 05j     $625,000 TF

Subd. 05j1     $380,000 TF
Erik Runquist
Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Blvd
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Phone:  (952) 431-9562
Email:  erik.runquist@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.mnzoo.org

Subd. 05j2     $245,000 TF
Robert Dana
MN DNR
500 Lafayette Rd Box 32
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5086
Email:  robert.dana@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$380,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Minnesota Zoological Garden and $245,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to prevent the extirpation and possible extinction of imperiled native Minnesota butterfly species through breeding, genetics and mortality research, inventory, monitoring, and public education. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
With only 1% of Minnesota's native prairie remaining, many prairie plant and animal species have dramatically declined. Of the 12 butterfly species native to Minnesota prairies, two species, the Poweshiek skipperling and the Dakota skipper, have already largely disappeared from the state and are proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act despite being historically among the most common prairie butterflies and having their historic ranges concentrated in Minnesota. The Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are using this appropriation to conduct efforts aimed at preventing the extirpation and possible extinction of these butterfly species in Minnesota. Efforts will include expansion of both a butterfly research and conservation breeding program and ongoing butterfly survey and monitoring programs. Because of the ecological role of butterflies as pollinators and a food source for wildlife, analysis should also reveal important information about the greater prairie ecosystem and guide actions to be taken to protect it.

MN Zoo Project: OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Many of Minnesota’s prairie butterflies are declining. Due to ENRTF support, the Minnesota Zoo’s Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program has dramatically expanded the first and only conservation rearing and breeding programs for Minnesota’s imperiled prairie butterflies. We developed new rearing and breeding techniques, and increased the Zoo’s conservation population of U.S. Threatened (Minnesota Endangered) Dakota skippers from 44 adults in 2014 to over 375 adults in 2017. This expansion allowed for the beginning of a multi-year reintroduction program in 2017 when 200 Zoo-reared Dakota skippers were released to reestablish a lost Minnesota population. A new augmentation program is also underway to support some of the last United States populations of the Endangered Poweshiek skipperling.

The causes of these butterfly declines are not fully understood, many factors likely contributed, and some of those threats may still exist. The ENRTF provided critical funding though to begin understanding the potential role of insecticide drift into prairies. We produced foundational data on the extent, composition, and timing of pesticides drifting into critical habitats for these protected species. The findings inform hypotheses about what may have contributed to declines of these butterflies and have spurred additional research recommendations. We are working with other agencies and parties to advance risk assessments and proper habitat management and to reduce drift exposure.

The ENRTF supported foundational Dakota skipper and Poweshiek skipperling population genetics research, filling critical knowledge gaps that inform management of these butterflies at both in the Zoo and in the wild. These studies are being published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.

We developed new outreach about butterflies, prairies, and what the public can do to help. Thanks to the ENRTF, we published two popular pamphlets in both English and Spanish, and these have been distributed free to nearly 10,000 people at the Minnesota Zoo and at other events.

MN Zoo Project: PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
We have developed a large network of collaborators across local, state, national, and international levels. We hold frequent conference calls with several recovery and threat assessment working groups for both Poweshiek skipperling and Dakota skipper, and have attended and/or hosted several multi-day meetings and conferences for these species. We present our results to these working groups and other permitting agencies, and prepare detailed annual reports. Our results informs the actions and recommendations of the working groups. The foundational husbandry protocols we developed have also helped Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo launch a parallel and collaborative prairie butterfly conservation rearing and breeding program. Scientific products of our ENRTF-supported work will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.

Thanks to the programmatic expansions supported by the ENRTF, the plight of prairies and their butterflies have become much more visible and publicly known. We have presented to dozens of general public audiences (thousands of people in total), and at several University undergraduate and graduate-level courses and seminars. At least nine newspaper, radio, and television stories have been produced about the prairie butterfly conservation efforts supported by the ENRTF since 2014, including four new newspaper, radio, and television stories associated with the Dakota skipper reintroduction program in the summer of 2017.

Minnesota Zoo Facebook Live streaming event from the Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie Preserve (https://www.facebook.com/mnzoo/videos/10155374215493788/) featuring Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program manager Dr. Erik Runquist, the Minnesota DNR’s Dr. Robert Dana (project lead on this joint ENTRF for Activity 3), and staff from The Nature Conservancy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Viewed nearly 11,000 times, the video provided a live look at the Dakota skipper reintroduction effort, the history of the ENRTF-supported Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program, and the partnerships involved. Additional Minnesota Zoo social media and blog posts were presented throughout the summer of 2017 highlighting the reintroduction effort, our “Plant For Pollinators” campaign, and the re-introduction of the Butterfly Brew Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve promotion through Fair State Brewing Cooperative.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT - Runquist (Subd. 05j1) (PDF)
Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program Annual Report - Runquist (Subd. 05j1) (PDF)
Plan for the Controlled Propagation, Augmentation, and Reintroduction of Dakota Skipper - Runquist (Subd. 05j1) (PDF)
MN Zoo Butterfly Brochure (ENG) (Subd. 05j1) (PDF)
MN Zoo Butterfly Brochure (SPA) (Subd. 05j1) (PDF)
MN Plant for Pollinators Brochure (ENG) (Subd. 05j1) (PDF)
MN PLant for Pollinators Brochure (SPA) (Subd. 05j1) (PDF)

MN DNR Project: OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project was a collaboration with the Minnesota Zoo to find the cause or causes of the recent precipitous declines of two prairie-dependent skipper butterflies, the Poweshiek skipperling and the Dakota skipper, and to restore both to a level of abundance that will assure their survival. These declines have prompted the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Poweshiek skipperling as endangered and the Dakota skipper as threatened. The MN DNR was responsible for one of the project’s component activities—surveying sites throughout MN’s prairie region that historically supported these two butterflies as well as sites with appropriate habitat that had never been previously surveyed.

The goals of this survey were to determine if there were extant populations of these two species in Minnesota, to initiate monitoring of any populations found, and to survey for 11 additional butterfly species that are prairie-dependent or highly associated with native prairie in MN to determine whether they also show evidence of decline from historical levels. Surveys were conducted from July 1 through early September in 2014 and from early June through early September in 2015 and 2016.

A total of 63 sites throughout western Minnesota were surveyed one or more times, 44 in 2014, 51 in 2015, and 52 in 2016. Seven of the target species were not observed: Dusted skipper, Garita skipperling, Uhler’s arctic, Iowa skipper, Ottoe skipper, Assiniboia skipper, and most significantly, Poweshiek skipperling, adding to the probability that this federally endangered species is extirpated in Minnesota. One population of the federally threatened Dakota skipper was confirmed to remain, and this population probably declined over the three survey years. Only two populations of the Pawnee skipper were located, one in same site as the Dakota skipper. Other species found were Gorgone checkerspot, Prairie ringlet, Melissa blue, and Regal fritillary. The results indicate a sharp decline from historical levels for Gorgone in the south half of the surveyed region and probable but weaker declines for the blue and the ringlet. Only the Regal fritillary appears to be resisting the trend.

MN DNR Project: PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Two presentations: one to the annual Day of Insects symposium at Iowa State University in 2015, one to a workshop organized by the MN Zoo with the University of Minnesota on the possibility that insecticide contamination is a contributor to the declines. Interviews with reporters, one with the Fargo Forum newspaper, one with a MN Public Radio reporter resulting in some media coverage. Participation in a meeting organized by USFWS with land managers to discuss management strategies in the Felton Prairie. Presentation to the Clay County Board on the Dakota skipper presence in the Felton Prairie. The County owns the prime Dakota skipper habitat in the Felton prairie, and the presentation, along with ones by USFWS staff and other DNR staff, was to update them on the biological significance of the site. Annual reports to DNR Div. of Parks and Trails, Scientific & Natural Areas Program, The Nature Conservancy, the town of Fertile, MN, Clay County, USFWS, Morris Wetland District, The MN Zoo has made many presentations in which this survey work has been given some exposure.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT - Dana (Subd. 05j2) (PDF)


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Conserving Minnesota's Native Freshwater Mussels
Subd. 05k     $350,000 TF

Jessica Kozarek
U of MN
2 3rd Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone:  (612) 624-4679
Email:  jkozarek@umn.edu
Web: http://www.safl.umn.edu

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$350,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota in cooperation with Macalester College to document native freshwater mussel abundance and distribution, quantify environmental conditions necessary to conserve Minnesota's native freshwater mussels, and conduct outreach to local organizations and the public. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Though they are a relatively unnoticed group of species, native freshwater mussels are a critical part of river ecosystems because they provide a variety of important functions including improved water clarity, enhanced streambed stability, reduced downstream transport of contaminants, and creation of habitat for other aquatic life. However, mussel populations in Minnesota have declined in recent decades as a result of habitat destruction, pollution, land-use change, over-harvesting, and the introduction of exotic species. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to conduct surveying and analysis to better understand mussel abundance, distribution, and interactions with habitats in order to guide efforts to preserve and restore native mussel populations and maintain the ecosystem services they provide.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2018

Work Plan (PDF)


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Impacts of Forest Quality on Declining Minnesota Moose
Subd. 05l     $300,000 TF

James Forester
U of MN
1980 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 626-6721
Email:  jdforest@umn.edu
Web: http://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/forester/index.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources to link regional patterns of moose abundance through time to the distribution of food and cover and determine if this distribution affects the diet and survival of individual moose. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Moose, one of Minnesota's prized wildlife species, are dying at much higher rates in Minnesota than elsewhere in North America. Recently observed increases in mortality rates amongst some moose in northeastern Minnesota have led to concern that the population there may be entering 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. Additionally the specific causes of increased mortality amongst individual moose remain under investigation. Scientists at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to examine the role of habitat quality and landscape change and how it impacts moose diet, body condition, and mortality risk, specifically the role of forest age, structure, and composition in distribution of food and cover. Knowledge gained will be used by federal, state, and local natural resource agencies to identify appropriate management and habitat needs and actions that can be taken to help slow or prevent continued population declines in northeastern Minnesota of this iconic, keystone species.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2017

Work Plan (PDF)


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Moose Decline and Air Temperatures in Northeastern Minnesota
Subd. 05m     $600,000 TF

Michael Larson
MN DNR
1201 E Hwy 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Phone:  (218) 328-8873
Email:  michael.larson@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/moose/index.html

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$600,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources in cooperation with the University of Minnesota to study the physiology and behavior of adult moose and effects of female condition on calf production and survival to determine the impact of air temperature on moose population performance and decline. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Moose, one of Minnesota's prized wildlife species, are dying at much higher rates in Minnesota than elsewhere in North America. Recently observed increases in mortality rates amongst some moose in northeastern Minnesota have led to concern that the population there may be entering 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. Additionally the specific causes of increased mortality amongst individual moose remain under investigation. Scientists at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are using this appropriation to help understand how air temperature affects moose habitat use and behavior, reproductive success, and survival in order to determine if, when, and how moose are able to successfully modulate internal body temperature. Knowledge gained will be used by federal, state, and local natural resource agencies to identify appropriate management and habitat needs and actions that can be taken to help slow or prevent continued population declines in northeastern Minnesota of this iconic, keystone species.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
We used GPS collars, mortality implant transmitters (MITs), which continuously record internal body temperatures, and samples of moose urine voided in snow to study moose in northeastern Minnesota, a population that recently experienced significant declines.

Annual mortality rates of adult moose were 12–19% during 2013–2016, higher than the 8–12% rates reported in stable moose populations elsewhere in North America. The main causes of death for 57 moose were wolf predation (32%), parasites (30%), bacterial infections (21%), and other health issues (17%). MIT temperatures were 37.55–42.10°C in 25 moose; more MITs will be recovered later. Average daily MIT temperature increased 0.0009°C for every 1 degree increase in average daily air temperature. Twenty-three moose had 0.2–11% of internal temperatures considered above normal (i.e. ≥39.2°C). Habitat types used when an animal was hot compared to what was available was significantly different in some moose during summer.

The average pregnancy rate was similar to the North American average (83%). For GPS-collared calves born in 2013–2014 and unmarked calves (with collared mothers) born in 2015–2016 survival to 30 days of age was 58.4% and ~65%, respectively. By early spring survival declined to <34.1% and 33–40%, respectively. For 57 calf mortalities wolf predation consistently was the primary cause of death (66.7%), and bear predation was next (15.8%). Hiding cover was a dominant attribute at calving sites compared to pre-calving sites, whereas canopy closure and forage availability were greater at peak-lactation sites, indicating that balancing security and nutritional requirements influenced habitat selection over time.

Ratios of urinary urea nitrogen to creatinine ≥3.5 indicated more severe nutritional restriction during winters 2013, 2016, and 2017 compared to 2014 and 2015. Annual incidences of severe nutritional restriction were correlated with estimates of population size (r = -0.863), calf production (r = -0.922), and winter survival of adult moose (r = -0.860), indicating that winter undernutrition is playing a role in the poor population performance.

Our results will improve understanding of if, when, and how moose are able to successfully modulate their internal body temperature, which can inform strategies for conserving the population, especially through habitat management.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
For the moose research projects supported by this funding we have produced 8 peer-reviewed publications, 4 manuscripts currently in review, and several more to come with final analyses of the data. There have been 15 DNR agency reports written, and they are available from our wildlife publications website (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/wildlife/index.html). Agency staff and graduate students have given 117 presentations at professional conferences of all levels—state to international—other meetings with professional biologists, and to all manner of public audiences, from school groups to sporting and nature groups to a veterans group.

During these 3 years the lead investigators, Drs. DelGiudice and Carstensen, have participated in 38 interviews with journalists from television, radio, and print outlets, and there have been more than 175 additional instances of media coverage about our research. Media outlets included all major newspapers in Minnesota and 2 adjacent states, many smaller newspapers, the Washington Times, National Geographic, public and commercial radio stations in Minnesota, and public, network, and cable television stations in Minnesota.

Furthermore, we have posted information on our DNR moose research website (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/moose/index.html) throughout the project, and our results will be used to inform public stakeholder groups and DNR decisions about moose conservation.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Expansion of Minnesota Wildflowers Online Botanical Reference
Subd. 05n     $150,000 TF

Katy Chayka
MN Wildflowers Information
1590 Long Lake Rd
New Brighton, MN 55112

Phone:  (651) 399-4064
Email:  info@minnesotawildflowers.info
Web: http://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/

Appropriation Language
$150,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Minnesota Wildflowers Information to accelerate field work for surveying and imaging of plant species and publication of species profiles to a plant identification reference Web site available to the public and land managers. Images acquired and information compiled using these funds are for purposes of public information available on a Web site. If the organization is no longer able to maintain the Web site, the organization shall work with the state and the University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History to ensure the materials remain publicly available on the Web. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
The average Minnesotan and even most natural resource managers are not skilled in plant identification, yet the ability to positively identify plants is crucial to a number of conservation activities, including identifying areas that need protection, recognizing new or existing invasive species, monitoring restoration projects, and delineating wetlands. The Minnesota Wildflowers project attempts to fill this need with a free web-based field guide ultimately aimed at providing profiles for each of the over 2,100 vascular plant species in Minnesota. Minnesota Wildflowers Information is using this appropriation to continue to update and expand the information contained on its online field guide by doubling the number of new species profiled. Information will be freely available to the public, students, and natural resource professionals as a learning reference and to assist in plant identification.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Minnesota Wildflowers, an online field guide to the plants of Minnesota, was launched in 2007 by an amateur botanist who grew frustrated with the lack of information and quality imagery specific to Minnesota's flora. The task of systematically seeking out specific plants, photographing the identifying characteristics, describing each species in non-technical terms, and publishing on the web was undertaken with the goal of becoming a comprehensive reference for all of Minnesota's 2100+ plants.

The need for such a reference, especially targeted to non-botanists, has been evident by the number and type of users of the website, virtually anyone asking such questions as: What is that plant? Is it native or a weed? How to distinguish it from similar plants? These users include natural resource managers, restoration specialists, educators from elementary school through university level, citizen scientists, native plant advocates, gardeners and the general public. In 2014 when ENRTF funding began, 799 species (mostly forbs) had been published and the average traffic during peak season was 2,000 visits and 10,000 web pages viewed per day.

During the 3-year funding period, the 2-member team traveled 35,000 miles visiting locations in 64 Minnesota counties, photographed 1200 plant species, 500 of which had not previously been photographed. This field work resulted in significantly increased coverage. As of June 30, 2017, 1337 species have been published (over 60% of all Minnesota plant species) including trees/shrubs, grass-like plants and ferns. More than 220 species profiles were updated with improved images and information. Traffic has more than doubled with over 5,000 visits and nearly 23,000 pages viewed per day during 2017 peak season. 468,000 unique users were served in 2016 and numbers continue rising. This clearly shows the website is a valued resource and the more species covered, the more valuable it becomes.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
While word-of-mouth and Google searches are the source of much traffic, our web statistics show the single highest usage comes from the State of Minnesota, which includes multiple state agencies as well as the University of Minnesota. Our plant images are in high demand for other educational and outreach purposes, including interpretive signs, PowerPoint presentations, and invasive species fact sheets. Our field work puts us in contact with many state parks, nature centers and educational institutions across the state where we promote the project to their staff and visitors. During the past 3 years we partnered with the DNR State Parks and Trails on their wildflower geocaching program, were profiled in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine, and gave presentations about the project to the Minnesota Native Plant Society, the Minnesota Wetlands Professionals Association, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, Wild Ones and several garden clubs.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


Subd. 06  Methods to Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat


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Enhancing Pollinator Landscapes
Subd. 06a     $864,000 TF

Marla Spivak
U of MN
219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-4798
Email:  spiva001@umn.edu
Web: http://beelab.umn.edu/

Appropriation Language
$864,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to identify sources of nectar and pollen for native pollinators and honey bees and coordinate ongoing and future efforts to enhance pollinator habitat and opportunities for pollinator nesting and foraging. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Pollinators play a key role in ecosystem function and in agriculture, including thousands of native plants and more than one hundred U.S. crops that either need or benefit from pollinators. However, pollinators are in dramatic decline in Minnesota and throughout the country. The causes of the decline are not completely understood, but identified factors include loss of nesting sites, fewer flowers, increased disease, and increased pesticide use. Fortunately, there are known actions that can be taken to help counteract some of these factors. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to conduct efforts aimed at increasing reliable supplies of nectar and pollen for pollinators by surveying for existing populations, identifying plants that contribute the most resources to pollinator production and survival, and identifying areas where pollinators nest and overwinter. Information will be used to develop maps, demonstration sites, best management strategies, and long term plans for sustaining pollinators that will assist private landowners and public land managers in efforts to enhance landscapes for the benefit of pollinators.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2019 [Extended in M.L. 2015, Chapter 76]

Work Plan (PDF)


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Understanding Systemic Insecticides as Protection Strategy for Bees
Subd. 06b     $326,000 TF

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

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

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$326,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to continue research on how native bee and honey bee colonies are impacted by systemic, neonicotinyl insecticides in pollen and nectar of plants growing in fields and landscapes. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
A class of insecticides known as systemic neonicotinyl insecticides has been identified as a potential factor in recently observed declines in pollinators, including the phenomenon amongst honeybees known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Previous research examining the effects of neonicotinyl insecticides on lab colonies of bumblebees found that exposure to these insecticides at various levels increased queen bee mortality and detrimentally altered bee behavior and production. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to continue this research aimed at quantifying levels of insecticide residues in pollen and nectar of plants treated with systemic insecticides to determine how exposure to these residues affects bee colony health. This phase expands the research to conduct studies in the field in a natural setting.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Our objectives were to understand how to protect pollinators. We wanted to understand if bees were affected when feeding on pollen from ornamental plants that were treated with imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide. Neonicotinoids are systemic and are applied to the soil or injected into trees. Both native bees, Bombus impatiens, and managed bees, Apis meliifera, are affected in similar ways by imidacloprid. The imidacloprid dose in flower pollen that kills bees is 40 ppb and below 25 ppb imidacloprid causes sublethal effects on behavior.

Objective 1-1, 1-2, 1-3.. Determine imidacloprid residue in leaves, flowers, soil, and pollen from a soil drench and trunk injection.
We studied imidacloprid residue in linden trees, bee friendly flowers, blueberries, and greenhouse plants grown to be installed in the landscape. Also, we investigated the effects on the EPA NOEL or sub-lethal limit of imidacloprid (20 ppb) on bumblebee colony health in the field.

Our data showed that trunk injections of imidacloprid caused very high levels of imidacloprid in flowers and pollen that would kill foraging bees. Soil drenches produced lower amounts in flower that are below the EPA sublethal level. However, dogwoods growing under the trees to which a soil drench was applied contained sufficient imidacloprid residue to kill a foraging bee. These same flowers would not kill a house sparrow that fed on the dogwood berries. However, recent papers say these sublethal levels will affect bird movement and feeding. Bee friendly plants in landscapes did not accumulate enough residue after 1 application to kill a foraging bee. However, greenhouse applications to flowering baskets and pots resulted in sufficient residues to kill foraging bees.

Objective 2-1. Determine the impacts of these imidacloprid residues on colony health of native bumblebee.
A tier 3 EPA research field study with replicate plots was performed on the St Paul UM Campus. The bumblebee colonies were free flying and were fed 20 ppb imidacloprid in sugar syrup. The EPA NOEL (Not Effective Adverse Level or sub lethal dose) is 25 ppb imidacloprid. The bees in the treated colonies showed decreased movement, decreased sugar consumption, decreased brood, deceased queen production, and decreased hygenic behavior. Bumblebee colonies are negatively affected by 20 ppb imidacloprid. So the NOEL identified by the EPA in March 2016 as 25 ppb is incorrect.

Our residue data and our bumblebee study tells us that imidacloprid residue in flowers from a trunk injection or flowering plants growing under trees treated with soil drenches or greenhouse treated flowering plants would contain sufficient residue to kill or negatively affect native bumblebee colonies.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Dissemination: Objective 1-4. Share the research results through outreach with talks, workshops, pollinator website, and interviews.
We talked to the public and other researchers about the effects of pesticides on bees, the data from this research, and what municipalities and consumers could do in their green space to conserve bees. We held 3 workshops at the MN Landscape Arboretum, produced 2 websites on native bee conservation, spoke about the research in 10 talks/yr, and gave over 6 interviews/yr to radio, television, and print media.

Imidacloprid residue in plant parts after a standard imidacloprid EPA approved label rate application
Species/application type Applied Leaves (ppb) Soil (ppb) Flowers (ppb) Pollen (ppb) Sub-Lethal <25 ppb Lethal >40 ppb
Ratio of imidacloprid in whole flowers to pollen
13 EPA docs submitted by industry         25% of residue in flowers    
Prairie petunia, Ruella humilis 300 mg     1,100 267   X
Yellow bells, Tecoma stans 300 mg     109 109   X
Landscape trees: Imidacloprid residue
Objective 1-1. Determine imidacloprid residue in pollen and nectar of basswood (linden) trees from a soil drench and trunk injection.
Linden 20 in DBH, soil drench 48 g Yr1 July: 727
Aug: 1,023
Yr2 July 706
Aug: 429
Yr 1 July:15,430
Aug: 5,956
Yr 2 July:1,634
Aug: 534
34
No flow
81
No flow
9
No flow
20
No flow
X

X
 
Linden 8 in DBH, soil drench 14 g July: 13,675
Aug: 25,250
July: 290
Aug: 385
34
No flow
9
No flow
X  
Linden 8 in DBH, trunk injection 3 g July: 848
Aug: 36,283
July: 14
Aug: 14
1,340
No flow
335
No flow
  X
Landscape trees: Imidacloprid residue
Objective 1-2. Determine imidacloprid residue in native plants around imidacloprid-treated trees
Dogwoods under soil drench   July: 21,061 Aug: 16,787 762
Fruit: 425 will not kill house sparrows eating fruit
190   X
Landscape Bee plants: Imidacloprid residue
Objective 1-3. Determine imidacloprid residue in pollen and nectar of native flowers and blueberry from imidacloprid soil drenches.
Agastace foeniculum, anise hyssop 25 g 561   94 24 X  
Asclepias currassavica, tropical milkweed 25 g 132   87 22 X  
Commercial blueberries Collaboration with Koppert       residue in 5/6 flower samples (220, 136, 42, 10, 12 ppb), mean 84 ppb Bumblee bee colonies in these fields declined.   X
Greenhouse Bee plants: Imidacloprid residue
Objective 1-3. Determine if greenhouse grown plants in hanging baskets contained sufficient residue to harm foraging bees.
Prairie petunia, Ruella humilis 120 mg July: 14,400
Aug: 2,086
  July: 1,100
Aug: 502
July: 267
Aug: 126
  X
X
Million bells, Calibrachoa 200 mg July: 67,266
Aug: 34,166
  July: 1,972
Aug: 333
July: 615
Aug: 83
  X
X
Greenhouse Bee plants: Imidacloprid residue
Objective 1-3. Determine if greenhouse grown plants in pots contained sufficient residue to harm foraging bees.
Agastace foeniculum, anise hyssop 300 mg     1,973 493   X
Asclepias currassavica, tropical milkweed 300 mg     1,568 392   X
Yellow bells, Tecoma stans 300 mg     106 106   X
Canola 300 mg     4,144 1,036   X
Rose Consumer label 300 mg     1,175 293   X
Rose Greenhouse label 240 mg     812 203   X
Landscape experiment on bumblebees at 20 ppb imidacloprid below EPA NOEL of 25 ppb Objective 2-1. Determine the impacts of these imidacloprid residues on colony health of native bumblebee.
Imidacloprid at the EPA sublethal rate of 20 ppb caused fewer queens to be produced, lower nest weight, and less hygenic behavior compared to controls.


Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Prairie Sustainability through Seed Storage, Beneficial Microbes, and Adaptation
Subd. 06c     $600,000 TF

Ruth Shaw
U of MN
100 Ecology; 1987 Upper Buford Circle
Minneapolis, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-7206
Email:  shawx016@umn.edu
Web: http://www.cbs.umn.edu/explore/departments/eeb/faculty-research/directory/ruth-g-shaw

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$600,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to collect and preserve germplasm of plants throughout Minnesota's prairie region, study the microbial effects that promote plant health, analyze local adaptation, and evaluate the adaptive capacity of prairie plant populations. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Healthy prairies contribute numerous benefits, such as providing habitat for wildlife and pollinators, maintaining and improving water quality, stabilizing roadsides, and providing a sustainable source of materials for bioenergy production and other products. Since European settlement the once vast expanses of Minnesota prairie covering 18 million acres have been reduced to small remnants totaling about 235,000 acres. With this decline has also come a drastic reduction in the genetic diversity of the various species typical of Minnesota prairies. This has resulted in inbreeding of remnant species populations, which reduces the robustness of plants and can result in yet further population decline. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation for efforts aimed at protecting the long-term health and sustainability of remaining prairie in the state by collecting prairie plant genetic material for long-term preservation, collecting and studying microbes that promote prairie plant health, and examining the capacity for prairie plants to adapt to changing conditions. Information and resources derived from this effort will contribute to improving restoration techniques and ensuring healthy prairies into the future.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The once vast MN prairie harboring tremendous genetic diversity has been drastically diminished. Society’s increasing recognition of the multifarious benefits MN prairie provides has generated demand for scientifically based prairie conservation and restoration. Accordingly, this project undertook to:

  • preserve seeds of 40 plant species from sites throughout MN's prairie region,
  • identify microbes that promote prairie plant health,
  • discover the scale of local adaptation for prairie plant species, and
  • predict the rate of future adaptation of prairie plant populations.
Outcomes:
We obtained genetically representative collections from over 330 populations of 64 plant species native to MN prairie. To ensure lasting viability of these seeds, many are stored at the USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, CO.

We characterized microbial communities on prairie plants, isolating and identifying over 2500 strains from prairie clover. Graduate student DeMers presented these findings at a national scientific meeting.We conducted an experiment to determine whether microbes benefit host plants that originate from the same site more than they benefit host plants from different sites; analysis is ongoing.

We established 3 field experiments to clarify the extent to which plants survive and reproduce more when they are planted near their site of origin. This study focuses on 6 prairie species, each sampled from 12 sites. Monitoring of survival and growth of plants is proceeding, as is analysis of this dataset.

To assess the genetic variation available to support adaptation, we established foundation plantings of little bluestem, in preparation for estimating the adaptive capacity of two populations.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
In accomplishing these goals, we have advanced:
  1. Relationships with professional native-seed collectors and with several student groups at rural MN university campuses.
  2. Scientific training of 10 undergraduates at 3 Minnesota university campuses, 7 technicians, 3 graduate students, and 2 post-doctoral associates and engagement of over 60 community volunteers and over 400 others.
  3. Discussions with users and producers of native seed, aiming to increase source-identified seed available for prairie restorations in Minnesota.
This Project has expanded the diversity and volume of local, source-identified seeds and microbes from Minnesota prairies and has collected and analyzed data that will support restoration of MN prairie. All aspects of this project are being continued through new funding from the ENRTF.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Northeast Minnesota White Cedar Restoration - Phase 2
Subd. 06d     $335,000 TF

Dale Krystosek
Board of Water and Soil Resources
520 Lafayette Road N
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (218) 820-9381
Email:  dale.krystosek@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/

Appropriation Language
$335,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to continue an assessment of the decline of northern white cedar plant communities in northeast Minnesota, demonstrate restoration techniques, and provide cedar restoration training to local units of government. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota. Efforts will include assessing existing white cedar communities to prioritize sites for restoration and then providing training and demonstration of restoration and re-vegetation techniques for local natural resource managers.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Project Background: Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) has been declining in Minnesota for decades. White cedar provides ecologically diverse plant communities and critical wildlife habitat and wetland functions. (Phase 2).

Project Goals:

  1. Reverse decline of white cedar plant communities in Minnesota.
  2. Complete two hydrologic restorations of white cedar plant communities and develop recommendations for restorations.
Methods: Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) established 2 white cedar hydrologic restorations in Itasca and Lake Counties. Engineering designs were developed to restore natural groundwater flows where forest roads had impacted white cedar stands. A training video was developed for land managers. Dr. Rod Chimner evaluated the effectiveness of the hydrologic restorations plus the phase 1 vegetative restorations of northern white cedar plant communities.

Results:

  1. Hydrologic Restoration:
    Goal: Restore 2 sites where roads had impacted white cedar plant communities.
    Results: Two experimental methods of hydrologic restoration were completed in Itasca and Lake Counties.
  2. Monitor seven phase one white cedar restoration sites:
    Results: 7 sites established in Beltrami, Koochiching, St. Louis and Lake County were monitored.
  3. Develop recommendations for white cedar restoration and evaluate additional sites:
    Results:
    • Recommendations for white cedar restoration were developed.
    • 75 additional restoration sites were evaluated by SWCDs.
    • Northern white cedar has limited ability to replace black ash stands due to high water levels.
    • White cedar restoration video developed and disseminated.
Project Findings:

  1. Many white cedar swamps are degraded and need restoration.
  2. Major disturbances were roads, ditches and herbivory.
  3. After two years, the largest single factor affecting northern white cedar survival was hydrology.
  4. Light levels (shading) plays a role in cedar regeneration.
  5. After one season, the hydrologic restoration of two forest roads were successful, restoring hydrologic flow conditions.
Project Significane: Northern White cedar provides unique functions including:

  • Thermal winter cover for white tailed deer
  • Critical habitat for pine marten, bear, fish, songbirds
  • Provides thermal buffering for cold water fisheries (brook trout streams)
PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Presentations were given at a scientific conference, to other various interested organizations and project stakeholders (Voyageurs National Park, MN DNR, MN DOT, St. Louis County Highway Department, Superior National Forest, U of M, NRRI, Michigan Tech). A 30 minute radio interview was conducted at KTWH, Two Harbors. Scheduled to present project results to the Minnesota Forest Resources Council and Forestry Committee in International Falls.

Collaboration with the Itasca Community Television (ICTV) to capture video and photography of all stages of construction of hydrologic construction sites. Footage has been edited and training videos have been created. The videos have been distributed to multiple stakeholders, including BWSR, DNR, MPCA and County Forestry Offices, U of M and Federal Agencies. Videos will be made available on the BWSR web page (https://spaces.hightail.com/space/wYWZBy450n).

Work with staff from the Superior National Forest to set up field reviews of potential sites that the Forest Service would like to restore hydrology and white cedar plant communities, by utilizing this project’s findings. Work is continuing in reaching out to foresters from County Land and Forestry Departments, DNR Foresters, U.S. Forest Service to build avenues for disseminating project findings and generate interest in for white cedar restoration.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Northeast Minnesota White Cedar Plant Community Restoration: Phase I & II Technical Report (PDF)


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Southeast Minnesota Watershed Protection Plan
Subd. 06e     $200,000 TF

Richard Biske
The Nature Conservancy
PO Box 405
Preston, MN 55965

Phone:  (507) 765-2450
Email:  rbiske@tnc.org
Web: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/minnesota/

Appropriation Language
$200,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with The Nature Conservancy to provide a framework and plans for the protection and stewardship of unimpaired waters in southeast Minnesota. The result will be a template for watershed protection in Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Oftentimes water conservation efforts are directed toward impaired waters. However, it is much more cost-effective to protect habitat and water resources before they become degraded. The Nature Conservancy is using this appropriation to create a broader, long-term, watershed-based framework for proactively protecting habitat and water resources in southeast MN, specifically the Cannon River and Zumbro River watersheds, before they become degraded. Information will help guide efforts for assessing and prioritizing conservation efforts in southeast MN and provide a framework for other watersheds in the state to replicate.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Despite extensive watershed planning in Minnesota, much of the efforts to date have focused on the restoration of impaired waters. Many watersheds in Minnesota have relatively healthy, unimpaired minor watersheds or sub-watersheds. These watersheds often have considerable private ownership with upland habitat, perennial vegetation or compatible land use that is resulting in clean, unimpaired waters. Yet, these landowners with existing habitat on their properties can be overlooked for conservation assistance for water quality purposes.

This project completed healthy watershed plans or Landscape Stewardship Plans (LSPs) for the Cannon and Zumbro Rivers in Southeastern Minnesota. The LSPs for the watersheds included several GIS analyses identifying ecosystem services of natural communities and priority habitat complexes within a watershed context. This information was used to prioritize Conservation Opportunity Areas (COAs) within each watershed. The plans identified a combined 589,396 priority acres out of 1,849,500 acres studied across 11 COAs encompassing minor watersheds. Four COAs were selected within the Cannon River covering 277,196 acres or roughly 30% of the watershed. Seven smaller COAs were identified within the Zumbro River watershed covering 312,200 acres or 34% of the watershed. These COAs provide guidance on protecting and restoring the most important watersheds and identified properties within them to meet multiple watershed conservation goals including water quality, upland and aquatic habitat and recreation.

The project resulted in 20 property-wide stewardship plans covering 3,000 acres listing a range of management practices for unique zones on each property. In addition to the stewardship plans 20 Conservation Action Plans (CAP) for 168 acres were developed. The CAPs can be used to apply for and implement state and federal cost-share programs for activities like prescribed fire, invasive species control and tree thinning for forest stand improvement.

The 2014 Clean Water Accountability Act and subsequent Nonpoint Funding Prioritization Plan directed state agencies to target restoration activities to those impaired waters that are closest to meeting Minnesota water quality standards and to protect those high - quality unimpaired waters at greatest risk of becoming impaired. The watershed planning approach utilized in this project prioritizes functional landscapes for healthy watershed protection as an important component to the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies and One Water One Plans developed by state and local partnerships. To date watershed planning has focused on the more costly aspect of restoring highly degraded waters, not those in need of protection to prevent impairment. By focusing limited technical and financial resources on intact functional landscapes and the clean waters they support, costly restoration can be avoided and ecosystem services can be maintained. This project provides an actionable plan for the Cannon and Zumbro Rivers and a process for other watersheds to achieve the goals of the Clean Water Accountability Act and Nonpoint Funding Prioritization Plan.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Plans along with supplemental materials have been prepared to disseminate the most important content of the LSPs to relevant stakeholders and conservation planners. Landscape Stewardship Planning is being recognized as a valuable resource in watershed based plans in SE Minnesota, including the Cannon and Zumbro Watersheds. Both LSPs have been incorporated by reference into the corresponding Watershed Restoration and Protections Strategies (WRAPS) documents for the Cannon and Zumbro Watersheds. The Cannon River Watershed is now beginning the process of adopting a One Watershed One Plan (1W1P), and the technical committee has already been given a presentation on the LSP. The contributions of key partners and stakeholders in developing the plans will also increase their dissemination, as future partners recognize their own contributions and “buy in” to the process.

While the LSPs themselves are targeted at a more technical audience for use in conservation planning, the goals and themes of good stewardship of natural communities for watershed protection have been distributed to a general audience through landowner field days held in the Cannon River Watershed.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Landscape Stewardship Planning Document (PDF)

Cannon River Watershed:
Brochure (PDF)
Overview (PDF)
Landscape Stewardship Plan (PDF)

Zumbro River Watershed:
Brochure (PDF)
Overview (PDF)
Landscape Stewardship Plan (PDF)


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Upland and Shoreline Restoration in Greater Metropolitan Area
Subd. 06f     $300,000 TF

Wiley Buck
Great River Greening
35 W Water St, Ste 201
St Paul, MN 55107

Phone:  (651) 665-9500
Email:  wbuck@greatrivergreening.org
Web: http://www.greatrivergreening.org

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Great River Greening to restore and enhance upland, shoreline, and approximately 150 acres of forests, woodlands, savanna, and prairie and to provide related educational opportunities for volunteers in the greater metropolitan area. A list of proposed restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Though many parts of the Twin Cities metropolitan area are urbanized, there are also has large areas of natural lands that continue to serve as important habitat for fish, wildlife, and plant communities. However, pressure on these remaining lands continues to intensify as population and development pressures increase. This appropriation continues the efforts of the Metro Conservation Corridors (MeCC) partnership, an ongoing effort by a partnership of state and non-profit organizations, to conduct strategic and coordinated land conservation activities that build connections between remaining high quality natural areas in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area and ensures their benefits are available for future generations. Great River Greening is using this appropriation to restore approximately 150 acres of permanently protected forest, woodland, savanna, and prairie habitat while engaging hundreds of volunteers in the stewardship of the metropolitan area's remaining natural areas.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Along with partners and volunteers, Great River Greening completed twelve restoration projects to reduce habitat fragmentation, enhance habitat quality, and reconnect habitat corridors. With Trust Funds and leveraged matching funds, Greening conducted restoration and enhancement efforts on ecological corridors and ecological cores on 291 acres of prairie, oak savanna, woodland, wetland, and riparian habitats. In addition, Great River Greening created community connections, engaging and educating a total of 892 volunteers at five project sites. At these restoration events, volunteers performed habitat restoration techniques, participated in a roving presentation by an ecologist, learned about the larger restoration process at the site, and gained insight on how to transfer knowledge gained to a project at home or in their local community.

Great River Greening produced the following results:

  1. Completed a management plan for Westwood Hills Nature Center (WHNC) in St. Louis Park, to “enhance the diversity and resilience of the plant communities at WHNC to increase their value as both wildlife habitat and to enhance their utility as outdoor classrooms.”
  2. Restored/enhanced 135.5 acres of upland habitat with Trust Funds (target = 147 acres), which included 0.6 miles of shoreline (target = 0.26 miles), at an average cost of $1902 per acre. Restored/enhanced an additional 155.5 acres with leveraged matching funds for a total of 291 acres of habitat restored/enhanced (target = 247 acres).
  3. Engaged 892 volunteers in meaningful restoration projects with environmental education from Greening ecologists (target = 300 volunteers). 294 of 892 volunteers were youth, age 17 or under.
  4. Leveraged $114,885 in non-state funds and $189,419 in state funds, for a total of $304,304 leveraged matching funds for habitat restoration/enhancement, volunteer events, and management plan development.
Summary Table: Trust Fund Deliverables by Parcel

Parcel Name City County Habitat Acres Shoreline miles Volunteers
Katherine Abbott Park Phase II Mahtomedi Washington 10 0.0 106
Carver Park Reserve Victoria Carver 16 0.0 51
Allemansratt Park Phases I, II, III Lindstrom Chisago 23 0.0 0
Trout Brook Nature Preserve Phase II St. Paul Ramsey 2 0.0 524
Lilydale Bluffs St. Paul Ramsey 0 0.0 0
Accelerated Migration Technique Cottage Grove Washington 3 0.0 0
Prescribed Grazing/Haying, at
a) Central Corridor
b) Pilot Knob Hill
a) Cottage Grove
b) Mendota Heights
a) Washington
b) Dakota
34 0.0 63
Westwood Hills Nature Center Phase I, II St. Louis Park Hennepin 25 0.1 148
Wolsfeld Woods SNA Long Lake Hennepin 11 0.5 0
Dodge Nature Center II West St. Paul Dakota 8 0.0 0
Bur Oak Research: Central Corridor,
Allemansrätt Park, Otter Lake, Fish
Creek Open Space
Cottage Grove, Maplewood,
Lindstrom, White Bear Lake
Chisago, Ramsey, Washington 3 0.0 0
Fish Creek Open Space Maplewood Ramsey 0.5 0.0 0
TOTALS   135.5 0.6 892

Summary Statement: Great River Greening restored/enhanced 135.5 acres of habitat (92% of output target) with $257,677 Trust Fund dollars (86% of Trust Fund appropriation expended) and engaged 892 volunteers in community restoration projects.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Greening is in active partnership with landowners, other land managers, service providers, conservation peers, and volunteers resulting in a dynamic and timely exchange of information and results.

Volunteer event descriptions acknowledging Trust Fund contributions and qualitative results were emailed to Greening’s e-subscribers in July 2014, February 2015, July 2015, spring 2016, fall 2016 and spring 2017 in advance of spring and fall volunteer event seasons; over the course of the grant, the number of subscribers increased from approximately 5,000 to over 8,500. Information about Metro Conservation Corridors is on the Great River Greening website at https://www.greatrivergreening.org/category/mccorridor/; over the course of the grant, visits to the website increased from 1,100 to over 1,500 visits per month. In addition, Greening’s Facebook and Twitter pages have featured the Pilot Knob Grazing Monitoring project, the Accelerated Migration/ White Oak Ecotype Study at Central Corridor, Allemansratt Wilderness Park, Trout Brook, Westwood Hills, and Carver Park.

In March 2017, 150 attendees convened to attend The Best Practices for Pollinators in the Real World Summit, for Minnesota Counties, Municipalities, Leaders. During the conference, Washington County Parks presented on Innovative Management Approaches, highlighting the South Washington conservation haying project. In addition, five press articles from the Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, and Lillie News disseminated information about Pilot Knob Hill, publicizing its addition to the National Register of Historic Places and the prescribed grazing project.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Prairie, Forest, and Savanna Restoration in Greater Metropolitan Area
Subd. 06g     $200,000 TF

Tom Lewanski
Friends of the Mississippi River
101 East 5th St, Sutie 2000
St Paul, MN 55101

Phone:  (651) 222-2193 x12
Email:  tlewanski@fmr.org
Web: http://www.fmr.org

Appropriation Language
$200,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Friends of the Mississippi River to restore approximately 150 acres of prairie, forests, and oak savanna in the greater metropolitan area. A list of proposed restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Though many parts of the Twin Cities metropolitan area are urbanized, there are also has large areas of natural lands that continue to serve as important habitat for fish, wildlife, and plant communities. However, pressure on these remaining lands continues to intensify as population and development pressures increase. This appropriation continues the efforts of the Metro Conservation Corridors (MeCC) partnership, an ongoing effort by a partnership of state and non-profit organizations, to conduct strategic and coordinated land conservation activities that build connections between remaining high quality natural areas in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area and ensures their benefits are available for future generations. Friends of the Mississippi River is using this appropriation to restore approximately 150 acres of permanently protected prairie, forest, and oak savanna habitat in the metropolitan area.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Friends of the Mississippi River worked to enhance 150 acres of prairie and 82.5 acres of woodland for a total of 232.5 acres at six properties in the Twin Cities metropolitan area: Hastings Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), Orvin Ole Olson Park in Minneapolis, Pine Bend Bluffs Natural Area in Rosemount, a Ravenna Township conservation easement property, River Oaks Park in Cottage Grove and Rosemount Wildlife Preserve. We enhanced an additional 46 acres of prairie and 44.5 acres of woodland using non-state match. All of the project sites are within the designated Metro Conservation Corridors, a planning tool that shows connectivity among parks and natural areas.

All management activities were based on an established Natural Resource Management Plan for the site. Each of the projects were directed at improving the ecological health and wildlife value of the site by improving the abundance and diversity of native plant species. All of the sites were degraded by non-native plants that displaced the native plants and the wildlife that depend on them. Restoration techniques and activities included prescribed burning, control and eradication of non-native invasive plant species, native woody plant removal from prairies, seed collection, and seeding and plant installation. Such practices increase the resilience of the native plant community so that it can better sustain itself and provide better wildlife habitat. This project also enabled matching funds to be used to engage dozens of volunteers in these restoration efforts.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
FMR disseminated information about the project sites and the ENRTF primarily through two means. We published a couple of short articles about stewardship events at our project sites in our electronic newsletter that included information about ENRTF. In addition, during volunteer events, FMR discussed the project and the source of funding. The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund was also named as a funder in FMR’s 2016 annual report.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Nutrient Capture Through Water Management and Biomass Harvesting
Subd. 06h     $300,000 TF

Jeff Lewis
Red River Basin Commission
119 5th Street S, PO Box 66
Moorhead, MN 56561

Phone:  (218) 291-0422
Email:  jeff@redriverbasincommission.org
Web: http://www.redriverbasincommission.org

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Red River Basin Commission to evaluate the potential capture of excess nutrients using cattails grown and harvested within shallow flood reservoirs for bioenergy use. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Excess nutrients are among the most common impairments of water resources in the Red River Basin, as well as the rest of Minnesota. About 80% of the land use in the Red River Basin is for agricultural cropland and over 90% of phosphorus and nitrogen found in rivers and streams in the area originate from nonpoint sources, such as cropland. Excess nutrients are also one of the most difficult impairments to correct. The Red River Basin Commission is attempting to help correct this problem by using this appropriation to develop and evaluate an innovative, multipurpose method to use cattails and other vegetation within existing flood storage reservoirs to capture and reduce nutrient loads from runoff originating from mostly non-point sources and then use the harvested vegetation for purposes including bioenergy production and fertilizer. If effective this technique could be implemented in multiple locations in the Red River Basin and in other agricultural regions of the state to assist in reducing nutrient loads in waterways.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2017

Work Plan (PDF)


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Cattail Management for Wetland Wildlife and Bioenergy Potential
Subd. 06i     $74,000 TF

Daniel Svedarsky
U of MN
Northwest Experiment Station
Crookston, MN 56716

Phone:  (218) 281-8129
Email:  dsvedars@mail.crk.umn.edu
Web: http://www3.crk.umn.edu/faculty/S/WDaniel_Svedarsky.htm

Appropriation Language
$74,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Northwest Research and Outreach Center in Crookston to evaluate different management techniques for cattail control and related wildlife impacts in northwest Minnesota and to assess the use of cattails as a biofuel feedstock.

Project Overview
On many public lands in northwest Minnesota, cattail growth has far exceeded the distribution recommended for optimum wetland wildlife habitat and a need for cattail control has become recognized. Cattails have also recently been demonstrated to have bioenergy potential. Researchers at the University of Minnesota in Crookston are using this appropriation to evaluate cattail management and harvesting techniques in various northwest Minnesota habitats as a means of reducing an increasing overabundance of exotic cattails in wetlands, which are degrading wildlife habitat, while providing a value-added feedstock for sustainable bioenergy in the region.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Cattails are a major problem in Minnesota wetlands because their growth is commonly in excess of the 50:50 ratio of cattail/bulrush vegetation to open water desired for optimum wetland wildlife habitat. How to control them is the most frequently asked question by wetland managers. This project evaluated traditional management techniques (mowing, burning, grazing, and chemical) and explored the logistics of partial harvest for biofuel. Since 2005, the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Winnipeg, Manitoba has been evaluating cattails to remove nutrients from runoff water to reduce eutrophication of Lake Winnipeg, and develop an economically viable system of harvesting cattails for biofuel. This project used the Canadian model to evaluate possible applications in Minnesota. Management effects on vegetation, birds, and amphibians were measured. The energy content of cattail pellets is similar to wood (~ 8,500 Btu/lb.) and, at least for northwest Minnesota, are an ideal sustainable bioenergy source; available in large quantities, no planting required, and no competition with agricultural lands. Challenges include guaranteeing a reliable fuel supply in spite of varying wetland and weather conditions, and refine logistics so the energy content of the product is in favorable relationship to the total amount of energy required to harvest, transport, and process. Cattails produce 8-10 tons of biomass per acre so the resource is large since about half could be harvested in a checkerboard pattern for wildlife management. Over 95,500 acres of cattails are in the 10 northwestern Minnesota counties. What is needed is an integrated management system of dependable harvest, processing into an acceptable fuel (usually pellets), storage systems, and identify users all within reasonable proximity to reduce transportation costs. Such would help offset the expensive cost of cattail control, and generate a renewable and Minnesota-grown fuel that would help mitigate greenhouse gases. The potential economic and environmental values are significant.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Findings from this project and other case studies are being disseminated through presentations to a broad spectrum of interest groups (natural resource agencies, landowners, researchers, students, private industry, and entrepreneurs), through the electronic media, and by an illustrated booklet. The booklet by 13 authors contains a review of a broad range of management techniques along with a discussion of the ingredients of a niche industry, called the "bioeconomy" in Manitoba. Presentations were made to the following: Cattail Summit in Crookston campus involving collaborators from the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Winnipeg, University of North Dakota, Red River Basin Commission, Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, and the Hudson Valley Grass Energy Cooperative of Kingston, NY; annual meeting of the North Dakota Chapter of The Wildlife Society; Wetland Biomass Workshop at Loyola University in Chicago: Heating the Midwest with Biomass Conference in Rochester, MN sponsored by Agriculture Utilization Research Institute; International Wildlife Management Congress in Sapporo, Japan; symposium on Renewable Energy and Wildlife at the national meeting of The Wildlife Society in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Cattail Management and the Bioeconomy Workshop, U of Winnipeg, Manitoba; workshop on using cattails for bioremediation and energy sponsored by Red River Basin Commission. More recently, Ray Norrgard, one of the booklet co-authors and Wetlands Program Leader for MN DNR spoke on cattail management at a statewide wetland management workshop for 150 wetland wildlife managers sponsored by the MN Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Booklets were distributed and discussed.

Cattail and other resources on biofuels and sustainability are posted on the U of MN Crookston Center for Sustainability web page under "Reports and Resources." https://www.crk.umn.edu/units/center-sustainability. Also at the U of MN's Northwest Research and Outreach Center web site under http://www.nwroc.umn.edu/research/wildlife-management-biofuels with the booklet at: http://www.nwroc.umn.edu/sites/nwroc.umn.edu/files/cattail_management.pdf A list serv of wetland and sustainability researchers and managers has been established and sets the stage for follow-up collaboration.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Dredged Sediment for Forest Restoration on Unproductive Minelands
Subd. 06j     $300,000 TF

Tom Levar
U of MN - NRRI
5013 Miller Trunk Hwy
Duluth, MN 55811

Phone:  (218) 720-4333
Email:  tlevar@d.umn.edu
Web: http://www.nrri.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$300,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the Natural Resources Research Institute to restore up to 136 acres of unproductive mine stockpile while improving the treatment of municipal sewage and biosolids near Virginia using clean Erie Pier dredged sediment and managed forestry techniques. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Mine stockpiles are unproductive due to soil deficiencies of organic matter, nutrients, and soil organisms, which are essential to supporting healthy plant growth, diversity, and succession. Waste products, including biosolids, composts, and dredged materials, have the potential to be used to address some of these deficiencies and make the lands productive again. Researchers at the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota in Duluth are using this appropriation to demonstrate and evaluate methods for using dredged sediment and treated biosolids as a substrate for restoring up to 136 acres of unproductive minelands to productive forestland. If effective this technique could be applied more broadly to minelands in Minnesota and elsewhere with potential benefits including production of materials for the biofuels and forest products industries, increased wildlife habitat, restoration of unproductive lands, and re-utilization of waste products.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2018

Work Plan (PDF)


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Expansion of Greenhouse Production
Subd. 06k     $176,000 TF

Lana Fralich
City of Silver Bay
7 Davis Dr
Silver Bay, MN 55614

Phone:  (218) 226-4408
Email:  lanaf@silverbay.com
Web: http://www.d.umn.edu/cscd/victusfarm/

Appropriation Language
$176,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the city of Silver Bay to expand and enhance a city-owned greenhouse facility to increase system production for locally grown food on a year-round basis and reduce water usage.

Project Overview
New and innovatively designed greenhouse facilities have the potential to provide sustainable food, fuel, and other products year round by utilizing ecological processes and other practices to integrate production of fish, plants, and algae in a low input, self-sustainable system. The City of Silver Bay and researchers at the University of Minnesota - Duluth are using this appropriation to expand and enhance a demonstration greenhouse facility. Refined techniques developed at the facility have the potential to be transferred and replicated at similar facilities throughout the state.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Minnesotans currently import over 90% of the food they consume each year. New developments in Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA) have the potential to allow year-round food production in cold climates like ours. These CEA approaches hold the promise of billions in new economic development along with increased environmental and human health producing environmentally sustainable and healthy food year-round in Minnesota. Victus Farms is a 9,000 ft2 controlled environmental agriculture facility (CEA) in Silver Bay, MN operated by researchers at the University of MN, Duluth. Victus Farms is aimed at developing/demonstrating an environmentally sustainable and economically viable approach to year-round food production in cold climates. It also conducts applied research to improve these CEA production methods, and education to communicate the benefits of CEA and train its future workforce.

LCCMR Funds were used at Victus Farms to explore the potential of a wide variety of crops and production methods. Specifically, we wanted to determine the revenues generated per square foot of greenhouse space for a variety of potential crops, and determine the best methods to grow these crops. We were able to determine that lettuce ($101.76/ft2), basil ($125.84/ft2) and hot peppers ($130.00/ft2) were the crops with the best economic potential. In addition, we concluded that given its large local market and ease of year-round growth, lettuce has the best overall potential. We were also able to determine the most consistent, environmentally sustainable and economically viable growth method was a hydroponic approach including both vertical thin films and deep water floating rafts. As the result of this project work and its dissemination, two new related businesses have been created in Northern Minnesota and several others are in the early stages of development. These CEA approaches have the potential to create a new multibillion-dollar sustainable food production industry in Minnesota.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Since the LCCMR funded portion of our project began in June of 2014 we have conducted numerous dissemination activities. These include local, national and global presentations (13 total); Tours of the Victus Farms facility to a wide variety of groups/individuals (over 20 in total); Peer reviewed research publications (3); Technical Reports (10 total) and numerous media stories (8 total) in local newspapers, TV stations, Radio Stations and University of MN, communication outlets. Therefore, we have been fortunate to enjoy a great deal of interest in our work at Victus Farms over the past several years, and have had numerous opportunities to communicate our work to a broad audience from local hobbyists to community groups to private businesses to university researchers, to prominent, local, state and national policy makers. As the result of our project work and these widespread dissemination activities, two new CEA businesses (Mariner Farms and Wicked Fin Aquatic Farms) have begun operations in our region, and many others are in the early stages of development.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


Subd. 07  Land Acquisition, Habitat, and Recreation


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Scientific and Natural Area Acquisition, Restoration, Improvement and Citizen Engagement
Subd. 07a     $2,540,000 TF

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

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

Appropriation Language
$2,540,000 the second year 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 and improve parts of scientific and natural areas, and provide technical assistance and outreach. 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, 2017, 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 permanently protect approximately 240 acres of high quality habitat with rare species and unique natural resources of statewide significance; to restore approximately 770 acres of existing SNAs to conserve the rare features they protect; and to monitor existing SNAs to gauge, improve, and verify that site specific conservation values are protected and achieved. The project includes engagement activities for local communities to help build a network of people to be involved with their local SNAs.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Four parcels totaling 395 acres (238 acres pro-rated to this appropriation) were acquired and designated as SNA: two parcels totaling 286 acres (225 prorated acres) became the new Brownsville Bluff SNA (Houston Co); 37 acre (10 prorated acres ) new Crystal Spring SNA (Washington Co); and 72 acre (4 pro-rated acres) new Lawrence Creek SNA (Chisago Co).

Habitat restoration and enhancement project activities on over 1100 acres were completed including: construction of a 31-acre deer exclosure for a woodland restoration project; invasive species treatment on 442 acres at 46 SNAs; prescribed burns on 687 acres at 14 SNAs and prescribed haying on 120 acres at 2 SNAs; and site development work at 38 SNAs, plus new interpretive signs for 8 SNAs. Adaptive Management Plans were written for 9 SNAs and staff collaborated on 9 partner-led projects. Ecological inventory/monitoring of key species/ features was completed on 16 SNAs to inform or evaluate restoration and enhancement projects.

The SNA Facebook page achieved over 4,150 page likes. The SNA Flickr social media channel was launched with 42 members sharing over 675 high quality photos. Nature Notes e-newsletter was delivered to over 3,900 subscribers. Improvements to the SNA webpage included improved usability on mobile device, fully revised and Visiting Guidelines section of the SNA webpage and new/enhanced site descriptions. A series of three native lady’s-slippers posters were developed (2000 each) and distributed to promote SNAs and Minnesota’s native wildflowers. About 180 educational and natural resource management events were held involving over 1670 people. One or more volunteer site stewards help monitor and care for 131 SNAs (79% of SNAs – with a total of 165 site stewards). Regular communications are made with the stewards and SNA staff have provided site stewards (and other volunteers) with personal protective equipment to use during SNA events.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The SNA program uses multiple media to engage the people of Minnesota in SNAs and to inform them about work done with support from ENRTF. The extent of outreach supported by this appropriation include the following. The SNA Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaSNAs) page has achieved over 4,150 page likes by June 2017. The SNA Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/groups/minnesota_snas/) social media channel was launched in February 2015; the site allows high quality photo sharing and with 42 members sharing over 675 photos. The 16th (Winter 2015) issue of the Nature Notes e-newsletter (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/enews.html) was delivered to over 3,900 subscribers. Improvements to the SNA webpage (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/index.html) include conversion of slideshows for each site from Flash to Javascript in order to improve usability on mobile device and the Visiting Guidelines section of the SNA webpage was fully revised and new/enhanced site descriptions have been written. Acquisitions acquired with this ENRTF appropriation are also featured on the website: Brownsville Bluff (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/detail.html?id=sna02067), Crystal Spring (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/detail.html?id=sna02068), and Lawrence Creek (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/detail.html?id=sna02065). A series of three native lady’s-slippers posters were designed, printed (2000 each), and mostly distributed in order to promote SNAs (“Visit the Wild Places”) and Minnesota’s native wildflowers. Data and feedback were obtained from people seeking the first released copies of the 1st poster.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Metropolitan Regional Park System Acquisition
Subd. 07b     $1,500,000 TF

Deb Streets Jensen
Metropolitan Council
390 N Robert St
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone:  (651) 602-1554
Email:  deb.jensen@metc.state.mn.us
Web: http://www.metrocouncil.org/Parks.aspx

Appropriation Language
$1,500,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Metropolitan Council for grants for the acquisition of lands within the approved park unit boundaries of the metropolitan regional park system. This appropriation may not be used for the purchase of habitable residential structures. A list of proposed fee title and easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work program. This appropriation must be matched by at least 40 percent of nonstate money that must be committed by December 31, 2014, or the appropriation cancels. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
The Twin Cities area is host to a nationally renowned system of regional parks and trails that provides numerous outdoor recreational opportunities for the public while preserving green space for wildlife habitat and other natural resource benefits. Currently the regional parks and trails system consists of 51 parks and park reserves containing more than 54,000 acres, more than 300 miles of interconnected trails, and has more than 46 million visits each year. Through an existing grant program, the Metropolitan Council is using this appropriation to partner with local metropolitan communities to partially finance the acquisition of approximately 200 acres to be added to existing metropolitan regional parks. Priority will be given to lands with shoreland, lands that provide important natural resource connections, and lands containing unique natural resources.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2017

Work Plan (PDF)


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Mesabi Trail Development - Soudan to Ely Segment
Subd. 07c     $1,000,000 TF

Bob Manzoline
St. Louis & Lake Counties Regional Railroad Authority
111 Station Rd
Eveleth, MN 55734

Phone:  (218) 744-2653
Email:  bmanzoline@rrauth.com
Web: http://www.mesabitrail.com/

Appropriation Language
$1,000,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with St. Louis and Lake Counties Regional Rail Authority for the right-of-way acquisition, design, and construction of segments of the Mesabi Trail totaling approximately 11 miles east of Soudan towards Ely. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Running through the Iron Range of northeastern Minnesota, the Mesabi Trail provides a recreational and alternate transportation corridor for hikers, bikers, skiers, and horseback riders, as well as some designated snow snowmobile use areas. When completed the trail will include 145 paved miles extending from the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Ely - 115 miles have been finished to date. The St. Louis and Lake Counties Regional Railroad Authority are using this appropriation to develop 11 miles of trail segments near Vermilion State Park.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2017

Work Plan (PDF)


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Shoreland Acquisition on St. Croix River
Subd. 07d     $1,250,000 TF

June Mathiowetz
Washington County
14949 62nd Street N
Stillwater, MN 55082

Phone:  (651) 430-6016
Email:  june.mathiowetz@co.washington.mn.us
Web: http://www.co.washington.mn.us

Appropriation Language
$1,250,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Washington County to purchase 15 acres, encompassing 3,500 feet of St. Croix shoreland paralleling Brown's Creek State Trail in the city of Stillwater. The county will transfer the parcel to the city of Stillwater. This appropriation is contingent on the expenditure of at least $2,500,000 of nonstate match.

Project Overview
The St. Croix River is one of the most pristine, large river ecosystems remaining in the upper Mississippi River System. Washington County, in partnership with the City of Stillwater, is using this appropriation to acquire 15 acres containing 3,500 feet of St. Croix River shoreline just north of downtown Stillwater and parallel to the Brown's Creek State Trail. The land will be turned into a local nature park for trail users, river users, tourists, and area residents with passive recreation including fishing, boat launching, walking, and picnicking.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This $4.3 million project resulted in acquisition of 15 acres of property along the St. Croix River for a new shoreline park in downtown Stillwater to enhance ecosystems, restore public access to the riverfront and contribute to an even more vibrant downtown economy.

This premier property was one of the longest stretches of St. Croix River frontage remaining in single private ownership in Washington County, with approximately 3,300 feet of largely wooded area sloping toward the river and containing a beach. The long rectangular piece of land running from just north of the old Zephyr line depot almost to the Wolf Marina in downtown Stillwater lies within the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway District. The new Browns Creek Trail that opened in fall of 2014 runs parallel with the property and will connect downtown Stillwater to the Gateway Trail. State, regional and local residents and visitors will soon have a new gem of a park in which to connect, relax, recreate and take in the awe-inspiring St. Croix River.

The parcel was initially acquired by Washington County who is placing a conservation easement on it to assure its return to a more natural state in perpetuity and transferring it to the City of Stillwater in 2015. The City of Stillwater will launch a planning process to define the use of the property and develop a management plan for the restoration and long-term care of the property. This could include recreational uses such as shore fishing, short-term docks, walk-in boat launches, walking paths, nature observation, and picnicking, in addition to its trail access.

Collaboration and taxpayer funding from three levels of government made this project possible: $1.25 million in State ENRTF dollars, $1.96 million in Washington County Land and Water Legacy Funds, and $1.125 million in City of Stillwater funds.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Our dissemination efforts for this project focused on generating media coverage to make the public aware of the purchase agreement and closing on the property. We released two press releases about the project, one announcing the signing of the purchase agreement and approval of the project by the Washington County Board on September 17, 2014 and the other announcing the closing on November 25, 2014. The St. Paul Pioneer Press, KSTP, Stillwater Gazette and Stillwater Current ran news stories.

Project completed: 6/30/2015

FINAL REPORT


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Martin County Park and Natural Area Acquisition
Subd. 07e     $435,000 TF

Rich Perrine
Martin County Soil and Water Conservation District
923 N State St, Ste 110
Fairmont, MN 56031

Phone:  (507) 235-6680
Email:  richard.perrine@mn.nacdnet.net
Web: http://www.martinswcd.net

Appropriation Language
$435,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Fox Lake Conservation League, Inc. and Martin County to acquire approximately 40 acres in Martin County, including a ten-acre prairie remnant to be owned and managed by Martin County as part of its park system. A vegetation management plan must be developed and implemented and public access must be provided to the native prairie remnant. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
After years of discussions, some of the most diverse riparian, mesic, and dry hillside native prairie containing the only identified remnant population of Prairie Bush Clover in Martin County is available for permanent protection. Martin County is using this appropriation to acquire and permanently protect approximately 40 acres, including 10 acres of remnant prairie. The land will be turned into a county park providing recreational opportunities for local residents and educational opportunities for area students.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2018 [Extended in M.L. 2016, Chapter 186]

Work Plan (PDF)


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Minnesota River Water Trailhead and Landing in Morton
Subd. 07f     $198,000 TF

Ted L. Suss
City of Morton
PO Box 127
Morton, MN 56270

Phone:  (507) 828-3377
Email:  tedlsuss@gmail.com
Web: http://www.mortonmn.com

Appropriation Language
$198,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the city of Morton to transform a municipal parcel from a compost site into a Minnesota River water trailhead and landing and to design and build interpretative trails around the landing complex. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Morton, Minnesota is home to many unique natural, cultural, and historic sites, including sites from the US-Dakota War and some of the oldest exposed rock, called Morton Gneiss, on the planet. The City of Morton is using this appropriation to develop a municipal site along the Minnesota River in Morton to be converted into a public canoe landing and campground and a trail connection between the Minnesota River State Water Tail and natural and cultural sites in the area including the Morton Outcrop Scientific and Natural Area. The project will provide increased recreational opportunities and amenities for users and provide a natural classroom for students to learn about the river.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Charles Eastman Canoe Landing in Morton Minnesota, located on the Minnesota River has been completed.

The project began with the removal of buckthorn and other invasive species on the entire site by a Conservation Corp of Minnesota work crew.

A picnic shelter/outdoor classroom was constructed on the rock outcropping overlooking the river. In order to make this portion of the project fully accessible, a new road was constructed from the existing city street, a dedicated parking area was paved, and a bathroom area and a sidewalk to the shelter was constructed.

Several large granite blocks, mined in Morton, were moved to the site and arranged to create an amphitheater classroom.

Three primitive campsites, each with a crushed granite base and a fire ring, were constructed.

Trails, internal to the site, interconnect the canoe loading/unloading area with the canoe landing ramp, to the campsites, and to the shelter/classroom were constructed.

A cement plank canoe landing was installed on the riverbank.

A parking area was constructed.

The parking area, the trails connecting the parking area to the shelter, the camping sites, and to the river landing site were constructed by removing invasive plants and putting down a layer of crushed granite, a vegetation barrier, and an additional layer of crushed granite.

Interpretative, informational, and directional signage was designed, created, and installed. This signage includes a sign, conforming to Minnesota Historical Society standards for markers, that describes the life of Charles Eastman. An important element of the signage is a tasteful but prominent sign, visible from the river, announcing the landing site to paddlers.

This entire project was designed and completed not only to provide a canoe landing and trailhead, but to serve as a model for other communities along the Minnesota River State Water Trail as to how those communities can create a welcoming landing and wayside for paddlers and other recreational users of the Minnesota River.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The public has been informed of this project through local news media including coverage of a well-attended dedication event in September of 2016. Speakers at this event included the Chairman of the Lower Sioux Tribal Community, the Regional DNR Supervisor, and a member of the LCCMR.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been formally asked to include this landing, trailhead, and campsite on the official Minnesota State Water Trail maps for this section of the Minnesota River.

A two-county tourism promotion organization, the Tatanka Bluffs Corridor Committee, has been asked and will feature pictures of the trailhead site in its upcoming 2017 visitors guide.

The Morton Chamber of Commerce has included promotion of the site on its web site/Facebook page.

All dissemination efforts, including the main entrance sign, prominently cite the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and the LCCMR as the source of funding to complete this project.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


Subd. 08  Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy


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Solar Cell Materials from Sulfur and Common Metals
Subd. 08a     $494,000 TF

Lee Penn
U of MN
207 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (612) 626-4680
Email:  rleepenn@umn.edu
Web: http://www.chem.umn.edu/groups/penn/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$494,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop solar cell materials using nontoxic and common metals combined with sulfur. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Sustainable energy production is a major challenge facing our society. Solar energy is renewable and is a viable and attractive option. However, there are obstacles to widespread use. Current technology is expensive, making it difficult for businesses and homeowners to implement, and solar cells are commonly made using toxic and rare elements or using processes that require large amounts of energy. To become commonplace, solar cells must be inexpensive and robust, and they must be made of abundant, cheap, nontoxic materials. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to develop and test an innovative, more energy and time-efficient method for producing thin film solar cells made of sulfur and common metals instead of the more toxic and rare elements currently used in most cases.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2017

Work Plan (PDF)


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Innovative Groundwater-Enhanced Geothermal Heat Pump Study
Subd. 08b     $196,000 TF

Jimmy Randolph & Martin Saar
U of MN
116 Church Street SE
John T. Tate Hall Room 160
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (952) 457 8959
Email:  rando035@umn.edu
Web:

Appropriation Language
$196,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to analyze and validate a new geothermal pump method and technology that will reduce heat pump costs and improve performance and predictability. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10.

Project Overview
Space and water heating and cooling consume 48% of all energy used in an average U.S. residence, and usually that energy is supplied by natural gas or fossil-fuel derived electricity. Geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy requirements for heating and cooling by up to 75%. However, traditional geothermal heat pumps are expensive and their performance is difficult to predict before installation. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to develop, test, and demonstrate a novel geothermal heat pump technology that utilizes the heat exchange of groundwater flow to be more efficient, less space intensive, and less costly than current conventional geothermal systems. The technology has the potential to make geothermal heat pump systems have a faster payback period, resulting in more widespread use, and give geothermal a larger role in renewable energy production.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The objective of this project was to provide extensive numerical modeling and lab demonstration of a novel geothermal/groundsource heat pump (GHP) that was previously-devised and underwent initial modeling at the University of Minnesota.

GHP’s can reduce energy requirements for heating/cooling, which account for approx. 48% of average US residential energy usage, by 75%. However, traditional GHPs are expensive, and their performance is difficult to predict before installation. Our novel, groundwater-enhanced GHP method/technology should substantially reduce GHP costs while improving performance and predictability by taking advantage of the thermal transport properties of groundwater in a closed-loop fashion so that no groundwater is used and no contaminants are introduced to the subsurface.

This project sought to determine whether the groundwater-enhanced GHP was technically feasible through a combination of detailed numerical simulation and simple lab tests. For the numerical modeling, we used the codes COMSOL and OpenGeoSystem to simulate operation of our GHP in a geologic environment, specifically examining heat transfer between the GHP and groundwater over a variety of temperatures and fluid flow rates. For lab testing, we constructed a simple, simulated GHP environment and a basic version of our novel heat exchanger, permitting the performance of this exchanger to be tested and compared against conventional GHP units. Our numerical and lab results indicated that under a broad range of conditions, our novel GHP performs very effectively, with the practical result that fewer boreholes – as little as 1/5th to 1/10th – would be needed in real-world GHP installations using this approach as compared to conventional technologies. As boreholes are up to 50% of the cost of GHP installations, our method/technology should make GHP’s more economically viable.

To follow this project and demonstrate commercial viability of the groundwater-enhanced GHP, we must next demonstrate the technology in a series of full field tests. To that end, we have several pending grant proposals submitted or in process, and we have engaged a local engineering firm to construct these field studies. Our ultimate objective is to increase the use of GHP’s in MN and beyond, decreasing emissions and energy costs related to heating and cooling.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
To date, dissemination of project results has been limited in order to ensure that the design and performance of the novel groundwater-enhanced GHP remain confidential prior to filing of a patent application. As noted in the workplan, an intellectual property disclosure was submitted to the UMN Office for Technology Commercialization prior to initiation of this project.

Once a patent application has been submitted, we intend to submit our research for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Project completed: 6/30/2017 [Extended in M.L. 2016, Chapter 186]

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Demonstrating Innovative Technologies to Fully Utilize Wastewater Resources
Subd. 08c     $1,000,000 TF

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

Phone:  (612) 625-1710
Email:  ruanx001@umn.edu
Web: http://biorefining.cfans.umn.edu/bioenergy-bioproducts-cluster/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$1,000,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to demonstrate innovative technologies to utilize and treat wastewater streams for conversion of treatment by-products to biofuels. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Each year Minnesota municipal wastewater treatment plants generate large amounts of oily scum, concentrated liquid called centrate, and sludge. These waste streams are disposed of either in landfills or by burning or subjected to additional treatment. However, new technologies have shown potential to capture resource values from these waste products while lowering the treatment costs for these waste streams. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of several technologies that implemented together in a wastewater treatment system could improve wastewater treatment while generating valuable biofuel byproducts. Expected benefits of the technologies include reduced landfill contributions, reduced fossil fuel use, cost savings and revenue generation for wastewater treatment plants, and reduced air and water pollution.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Minnesota municipal wastewater treatment plants (MWTP) generate large amounts of oily scum, concentrated liquid (also called “centrate”), and sludge each year. These waste streams are either used as landfill (scum) and direct burning (sludge), or subjected to additional treatment (centrate). The goal of the project was to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing innovative technologies in municipal wastewater treatment plants. Three main activities were carried out during the project: (1) Processes have been developed to convert wastewater scum to biodiesel meeting the relevant ASTM standards, (2) Processes have been developed for sustainable growth of microalgae on centrate and full utilization of nutrients in the centrate stream, and (3) new processes have been developed thermochemically convert sludge to high value energy and materials.

During the research, the processes were evaluated for effectiveness and efficiency. Pilot scale systems for designed and fabricated for scum to biodiesel conversion, mass cultivation of microalgae on centrate supplemented by glycerol, and microwave assisted conversion of sludge to bioenergy and biomaterials. Four graduate students and four research scientists were involved and trained during the project. One patent for scum to biodiesel production was filed and one propitiatory technology for fast microwave assisted pyrolysis has been licensed to a company. More than 30 papers have been published on peer-reviewed journals. More than 10 presentations have been presented in state, national, and international meetings. Demonstration of the pilot systems has been given to Superior Process Technology, Resynergi Inc., Minnesga Inc., LZL Engineering, eVende, Metro Council Environmental Service. Media interviews have been given to Minnesota Daily, Channel 5, and Channel 11. The outcome of the project has significant impacts on Minnesota’s renewable energy production, environment conservation and protection, and economy and jobs. The new technologies can be implemented in mid to large size municipal wastewater treatment plants in Minnesota and elsewhere, producing significant amounts of renewable energy for internal use or to be distributed to the market, resulting in significant savings for waste management and disposal, generating considerable revenues.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

  1. The research activities were used to train students and junior researchers. Research findings were used to enhance classroom teaching materials
  2. Research findings were published in peer-reviewed papers (>30), presented in state, national, and international meetings (>10)
  3. One patent was filed and one propitiatory technology has been approved and licensed to a US company
  4. The technologies developed from the project have been demonstrated to various stakeholders
  5. The project was reported by local newspapers and TV stations
Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Transitioning Minnesota Farms to Local Energy
Subd. 08d     $500,000 TF

Mike Reese
U of MN
46352 State Hwy 329
Morris, MN 56267

Phone:  (320) 589-1711
Email:  reesem@morris.umn.edu
Web: https://wcroc.cfans.umn.edu/research-programs/renewable-energy

Appropriation Language
$500,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris to develop clean energy strategies for Minnesota farms in order to reduce fossil fuel energy use and increase local energy production. Any installation of infrastructure or improvements must be at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Production agriculture's dependence on fossil fuel energy carries significant economic and ecological risks. The energy consumed within livestock facilities alone is the equivalent consumption of several large cities, and agriculture currently contributes approximately 14% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the state. As consumers increasingly demand low carbon footprint products, adoption of clean energy systems in crop and livestock production would position Minnesota's agricultural sector with a competitive advantage. While Minnesota farmers have historically adopted technology to more efficiently use resources and optimize production, implementation of clean energy technologies on farms has been slow to date and farmers continue to opt for conventional fossil-based energy. In response to this, researchers at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center are using this appropriation to develop, test, and evaluate options for clean energy systems for modern swine production facilities and conduct associated outreach to increase adoption of clean energy systems at these facilities.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Agriculture production requires large amounts of fossil energy. The use of fossil energy for agriculture impacts the environment, air, water, and economy. The goal of this project was to provide swine producers with research-based information enabling the transition to clean, locally-produced energy. The project was organized into four tasks.

The first task was to design clean energy systems for modern swine facilities.

  • Energy consumption was audited at six commercial swine production facilities and the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC).
  • Facilities included breed-to-wean, nursery, and finishing buildings.
  • Energy consumption data enabled rankings of energy loads for each phase of production.
  • Results, for example, indicated that heat lamps for piglets used on average 49% of the electrical energy consumed in a farrowing facility. Producers would benefit by upgrading to energy efficient heating for piglets.
  • An engineering firm analyzed several energy efficiency measures (EEM) appropriate for swine production to reduce energy consumption.
  • Return on Investments (ROI) were calculated for each EEM.
Task two involved field testing of a clean energy system.

  • A 27 kW solar PV system was installed and tested on the WCROC swine finishing facility.
  • The system provided all energy consumed within the facility generating 30,000 kWhr per year.
  • Solar PV system ROIs were modeled for commercial swine facilities. Installation costs are declining but incentives are still needed to achieve simple paybacks under 10 to 15 years.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was employed in Task 3.

  • LCA was used to analyze the amount of fossil energy consumed and carbon dioxide emitted during swine production. Energy improvements were also modeled.
  • Results indicated the Global Warming Potential (GWP) emissions in the broader swine lifecycle were highest for feed production, which accounted for almost 60% percent of fossil energy and 50% of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Producers have management control on roughly 25% of the fossil energy consumed.
  • On-farm renewable energy systems can significantly lower fossil energy use on farms.
Task 4 involved dissemination of results and education which is described below.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

The Midwest Farm Energy Conference was hosted at the WCROC in June 2017. Approximately 90 farmers and other guests participated in the event. Swine energy workshops were conducted in other regions of the State. Energy information was provided to producers, who in total, market over 3 million pigs per year and represent over 90% of the State’s annual production. In addition, energy curriculum was developed for agriculture and science educators teaching secondary and post-secondary technical students. The curriculum is being made available on-line. Additional materials including conference video and slide presentations can be accessed at https://wcroc.cfans.umn.edu/research-programs/renewable-energy.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Task 1: Designing Clean Energy Systems (PDF)
Task 2: Field Testing of Clean Energy Systems (PDF)
Task 3: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) (PDF)
Task 4: Dissemination of results and education (PDF)


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Life Cycle Energy of Renewably Produced Nitrogen Fertilizers
Subd. 08e     $250,000 TF

Joel Tallaksen
U of MN
46352 State Hwy 329
Morris, MN 56267

Phone:  (320) 589-1711
Email:  tall0007@umn.edu
Web: https://wcroc.cfans.umn.edu/green-nh3-lifecycle

Appropriation Language
$250,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris to calculate fossil fuel energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions resulting from the use of local renewable energy technologies, including biomass gasification, anaerobic digestion, and hydroelectricity to produce fertilizer. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Minnesota supports over 14 million acres of cropland in grain production. Almost 600,000 tons of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are needed annually to maintain productivity on this land, which requires the equivalent of 3,000,000 barrels of oil and costs farmers over $400 million dollars per year. This amount of fossil fuel use results in a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, while the absence of fossil energy resources in the state means that these synthetic nitrogen fertilizers must be imported into Minnesota from other states and overseas. In response to this, researchers at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center are using this appropriation to conduct modeling and analysis of the viability of options for using different renewable energy technologies that could be implemented in Minnesota for generating nitrogen fertilizer. Findings have the potential to help reduce agricultural energy related production costs and make rural communities more energy independent.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Minnesota landscape supports over 14 million acres of grain production, requiring almost 600,000 tons of nitrogen fertilizers and costing over $400 million annually. Producing this fertilizer consumes the equivalent of 3,000,000 barrels of oil, which is a significant use of fossil fuels resulting in a considerable amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Minnesota has renewable technologies that are capable of the constant energy generation needed to produce ammonia, which would promote economic development, spur job creation in rural areas and improve the overall sustainability of agriculture. This project examined the viability of developing these baseload renewable energy sources for ammonia production.

Using life-cycle assessment and techno-economic modeling, the research examined ammonia production with three renewable energy options; gasification, anaerobic digestion and hydroelectric systems. The findings indicate that from both a technical and environmental standpoint, these renewable production systems can produce renewable ammonia fertilizer. However, the present economics make investing in renewable ammonia production unfeasible at this time. The current and continued low price of natural gas prices suggests that low cost fossil-based ammonia is a more economical option at this point. Past shortages and price spikes in ammonia fertilizers indicate that the economics and need for the systems might re-appear under different conditions. Yet, it is unlikely that these renewable ammonia systems would be viable in the short term without a significant consumer or other regulatory demand. Ammonia fertilizer is critical to Minnesota’s agriculture and the information from this study is available should alternative ammonia production need to be implemented on short notice.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The project used two main paths to disseminate scientific, technology, and economic information. The first was in-person via presentations to the wide variety of stakeholders interested in ammonia, agriculture, sustainability and rural development. Many of these interactions are during facility tours of the West Central Research and Outreach Center’s agricultural renewable energy facilities and production systems. However, team members have given a variety of presentation and talks on renewable ammonia production and renewable energy to the chemical engineering and ammonia energy interests. This is in addition to general discussions on farming energy inputs and improving farming sustainability that we normally have at conferences, in classrooms, and at farming events. The international members of the team have broadened the in-person dissemination beyond the Midwest.

The other main focus of dissemination is print and online media. Both can be used for reaching audiences that are not able to physically visit or meet with us at conferences. These formats also allow for informing audiences with a wide range of skills and interests. For the more academic audiences, we are developing a technical paper that will be published in an academic journal. The findings of the study are being written up as an internally published white-paper document for those interested in the practical finding from the work. Smaller summaries were developed as a handout for general audiences. All of these documents are or will be available on the project’s website at https://wcroc.cfans.umn.edu/green-nh3-lifecycle. The site also has links to other ammonia, agriculture, and research topics being studied by the West Central Research and Outreach Center and University of Minnesota Researchers.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Renewable Hydrogen Energy Pilot Program (PDF)
Modeling Anaerobic Digestion Based Ammonia Production (PDF)
Gasification-Based Ammonia Ethanol Production Model (PDF)


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Clean Water and Renewable Energy from Beet Processing Wastewater and Manure
Subd. 08f     $400,000 TF

Shaobo Deng
U of MN - Southern Research and Outreach Center
35838 120th Street
Waseca, MN 56093

Phone:  (507) 835-1495
Email:  dengx007@umn.edu
Web: http://sroc.cfans.umn.edu

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$400,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca to research the cofermentation of sugar beet processing wastewater and swine manure for hydrogen and methane production and to install and evaluate a pilot-scale system. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Minnesota ranks #2 in hog production and #1 in sugar beet production in the U.S., generating about 11 million tons of pig manure and over one million tons of sugar processing wastes annually. Presently there are not cost-effective methods available to deal with these waste streams other than land application, which usually results in nutrient runoff into ground and surface water resources. Better treatment of these waste streams is necessary, but treatment alone is not only expensive but usually fails to capture resource values contained within these waste streams that could be put to other uses. Additionally, these two waste streams together contain complimentary nutrients needed for biological processes such as fermentation and anaerobic digestion. Researchers at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center are using this appropriation to develop, test, and evaluate technologies that utilize these two different agricultural waste streams containing complementary nutrients to produce value-added byproducts in the forms of bioenergy and fertilizer while reducing the negative impact of both waste streams on water quality.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project has developed a novel treatment system to co-treat swine manure with sugar beet processing wastewater and produce biohydrogen, biomethane, and a slow release fertilizer (struvite). Overall outcomes and results can be summarized in four parts:

  1. A continuous biohydrogen and biomethane production process, taking swine manure with sugar beet processing wastewater as feedstock, has been investigated in a two-stage anaerobic sequencing batch reactor (ASBR) system. Three significant operational parameters (pH, hydraulic retention time (HRT), and total solids level (TS) of the swine manure) were identified and the optimal condition was determined to be pH 5.3, HRT 16.5h, and TS 0.78% for the biohydrogen stage with highest yield at 1.52 mol-H2/mol glucose, while pH 6.9 and HRT 51h was determined for the highest biomethane yield of 0.21 g-CH4/g-COD-feed;
  2. A wet-scrubbing biogas purification system for cleaning both biohydrogen and biomethane gases was investigated with optimal gas flow rate at 0.84L/min and 1.32L/min, with 0.3M and 0.2M NaOH solution, 6 min and 9 min replacing interval, respectively, to achieve complete CO2 removal;
  3. A struvite precipitation reactor system with pH 9.0, Mg2+/PO43- molar ratio at 1.5, air flow at 2 LPM for 30 mins determined for efficient struvite formation of 650 mg per liter upstream waste;
  4. An integrated system including the above three units has achieved a daily production of 7.8L/d H2, 28.3L/d CH4, and 1.95g/d struvite, with removal efficiency of TS, COD, TN and TP at 49.6, 76.5%, 65.8% and 76.8%, respectively, with a negative net energy gain due to the small system size and relatively high running cost.
A pilot scale system with 1000-gallon daily loading was estimated to have a positive energy gain of 630 kWh/d and the payback period for its capital and running cost will be nearly 2 years not considering maintenance cost.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Results produced from this project has been incorporated in teaching material for courses: BBE 4733/5733 – Renewable Energy Technologies at Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, lectured by Xiao Wu, 2015-2016; BE 461 – Bioprocessing Engineering at Department of Biological Engineering, University of Idaho, lectured by Xiao Wu, 2017.

An oral presentation has been made at ASABE 110th Annual International Meeting, with paper#: #1701057, at Spokane, Washington. July 16-19, 2017. Presenters: Wu, S., S. Deng, J. Zhu. Title: Hydrogen and methane production from swine manure and sugar beet wastewater by a two-step ASBR system.

Dissemination of this project will continue with publishing refereed and non-refereed articles, talking to people in the concerned industries and the stakeholders, developing teaching materials in college and graduate levels, demonstration of the complete system for co-treating swine manure and sugar processing waste molasses and education of stake holders and general public, etc.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Journal of Integrative Agriculture Paper Publication (PDF)


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Next Generation Large-Scale Septic Tank Systems
Subd. 08g     $258,000 TF

Bo Hu
U of MN
1390 Eckles Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-4215
Email:  bhu@umn.edu
Web: http://bohu.cfans.umn.edu/

RESEARCH

Appropriation Language
$258,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop a dual utility large-scale septic tank system designed for nutrient recuperation, bioenergy generation, and environmental protection using a bio-electrochemical system. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Septic tank systems aim to treat sewage generated by homes and facilities that do not have access to centralized wastewater treatment plants. Currently 25% of the U.S. population relies on these systems as their primary means of wastewater treatment. However, the treatment capabilities of these systems are limited and so byproducts can contribute to degradation of water resources and other environmental problems and the systems emit instead of collect powerful greenhouse gases such as methane. Additionally, the systems are actually an untapped source for recovering nutrients for other uses. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to develop, test, and evaluate technologies to improve large-scale septic systems to be more effective and capable of capturing valuable nutrients from the waste stream and generating bioenergy. The technologies could be integrated into existing septic tank systems and the information will be helpful to wastewater professionals in designing next generation septic systems.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Septic systems treat sewage generated from homes and mid-sized facilities that do not have access to centralized wastewater treatment plants. They are effective in retaining and degrading organic matters in the sewage, however, the tanks do not substantially decrease phosphorus nutrients in effluent. The nutrients may enter surrounding aquatic environment and have a negative impact in water bodies such as lakes and rivers. To overcome the limitation, we developed a novel septic system that is better at removing phosphorus and organic matter than conventional septic tanks by using a "microbial electrolytic cell" which uses electricity to promote biological reactions inside the tank. Different reactor designs, sizes and operational parameters were investigated, i.e., from laboratory scale to pilot scale. Laboratory scale experiments were carried out at the University of Minnesota - Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and the pilot scale was tested at the Saint Paul Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant of Metropolitan Council Environmental Services. A preliminary techno-economic assessment showed that around one third additional installation cost is needed to implement this technology, and this enables 50%-90% of the phosphorus removal from the sewage, compared to the conventional septic system. The collaboration with the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services led to the development of a new technology that can help communities effectively manage their wastewater treatment systems and improve public health and the environment. The technology developed from this project, together with the information obtained from the techno-economic analysis, could be useful to thousands of rural communities and help decision-making process of trying the novel tank configuration. When communities effectively manage their wastewater treatment systems, public health and the environment are adequately protected while the community has the management structure in place over the long-term.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The technology developed from this project, together with the information obtained from the techno-economic analysis, can be beneficial to Minnesota septic tank users, which account for about 20%-25% of its population. Besides the academic dissemination, a video of showcasing the pilot-scale testing system was posted in our website (http://bohu.cfans.umn.edu/) and youtube (https://z.umn.edu/lccmr-video) for general public access. Important and practical results from this project will also be disseminated in relevant workshops or in Onsite Sewage Treatment Program of UMN. During the study, project information, results, and major achievements have been disseminated through multiple ways. While we are preparing another two manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication, one paper was published. Four oral presentations were made in 2014 and 2016 AIChE conferences, and in 2015 and 2016 ASABE AIM conferences. Two posters were also presented in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Showcase.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Solar Photovoltaic Installation at Residential Environmental Learning Centers
Subd. 08h     $150,000 TF

Dale Yerger
The MN Coalition of RELCs
Deep Portage Learning Center
2197 Nature Center Drive NW
Hackensack, MN 56452

Phone:  (218) 682-2325
Email:  portage@uslink.net
Web: http://www.deep-portage.org

Appropriation Language
$150,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for agreements with Deep Portage Learning Center to coordinate with Audubon Center of the North Woods; Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center; Laurentian Environmental Learning Center; Long Lake Conservation Center; and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center the installation of at least five kilowatt institutional solar arrays at each of the six residential environmental learning centers as a teaching tool. Prior to the installation, the proposed placement of the solar arrays must be submitted to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources office to ensure the demonstration of the maximum educational value.

Project Overview
Over the past several years 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 - have been implementing demonstrations of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy on their campuses for use as educational tools for the thousands of students and visitors that come to the centers each year. The six environmental learning centers are using this appropriation to expand their energy demonstration offerings by installing 5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic systems at each of the centers.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Six Minnesota-made 6.15 kW tenKsolar arrays have been installed at six Minnesota Environmental Education centers. Each array has an internet-based reporting system that is hosted on the eGauge website. The device numbers are as follows:

  • Deep Portage: 19732
  • Wolf Ridge: 19723
  • Eagle Bluff: 16737
  • Laurentian: 19730
  • Audubon: 19735
  • Long Lake: 19742

You simply type in the device number, and various graphs and production numbers will pop up.

Teachers and students and members of the interested public will be able to monitor the production of whichever center they would like to follow; they can compare and contrast. All of the arrays are situated in public places where access to the general public is easily achieved.

We (the RELCs) believe that this project will be accessed by at least 25,000 people each year. We are the premier disseminators of Environmental Education in Minnesota, and this ability will greatly increase the knowledge and analysis of Solar Electric production in the State of Minnesota. Prior to this project, there were many arrays in Minnesota that did not have the public accessibility and analysis available to the general public. We believe that a new leaf is turning over at the RELCs in regard to Solar Electric education. These arrays should be solid producers for the next 25 years; therefore, the public will receive many years of value and top-quality dissemination.

As of August 11, 2015 the arrays have produced 12.53 megawatt hours of electricity, they have mitigated approximately 12 tons of atmospheric CO2, and are showcasing Minnesota technology and innovation. The unique reflectors of the tenKsolar arrays were formulated by Minnesota's own 3M Company.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Vigorous dissemination has begun at Eagle Bluff, Wolf Ridge and Deep Portage.

Wolf Ridge has developed an alternative energy brochure that features the solar array and invites guests and interested members of the public to take a tour. They have also crystallized their new solar electric curriculum around the array and are excited that the Jack Piccotta Science Center has gone net zero in the summer months.

Deep Portage offered six solar energy tours this summer and also prominently featured the array in the Izaak Walton League Camp (June 28-July 3, 2015) curriculum. There were also several dozen impromptu solar energy tours, based on people walking by the array and asking, "What's this?"

Eagle Bluff has used the array during the 2014-15 school year, as their array was activated last Fall. This past summer numerous visitors and campers were also exposed to the wonders of solar energy.

Northwoods Audubon, Long Lake and Laurentian have toured interested members of the public and will be putting great effort into this coming school year and embedding the previously developed solar energy curriculum into their school offerings.

Project completed: 6/30/2015

FINAL REPORT


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Itasca Community College Woody Biomass Utilization Project Design
Subd. 08i     $112,000 TF

Bart Johnson
Itasca Community College
1851 Hwy 169 E
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Phone:  (218) 349-9154
Email:  bart.johnson@itascacc.edu
Web: http://www.itascacc.edu

Appropriation Language
$112,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Itasca Community College to develop a final design for installation of a boiler heating system using woody biomass. Students at the college must be involved in the final design process.

Project Overview
Woody biomass energy systems have shown themselves to offer more locally-based, stable energy supplies for some communities. Itasca Community College is using this appropriation to design a renewable energy system based on woody biomass that will serve as a demonstration and educational tool in the region.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The design and bidding portion of project has been successfully concluded. Stanley Consultants, Inc. of Minneapolis, MN has completed the design specifications and documentation for this project. Design documents were developed and out for construction bids. Bids were opened January 11, 2015 and a contractor was selected, JK Mechanical. Installation is currently underway during this summer 2016 timeframe. Students in Itasca's engineering program were involved with the heat load calculations and measurement for sizing of the new boiler. Students in the natural resource program have and continue to do lab testing for fuel characterization of potential woody biomass feedstocks.

In regards to Goal 2, Project Manager presenting the project work at the April 20th 2015 Heating the Midwest Conference, in Minneapolis. An October "ribbon-cutting" day is planned with a demonstration of the boiler and an "in the woods" chipping demonstration. The day is planned as a day for local citizens, businesses, leaders, and elected officials to come an see the whole from the woods to the boiler process and showcase the potential of woody biomass with modern technology. In regards to Goal 3 & 4, a new industrial technician program called "Process Operations" was approved that will utilize the boiler technology as part of the curriculum. This program will have the ability to have a certificate focused on bioenergy and biochemical production as the marketplace develops.

Fuel procurement plans are in development with local logger. Scaling process is being developed to use a local truck scale and develop a recording/reporting plan that will be supported by the MN DNR and local land management agencies. Natural Resource students continue to be involved in testing potential fuel suppliers for moisture, fuel, and ash content.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The fall "ribbon-cutting" event will serve as a key aspect of the future dissemination activities. In addition to citizens, business, community leaders, and elected officials, key project partners will be invited:

  • Minnesota State College and University System (MnSCU) finance division
  • Swedish Energy Agency
  • Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio)
  • Bio Business Alliance of Minnesota (BBAM)
  • Skogforsk -Swedish Forestry Research Institution.
  • Itasca Economic Development Corporation
  • Blandin Foundation
  • Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB)
  • Stanley consultants

The project manager will propose the project for a presentation at the next Heating the Midwest Conference as a continuation of the presentation at April 20th 2015 conference in Minneapolis.

A October 21st Bioenergy Day, sponsored by Minnesota Power, was hosted on the ICC campus to discuss the future of bioenergy in our region. The Project Manager and ICC personnel disseminated information regarding the ICC Boiler/Woody Biomass Utilization Project at this event. Targeted audience was local and regional community members and representatives from the local forest product industry.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


Subd. 09  Environmental Education


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Minnesota Conservation Apprenticeship Academy
Subd. 09a     $392,000 TF

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

Phone:  (507) 381-3131
Email:  jenny.gieseke@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/

Appropriation Language
$392,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources in cooperation with Conservation Corps Minnesota to continue a program to train and mentor future conservation professionals by providing apprenticeship service opportunities with soil and water conservation districts. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and 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 continue a program that places students in apprenticeship positions with county soil and water conservation district offices throughout the state. This unique program provides 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
Future conservation leaders need to be familiar with Minnesota’s widely varying land-use practices, water and soil resources, plant and animal habitats, and landowner concerns if we hope to maintain the capacity of local organizations to deliver conservation on the ground. While college graduates with conservation-related degrees are knowledgeable in technology, theory, and research methods, they still need to develop their on-the-ground skills. Communicating with landowners and implementing quality projects are vital to the success of conservation efforts and best learned from seasoned professionals. The Conservation Apprenticeship Academy transfers knowledge from experienced Soil and Water Conservation District professionals to the next generation of conservation managers. Real-world experience gained with Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) during their busy season is experience that textbooks cannot convey.

This project funded the placement of 30 apprentices in 2015, 31 apprentices in 2016, and 32 apprentices for the first part of 2017. During this time the apprentices stabilized erosion on 916,318 square feet of slopes, planted 61,201 plants, trees, shrubs and seedlings, maintained 22.6 million square feet of restored areas, collected 3,505 water samples and impacted 2,451 people through environmental education and outreach.

In addition to these environmental benefits, the program also has a positive impact on students and conservation districts. 100% of apprentices indicated they felt more prepared to work in the conservation industry as a result of the program, and would recommend it to others. 95% of the Districts were satisfied with the work their apprentices completed, and 99% said 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, newsletters by BWSR and through the Conservation Corps newsletter, website and annual report. Information was also used to recruit apprentices.

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.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Youth-led Sustainability Initiatives in 40 Greater Minnesota Communities
Subd. 09b     $350,000 TF

Shelli-Kae Foster
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Ctr
12718 10th Street NE
Spicer, MN 56288

Phone:  (320) 354-5894
Email:  shelli-kae.foster@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Web: www.youthenergysummit.org/and www.prairiewoodselc.org

Appropriation Language
$350,000 the second year is from the rust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and Laurentian Environmental Learning Center to complete over 100 youth-led sustainability action projects in 40 communities in southwest, southeast, central and northeastern Minnesota.

Project Overview
Adoption of renewable energy technologies and energy conservation practices can contribute in a variety of ways to the environmental and economic health of rural Minnesota communities through costs savings and emissions reductions. Engaging and coaching students as the leaders in the process of implementing such practices provides the added benefit of increasing knowledge, teaching about potential career paths, and developing leadership experience. Using this appropriation the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and its partners are expanding an existing program called the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) to engage approximately 650 students in implementing 150 additional youth-led renewable energy and energy conservation projects in over 40 communities in central, northeastern, southwestern, and southeastern Minnesota. These projects will be driven by collaboration between students, community members, and local businesses and organizations.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Youth Energy Summit (YES!) program is designed to mobilize teams of youth to address critical environmental issues and emerging opportunities in Minnesota.

The YES! program impacts for July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016 include:

  • 36 YES! Teams completed over 280 youth-led energy conservation projects in 52 communities
  • Over 820 students in grades 6-12 participated in YES! and worked with local community leaders, businesses, schools, public utilities, waste haulers and other partners
  • Over 26,000 additional students and 125,000 community members were directly impacted by these efforts to decrease waste and increase energy efficiency

Over the last 2 seasons (2014-2016), YES! teams leveraged over $ 550,000 in local support of projects and in the form of in-kind contributions, matching funds, and volunteer hours and another $ 110,000 in grants, fundraisers and corporate support. These collaborative, student-driven projects included: installing hydration stations, building and maintaining deep winter greenhouses, school gardens, hydroponic gardens, solar boats and vehicles, installing waste oil recycling stations, improving recycling systems, reducing school energy bills, promoting environmental stewardship through educational events and more!

During the past 2 seasons, YES! staff conducted 4 Fall Summits, 25 Winter Workshops tailored to meet the needs and interests of teams, and a Community Convening co-hosted with Climate Generation. Teams participated in spring judging events each season with award winners highlighted in the Team Accomplishments documents.

The YES! program demonstrates that young people in Minnesota are ready, willing and able to assume leadership roles and take action to address environmental issues and opportunities affecting our state and the world. Collaborating partners for this project include: Prairie Woods ELC, Laurentian Environmental Center, Ney Nature Center, Central Minnesota Sustainability Partnership, Southwest Initiative Foundation, and Saint John's University. Of special note, the Royalton YES! team won the state-wide 2014 "Red Wagon" award from the Minnesota Alliance with Youth.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information on YES! projects are regularly highlighted through the YES! website (www.youthenergysummit.org/), blog posts, Facebook updates and Twitter. The YES! website received well over 25,000 page views from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016 with 68 % of these viewers being new to the site. Local media frequently print stories on YES! team accomplishments, the Warbler, a PWELC newsletter reaching 1,400 people, goes out 3 times a year and commits a page of each publication to YES! furthermore the YES! e-newsletter goes out 4 times a year.

Several communications and outreach activities have been done in relation to this Youth-Led project including one Community Convening hosted by the YES! Albany team in collaboration with Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. This event brought together community leaders, resource experts, parents and students to learn about climate mitigation strategies and to highlight local resources. A highlight of the evening was the telling of climate stories by 4 citizens, 2 of which were YES! students. Other outreach activities include tabling at local green fairs and events by student-led YES! steams.

The program's funding partners are regularly updated on projects and show their support through continued funding and volunteer time. Coordinators submit Press Releases to local and regional outlets for Spring Award winners and other important stories.

YES! staff and students presented at a 21st Century Skills workshop for the National Joint Powers Alliance in Staples, MN, (2015), Region 9 Economic Development events (2016) and the Smithsonian Water Ways exhibit at Prairie Woods ELC (2016) and plan to table at the Minnesota Community Education and Minnesota Education Association events this fall (2016). During YES! events, techniques such as S.M.A.R.T. goals have been developed and shared with the students and students have taken that information back to their Team to successfully plan and implement projects.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Urban Environmental Education Engaging Students in Local Resources
Subd. 09c     $1,093,000 TF

Meg Krueger
Wilderness Inquiry
808 14th Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone:  (612) 676-9413
Email:  meg@wildernessinquiry.org
Web: http://www.wildernessinquiry.org

Appropriation Language
$1,093,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Wilderness Inquiry for a collaborative partnership, including the National Park Service, Minneapolis Public Schools, and St. Paul Public Schools, to establish a metrowide system providing place-based environmental education experiences using existing, but underutilized, outdoor environmental resources serving over 15,000 middle and high school students. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, 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 youth, particularly in urban areas. 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 - is using this appropriation to expand an environmental education and recreation program that provides youth with hands-on educational and recreational experiences centered around the Mississippi River. Funds enable the program to offer experiential, place-based educational experiences to nearly 16,000 additional disadvantaged middle and high school students in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and six greater Minnesota school districts. Experiences will include hiking, canoeing, fishing, aquatic sampling, camping, and conservation-related summer employment.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
Wilderness Inquiry undertook this project of connecting youth to natural spaces in response to an observation that fewer and fewer young people access and enjoy nature than previous generations. With the growth of the urban population, resource management agencies were not in a position to connect young people to the Mississippi River and its surrounding parks and waterways. Through extensive partnerships with land management entities, federal agencies, local non-profit organizations, and school districts, Wilderness Inquiry exceeded the outcomes of this project by serving more than 25,000 Minnesota youth and families in the Twin Cities metro area and across the state.

  • Wilderness Inquiry connected more than 21,000 youth to place-based, outdoor learning through single-day events on the Mississippi River, Minnesota State Parks, St. Paul and Minneapolis Regional Parks, and more.
  • 2,794 youth engaged in deeper learning by participating in 2-3 day camping experiences as well as yearlong outdoor clubs. These experiences offered students the opportunity to gain comfort and confidence being outdoors. Fire building and shelter building activities were especially popular on these trips.
  • 1,207 youth experienced 4-5 day camping trips or 40+ hours of experiential, place-based learning. These trips included paddling in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area or Voyageurs National Park, hiking in Superior National Forest, or multi-day events in the metro area, exploring the history and ecosystem of the Mississippi River.
  • 148 students who participated in multi-day overnight exchange experiences introducing urban and rural youth to each other and the natural resources of each respective area. Despite the project ending in June 2017, Wilderness Inquiry will continue this program due to its success and growth over three years.
  • Wilderness Inquiry trained and hired over 50 licensed teachers to lead programs and design content for this project. These professional development opportunities for teachers resulted in hundreds of youth learning MN state-standard curricula through place-based outdoor opportunities. The teachers expressed that they will use the skills they learned and the content they designed in their classes for many years. Empowering educators to connect their students to outdoor learning is one of the greatest accomplishments of this project, and its impact is yet to be truly known.
PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION

Wilderness Inquiry successfully evaluated and disseminated the outcomes of this project through partnership with the University of Minnesota Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement. Final report briefs from 2014-2016 evaluations can be found online for the general public at https://www.wildernessinquiry.org/current-news/research-results/uwca-evaluations/. Results have been shared with the Wilderness Inquiry staff to ensure continued improvements to training and program models. These findings have been shared at conferences and with our local partners including Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Education, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, St. Paul Parks and Recreation, and others. Our work continues to be shared by our national partners including Children & Nature Network, City Parks Alliance, National Park Service, and National Summer Learning Association. In July 2017, Wilderness Inquiry was selected from a group of finalists to receive a national education award for excellence and innovation in summer learning programs, read more about the honor at https://www.wildernessinquiry.org/current-news/news-notes/wilderness-inquiry-wins-major-award-national-summer-learning-association/.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)
Canoemobile Evaulation Brief 2016 (PDF)
Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Evaluation Brief 2015 (PDF)
Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Evaluation Brief 2014 (PDF)


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Diversifying Involvement in the Natural Resources Community
Subd. 09d     $500,000 TF

Subd. 09d1     $416,000 TF
Gina Bonsignore
MN DNR
1200 Warner Rd
St. Paul, MN 55106

Phone:  (651) 259-5809
Email:  regina.bonsignore@state.mn.us
Web: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.html

Subd. 09d2     $84,000 TF
Raymond Newman
U of MN
135 Skok Hall, 2003 Upper Buford Circle
St Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 625-5704
Email:  RNewman@umn.edu
Web: https://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/

Appropriation Language
$416,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources and $84,000 is to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to increase participation of under-represented communities in the natural resource professions and in outdoor recreation by means of targeted urban outreach and stronger linkages between Department of Natural Resources programs and academic offerings. This initiative must be coordinated with other environmental education appropriations in this subdivision. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Minnesota's natural resource professional workforce is much less diverse than its citizenry and many other professional fields. The benefits of a more diverse workforce are many, including the ability of organizations to increase innovation and creativity, attract higher qualified candidate pools, and ensure services that meet the diverse interests and needs of all citizens. The Department of Natural Resources and the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to engage diverse urban youth, under-represented in the natural resources community, in natural resources education and developing outdoor recreational skills. Project efforts include connecting youth with close-to-home natural resource recreation and protection issues, a recruitment and retention program to introduce potential career opportunities, support and mentoring for those interested in pursuing natural resources college education and careers, and introductory experiences and internships in natural resources jobs.

DNR Project: OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa (CCMI), University of Minnesota and US Forest Service (USFS) collaborated on a project targeting the lack of diversity in Minnesota’s natural resource professional workforce. To increase involvement in our state’s natural resource community, we engaged under-represented urban youth and their families in natural resource programming tailored to their interests and needs.

CCMI developed an employment and education program for high school youth from under-represented communities in the Twin Cities. Over three years, 220 youth received career and academic counseling as well as natural resource experiences. Of that group, 34 youth – “the Bridges Crew” participated in an intensive summer program working alongside DNR and other agency staff. Weekly enrichment days and in-the-field experiences engaged youth in the science of natural resources restoration and management. Their final three weeks were spent working in the Superior National Forest, funded by USFS. Youth evaluations revealed that this capstone experience cemented the bonding experience among crew and with the natural world and showed that 87% of youth had more awareness of and interest in natural resource and natural resource careers than at the start of the program.

DNR hired and mentored five student workers who researched issues and solutions to increasing diversity in natural resource activities and careers. Their work led to the production of career brochures and activities that are widely used by the agency and others to attract a more diverse workforce. These interns planned, organized crew projects and enrichment days. With DNR staff, they collaborated with partners to organize four annual events, marketed to and attended by under-represented communities, introducing over 1800 people per year to outdoor recreation. At these events, the interns shared information about careers and nearby opportunities to continue their outdoor adventures. A summary that outlines the program and lessons learned is available on CCMI’s website.

DNR Project: PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
CCMI has created a Bridges page on their website that outlines the programs, goals and components of the Bridges Project (http://www.conservationcorps.org/bridges). Based on the work of project interns, the DNR produced a career guide and handouts that are aimed at attracting a more diverse workforce. The DNR has shared the career guide with all supervisors in the agency and will be posting them on their website for downloading. These materials are being used by our outreach staff and others, at career fairs and school visits throughout the state. A set of materials have been provided to college and career offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul high schools.

The DNR continues to work with outside partners to continue our collaborations and accomplish new avenues to connect with new audiences. For instance, on Aug 12th we partnered with St. Paul Public Housing to have a nature bike ride, with residents enjoying the outdoors. CCMI, DNR and the US Forest Serice will continue to collaborate on continuing components of the Bridges crew to the extent future funding will allow. Career engagement materials, activities and guidance documents will be shared with organizations we have work with throughout this project.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT - Bonsignore (Subd. 09d1) (PDF)
MN DNR Career Guide (Subd. 09d1) (PDF)
MN DNR Career Sheets (Subd. 09d1) (PDF)

U of M Project: OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The lack of diversity in the natural resource workforce and its educational pipeline is problematic as the need accelerates for a qualified and diverse pool of professionals to replace the retiring generation. Many under-represented students are not aware of natural resources as an alternative to better-known science and engineering careers. To address this issue, the University, in coordination with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota (CCM) Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and US Forest Service (USFS) created a program for under-represented youth that bridged their natural resource work experience with university natural resource pathways and programs.

Overall, we engaged over 225 youth in campus activities in natural resources. During college and career days, youth toured labs and interacted with faculty and students. During summer enrichment days, 34 youth experienced a variety of research and management activities including assessment of invasive aquatics and water quality, bird banding, urban forestry, research at Cedar Creek Reserve and wetlands restoration. For many youth, this was their first opportunity to handle a fish or a bird, or collect water quality and plant community data. Youth interacted with 8 different university faculty and numerous graduate students, learning about their career paths. Our staff and students valued this experience, as many are committed to enhancing the diversity of the next generation of natural resource professionals.

Post-program surveys showed that the youth gained awareness of and interest in natural resource education pathways and careers. However, our goal of enrolling as many of these youth as possible into the university’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) was less successful. Only two students were accepted into and participated in this highly competitive option. Focus of our work shifted to meet the needs of the youth recruited to work for CCM - counseling and mentoring students to pursue the whole range of college readiness options in high school. In conjunction with our project partners (DNR, CCM, USFS) we developed a collection of effective resource materials and engagement strategies that can be provided to high school youth in the coming years.

U of M Project: PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Monthly meetings with project partners (DNR, CCM, Forest Service) allowed us to provide input to and share materials that were developed in addition to coordinating efforts.

We developed a composite summary flier outlining the three most relevant majors in natural resources at the University of Minnesota. We distributed those at youth events and also at various recruiting events used by us, CCM and the DNR to recruit youth to the CCM programs. We developed a Facebook group page to engage CCM youth and make them aware of opportunities; we shifted the group focus to alumni of the various youth programs with the aim to maintain a connection with opportunities after they left the corps.

We developed an extensive set of PSEO materials for distribution to youth and use by the CCM college and career counselor and crew leaders.

Supporting materials have been provided to our project partners (DNR, CCM, USFS) and we have a collection of programs and opportunities that can be provided to high school youth in the coming years. Internally, materials were shared with project participants and partners on a google drive. The materials are now deposited with the Conservation Corps and available from their website (http://www.conservationcorps.org/bridges).

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT - Newman (Subd. 09d2) (PDF)


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Educating Minnesotans about Potential Impacts of Changing Climate
Subd. 09e     $325,000 TF

Kristen Poppleton
Will Steger Foundation
2801 21st Avenue S, Ste 110
Minneapolis, MN 55407

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

Appropriation Language
$325,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Will Steger Foundation to plan and conduct forums, workshops, and trainings on Minnesota's changing climate and the potential impacts on ecosystems and natural resources. An accompanying television program and information spots must be produced for broadcast and use at the forums.

Project Overview
Climate change has and will have profound effects on Minnesota's economy, agriculture, tourism, and natural resources. While climate change is often discussed in the broader contexts of its potential impacts at a national or international level, research has shown that climate change education and behavior change happens more effectively when the issue is made local and relevant. The Will Steger Foundation is using this appropriation to develop and implement efforts aimed at increasing understanding of the potential impacts of climate change for Minnesota and changing related behavioral norms of Minnesotans through the use of stories of individuals' experiences, facilitation of related discussions, and guidance toward additional available resources. Activities include holding public forums and educator workshops around the state, establishment of peer support networks, and the production and broadcast of information spots and a documentary on public television. Approximately 100,000 people are expected to be reached statewide.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
In 2014 Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy was allocated $325,000 from the Minnesota ENRTF to implement Educating Minnesotans about Potential Impacts of a Changing Climate. The project was branded as Climate Minnesota: Local Stories, Community Solutions and developed in response to the urgent need to increase climate literacy and promote behavior change among Minnesotans. The knowledge of local experts and the stories of individuals engaged in the issue of climate change were a key focus.

The two major activities of this project include:
1) 12 Statewide Public Convenings: 12 public convenings engaged 1000 Minnesotans and 100 community organizations, across the state. Convenings included presentations on climate impacts and solutions, and were community specific. A climate expert, such as Mark Seeley, presented on climate impacts including flooding in Duluth and increased urban heat effects in Rochester. In addition, a panel of community members shared stories of how they were implementing climate solutions, such as stormwater management through raingardens, or public health education. The convenings closed with a range of workshops featuring tangible solutions such as energy efficiency projects, building rain gardens or crafting their own climate story to share.

Post convening survey results showed that:

  • Participants show an increase in their confidence to talk about climate change impacts and solutions
  • PThe majority of participants said they met at least 2 people at the convening that they could email, call or meet with if they needed advice about how to deal with climate change
  • P88% of participants have taken some step toward mitigating and or adapting since the convening

2) Television production: In coordination with TPT, a 60 minute documentary, Minnesota Stories in a Changing Climate, was produced that shares the stories of six Minnesotans experiencing climate change. The documentary includes expert testimony and a discussion guide.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The results of Climate Minnesota: Local Stories, Community Solutions have been used and disseminated through a variety of means depending on the project activity.

Climate Minnesota Convening's
The model of public engagement that was developed and tested through Climate Minnesota has been shared, including the survey results of our convening's at:

  • CLEAN network (national climate literacy network) webinar presentation
  • Poster presentation at the American Geophysical Union
  • Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference

All convening's have a recap page where we have included audio, presentations and sometimes video for individuals to revisit and use as a resource. They can be accessed at www.climategen.org/

Finally, we have also applied for funding to use the model both nationally and locally. We will be presenting on the project at the upcoming National Association for Environmental Education Conference in October

Webinars
Convening survey results and featured stories from the convening's were shared at two webinars held in March and April. 250 people attended or watched the archive of these webinars.

Minnesota's Changing Climate Screenings
We continue to offer screenings and discussion of Minnesota's Changing Climate around thes state. They screenings offer an opportunity to customize discussion based on location. For example, one screening was held at Frontenac State Park and the focus was climate change impacts on natural areas, while screenings in businesses offer the opportunity to discuss behavior change in the workplace. We have offered it so far in locations engaging 750 people.

Educator Workshop
100 educators viewed and received copies and discussion guides of Minnesota's Changing Climate at the last two summer's institutes for climate change education. The majority showed interested in using the film in their classroom.

Storytelling Collection
Our storytelling collection has grown to 30 over the last two years. We continue to develop and coach individuals to add to the collection. Governor Dayton chose to use one of the stories from our collection in his "state of the state" address.

Media Coverage and Participation Summary
Climate Minnesota Participants:

  • 1100 Convening Attendees
  • 120 Community Organizations Reached
  • 45 Convening Workshop Leaders
  • 37 Storytellers
  • 130 Webinar Attendees
  • 12 Minnesota Stories in A Changing Climate Screenings
  • 750 Minnesota Stories Screening Attendees

Climate Minnesota Convenings Media Highlights:

  • 26 media stories about convenings (pre- and post-event coverage)
  • 15 stories in local papers (Bemidji Pioneer, Owatonna People's Press, Duluth News Tribune, etc.)
  • 3 blog posts (Minnesota Brown, MPR's Updraft blog, etc.)
  • 3 TV interviews
  • 5 radio interviews (WTIP North Shore, Mankato State campus station, etc.)
  • Additional mentions of convenings on MPR in lead-up to events
  • Climate Minnesota project highlighted by the White House in the announcement of their new Climate Education and Literacy Initiative (Dec. 2014)
  • Media stories surrounding Climate Minnesota have consistently used our "frame" - talking about climate change as a local and personally relevant issue

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Pollinator Education Center at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Subd. 09f     $615,000 TF

Peter Moe
U of MN - MN Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Dr
Chaska, MN 55318

Phone:  (952) 443-1408
Email:  moexx004@umn.edu
Web: http://www.arboretum.umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$615,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop exhibits for an educational center that will offer hands-on learning experience about the role of pollinators and importance of pollinator habitat. Exhibits must utilize and integrate the best available science pertaining to all pollinator types, particularly native species. Approval of the work plan for this appropriation is contingent upon the organization addressing how it will increase access to the center by youth at no or limited cost.

Project Overview
Pollinators play a key role in ecosystem function and in agriculture, including thousands of native plants and more than one hundred U.S. crops that either need or benefit from pollinators. However, pollinators are in dramatic decline in Minnesota and throughout the country. The causes of the decline are not completely understood, but identified factors include loss of nesting sites, fewer flowers, increased disease, and increased pesticide use. Developing an aware, informed citizenry that understands this issue is one key to finding and implementing solutions to counteract these factors. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is using this appropriation to implement educational efforts designed to raise awareness about pollinators, their role in the environment and the economy, and the challenges they currently face due to recent unprecedented decline. Exhibits, programming, and demonstration sites will explore the role of pollinators in plant reproduction, maintaining biodiversity, and supporting agriculture and provide guidance on actions individuals can take, such as with their landscaping choices, to help pollinators.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
It is well-known that pollinators are suffering due to loss of habitat, diminished diversity of native vegetation, and upticks in disease. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is in a unique position to introduce the public to the plight facing our pollinators what they can do to help. Last year the Arboretum hosted 462,000 visitors including 28,000 school children on field trips. Now all of these visitors will have an opportunity to learn the basics of pollinator science at the Pollination Education Center - through both formal and informal education. In collaboration with University of Minnesota researchers Dr. Marla Spivak and Dr. Karen Oberhauser, the Arboretum has created highly engaging exhibits that will encourage visitors to explore:

  • The intricate relationships between flowers and their pollinators,
  • The critical role of pollination in plant reproduction and in maintaining species diversity,
  • How pollination is vitally important for many food crops,
  • Creating pollinator-friendly landscapes in urban and rural settings, by helping to preserve and restore diversity and health of native habitats.

On the grounds surrounding the Pollination Education Center, the Garden for Pollinators introduces visitors to plants that are valuable for use in pollinator-friendly landscaping. Interpretive signage provides tips on planting for pollinators, observing pollinators, and offers citizen science opportunities and plant labels provide visitors with specific information on the plant species that they can use in their gardens. Zones in the garden for pollinators include:

  • Butterfly Zone - Demonstrates perennials, with sturdy clusters of flowers preferred by butterflies and caterpillars.
  • Compare Zone - Allows for comparison of native species vs. cultivars and their benefit to pollinators.
  • Bee Lawn - Planted with dutch clover, ground plum, and coreopsis as an example of a pollinator friendly lawn for low-traffic areas.
  • Wild Bee Habitat - An example of nesting habitat for native bees.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Minnesota Pollinator Partnership
Subd. 09g     $100,000 TF

Drew Larsen
Pheasants Forever, Inc.
1783 Buerkle Circle
St. Paul, MN 55110

Phone:  (308) 293-1194
Email:  dlarsen@pheasantsforever.org
Web: http://www.pheasantsforever.org

Appropriation Language
$100,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Pheasants Forever to complete 40 community pollinator education and habitat projects. This appropriation must be coordinated with appropriations provided by the outdoor heritage fund. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Project Overview
Pollinators play a key role in ecosystem function and in agriculture, including thousands of native plants and more than one hundred U.S. crops that either need or benefit from pollinators. However, pollinators are in dramatic decline in Minnesota and throughout the country. The causes of the decline are not completely understood, but identified factors include loss of nesting sites, fewer flowers, increased disease, and increased pesticide use. Fortunately, there are known actions that can be taken to help counteract some of these factors, such as adding diversity of flowering plants to the landscape in order to provide nectar and habitat for pollinators. Pheasants Forever is using this appropriation to pilot an education and habitat restoration program in 40 communities around the state that will involve 800 youth and 200 adults in learning about pollinators and their habitat and engaging them in conducting community pollinator projects that establish pollinator foraging habitat on a total of at least 40 acres.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Minnesota Pollinator Partnership was created because species like domesticated honey bees and monarch butterflies are experiencing alarming declines in their populations, and pollinating insects are an essential component in global food production. Our objectives of this program were to educate youth groups and the general public in MN about the value of pollinating insect species and the habitat on which they rely on to survive, provide hands-on opportunities for youth groups and the general public in MN to establish pollinator habitat projects, establish quality pollinator habitat projects that provides foraging habitat for native pollinators, and to create a model that would aide other Pheasants Forever (PF) chapters, land managers, biologist and the general public in MN in the establishment and maintenance of future pollinator habitat projects.

During the last three years, PF staff worked with our volunteer chapters and partners to engage youth groups and community groups across MN to establish pollinator projects. Small grants were offered to Pheasants Forever Chapters and our partners to establish pollinator projects. In order to take advantage of the grants, PF chapters and partners had to engage a youth group and/or community group in the establishment of a pollinator projects. In addition, PF chapters and partners had to provide educational activities and/or curriculum to those youth groups and community groups they were working with to establish the project.

Since the program’s inception, we have helped establish 43 projects on 137 acres. There have been 4,297 individuals who have participated in a pollinator partnership event, and those volunteers have donated over 4,500 hours of time planning, planting, and maintaining project sites. In addition, the program has been so successful that it helped us build a model that has been replicated across the entire country; and we have now completed youth pollinator projects in 20 other states.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information from this project has been used and disseminated in the following ways:

  • The program and projects have been promoted at Pheasants Forever meetings (i.e. District Meetings, State Meeting, Pheasant Fest, Professional Meetings, Program Website, Newsletters, Videos, Flyers, Facebook, Twitter, Press Releases, and News Paper Articles).
  • The program has helped produce program standards that are now used across the country to implement Youth Pollinator Projects. We now have projects in 20 states outside MN that follow the same protocols developed for the MN Pollinator Partnership.
  • In order to determine the impacts on those involved in the MN Pollinator Partnership, we distributed a survey and conducted post survey interviews with Pheasants and Quail Forever volunteers and staff members. Sixty-seven adult Pheasant Forever and Quail Forever Chapters volunteers responded to the survey.
Information created from this program will continue to be disseminated through Pheasants Forever channels. We plan to continue and grow this program across MN and the Midwest with the materials we have created through the MN Pollinator Partnership.

Project completed: 6/30/2017

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Raptor Lab Integrating Online and Outdoor Learning Environments
Subd. 09h     $186,000 TF

Julia Ponder
U of MN
1920 Fitch Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 624-3431
Email:  ponde003@umn.edu
Web: http://www.raptor.cvm.umn.edu/

Appropriation Language
$186,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Raptor Center to develop an environmental education program on raptors for middle schools that integrates outdoor experiences with technology and scientific investigation.

Project Overview
Increasingly many youth are disconnected from the outdoors and the natural world and many of these same youth, nearly 50% in Minnesota, are also not proficient in science. Yet such experiences and knowledge are necessary components for this next generation to understand and participate in solving the complex environmental challenges facing our world. The University of Minnesota's Raptor Center is using this appropriation to develop and implement an online learning environment for 7th and 8th grade students that links outdoor experiential learning with classroom curriculum by engaging students in the design and execution of student-based research projects that utilize real-world data from raptors admitted to the Raptor Center in conjunction with students' outdoor exploration of their local environment. Initially the program will be tested with a minimum of 900 students at five schools in different regions of the state with varying demographics and then made available to schools statewide.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Raptor Lab is a resource for teaching students science-based research through wildlife issues and outdoor exploration of their local environment. The goal was to link outdoor experiential learning with a STEM-focused classroom curriculum. The Raptor Lab curriculum addresses the urgent need to connect students with the natural world and inspire them to participate in solving challenging environmental problems.

Major goals for the project are to:

  • Instill in students an action-based conservation ethic through outdoor exploration
  • Expand access to an effective environmental education curriculum to middle school teachers and students throughout the state of Minnesota
  • Engage students in solving environmental issues through experiential learning and scientific investigation
  • Develop skills of critical thinking, collaboration and communication in middle school students

The Raptor Lab online environment has been designed, developed, built, and piloted. It consists of three parts: (1) Wildlife Veterinarian in Training; (2) Wildlife Researcher; and (3) Share Your Work. Part 1 has 6 videos and 5 activities to simulate training students to role play being a wildlife vet in training. Part 2 has eleven videos and two activities walking students through conducting a scientific research report on an environmental issue. Part 3 is an online environment where students can apply their learning by conducting their own outdoor field investigation. Students upload images, maps, sounds, data, and video to present their findings.

The Raptor Lab was piloted by 14 teachers in eight school districts (four metro and four outstate) reaching 1,010 students. Online assessment tools were created to assess student learning. The pre-assessment was taken by 911 students and the post by 652 (one pilot site dropped out mid-year and another did not administer final assessment due to schedule conflict. Pilot teachers took part in two workshops, receiving training and providing feedback and evaluation of the curriculum.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
The Raptor Lab has been presented at several conferences: the National Association of Environmental Educators, the Minnesota Naturalist Association, the Minnesota Science Teacher's Association, and the University of Minnesota's Grand Challenges Conference. In the fall of 2016, TRC staff will present at the Minnesota Education Association (MEA) Conference and the National Science Teacher's Association Regional Conference. The Raptor Lab was also promoted at the Minnesota Alliance of Geographic Education's workshops held at the LT Media Lab and the Minnesota Alliance of Geographic Education annual meeting. In addition, social media has been used to highlight the development of the Raptor Lab. Raptor Center Staff will also use their large database of schools currently engaged with their program to market the Raptor Lab to schools around the state.

The Raptor Lab is currently in use by last year's pilot teachers and has already begun to be expanded to other schools. Raptor Lab should reach between 1,000 - 1,500 students this school year. Teachers in Prior Lake middle schools are replacing sections of their curriculum with Raptor Lab to teach the scientific method and teachers at Rockford Middle School are integrating the Raptor Lab across subject fields to use in STEM, science, math, language arts, and social studies.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Wolf Management Education
Subd. 09i     $120,000 TF

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

Phone:  (763) 560-7374
Email:  sreed@wolf.org
Web: http://www.wolf.org

Appropriation Language
$120,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the International Wolf Center for outreach to metro area kindergarten through grade 12 classrooms and nature centers to help children understand wolf management issues.

Project Overview
Wolves are a hot topic in Minnesota, with the public sharply divided on management issues such as wolf hunting. The complexity of the topic lends itself to a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation that is not always helpful to resolving the polarized debate. The International Wolf Center is using this appropriation to help bridge the gap with science-based information by delivering on-site programs to approximately 460 classrooms in the Twin Cities metro area to teach approximately 16,000 students about wolf biology and behavior, the social and political conflicts surrounding wolves, and the overall effects of wildlife habitat loss throughout the state.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project was undertaken to provide engaging, unbiased 60-minute program about wolves to public school K-12 classrooms and nature centers in the 9 county twin cities metro area. An IWC outreach specialist presented these programs to help students understand the complicated issues surrounding wolves and wolf management.

A total of 546 school classroom programs were presented between Oct. 22, 2014 and June 30, 2016. Five nature center programs were presented as well, for a grand total of 551 programs, which surpassed the project goal of 460 programs, while coming in $18,535 under budget. These programs reached approximately 13,906 students as well as approximately 600 teachers. Programs were presented to 546 individual school classrooms at 77 schools in 27 districts and 8 counties. Programs covered basic wolf biology, predator/prey dynamics, role of wolves in healthy ecosystems, myths and opinions of wolves, wolf management, and importance of wildland habitat. The PowerPoint based programs included engaging video clips and photos. Students were also able to learn from handling artifacts such as wolf, deer and moose bones and pelts.

Students were surveyed pre and post program using clicker survey technology to collect data on knowledge of and attitudes toward knowledge of wolves and wolf issues. Survey data showed a range in increases from 9% to 48% from preprogram to post-program in knowledge of wolf facts and attitude and understanding of issues between wolves and humans. When the increase from pre-program to post-program was not as high, we found students had scored quite high on the pre-program question. 99% of the teachers who participated in a post-program survey would recommend the program to other teachers.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
This information will be available on the International Wolf Center Website at www.wolf.org, and will also be presented in the Winter 2017 issue of International Wolf Magazine.

Project completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


Subd. 10  Administration and Contract Agreement Reimbursement


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Contract Agreement Reimbursement
Subd. 10a     $135,000 TF

Katherine Sherman-Hoehn
MN DNR
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 10
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 259-5533
Email:  Katherine Sherman-Hoehn@state.mn.us
Web: http://dnr.state.mn.us/grants/passthrough/index.html

Appropriation Language
$135,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources at the direction of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for expenses incurred for contract agreement reimbursement for the agreements specified in this section. The commissioner shall provide documentation to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources on the expenditure of these funds.

Project Overview
Appropriations to non-state entities must be made through a formal contract with a state entity that manages all of the funds for the project on a reimbursement basis. This appropriation to Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) funds the expenses incurred by the DNR in contracting, contract management, and expense re-imbursement for most of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund appropriations made to non-state entities, including both new projects funded during the biennium and existing projects funded in previous bienniums.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This appropriation was used to support the ENRTF contract management program, which ensured that ENRTF grantees expended grant funds in compliance with state law, session law, approved work plans, and Office of Grants Management grants policies.

The DNR Grants Unit managed 39 grants active in FY 2015, including monitoring 32 grants. In FY 2016, the Grants Unit managed 59 active grants.

Between 7/1/2014 when the services began and 12/31/2015 when they ended, the DNR Grants Unit:

  • Made 199 reimbursements to grantees totaling $7,099,485.17
  • Prepared and executed 23 ML 2015 grant agreements
  • Published 6 editions of the quarterly newsletter for all grantees
  • Billed 1,619 hours at the FY 2015 professional services rate of $56.94/hr
  • Billed 720 hours at the FY 2016 professional services rate of $59.00/hr
  • Participated in the Office of the Legislative Auditor's Internal Controls and Compliance Audit of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. This audit, published in February 2016, identified no findings relating to the DNR Grants Unit contract management. It identified one finding related to DNR allocation of administrative costs, which the Grants Unit worked with LCCMR staff to resolve.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Project personnel were in frequent contact with appropriation recipients and LCCMR staff. Information was disseminated through manuals, training sessions, orientations, meetings, memos, letters, emails, newsletter, and phone.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2016

FINAL REPORT (PDF)


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Legislative Coordinating Commission Legacy Web Site
Subd. 10b     $9,000 TF

Sally Olson
Legislative Coordinating Commission
100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Rm 72
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 296-2963
Email:  sally.olson@lcc.leg.mn
Web: http://www.legacy.mn.gov/

Appropriation Language
$9,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Legislative Coordinating Commission for the Web site required in Minnesota Statutes, section 3.303, subdivision 10.

Project Overview
A website called "Minnesota's Legacy" was created by the Minnesota Legislature to help citizens monitor how dollars from the Legacy Amendment and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund are being invested in the state. This appropriation is being used by the Legislative Coordinating Commission to assist with the administration of the website.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2016

Work Plan (PDF)


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Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) Project Records System Upgrade
Subd. 10c     $100,000 TF

Susan Thornton
Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources
100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Rm 65
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone:  (651) 296-6264
Email:  susan.thornton@lccmr.leg.mn
Web: https://www.lccmr.leg.mn

Appropriation Language
$100,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the LCCMR for upgrade and modernization of a project records management system.

Project Overview
Per M.S. 116P.09, up to 4% of the amount available for appropriation from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) for a biennium is available for expenses related to LCCMR administration. These expenses include the LCCMR's project selection and approval process and its ongoing oversight of projects funded by the ENRTF, including both new projects funded during the biennium and existing projects funded in previous bienniums. This appropriation is for the upgrade and modernization of a project records management system.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2017 [Extended in M.L. 2016, Chapter 186]

Work Plan (PDF)


MN Laws 2014, Chapter 312, Article 12, Section 8


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Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center
Sec. 08     $1,460,000 TF

Brian Buhr
U of MN
1420 Eckles Ave., 277 Coffey Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone:  (612) 626-7173
Email:  bbuhr@umn.edu

Appropriation Language
$490,000 in 2015 is from the environment and natural resources trust fund for the Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center requested under this act, including a director, graduate students, and necessary supplies. This is a onetime appropriation and is available until June 30, 2022.

$970,000 from the environment and natural resources trust fund appropriated in Laws 2011, First Special Session chapter 2, article 3, section 2, subdivision 9, paragraph (d), Reinvest in Minnesota Wetlands Reserve Acquisition and Restoration Program Partnership, is transferred to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center requested under this act, including a director, graduate students, and necessary supplies and is available until June 30, 2022.

Project Overview
Terrestrial invasive species are species that are not native to a location and that pose critical ecological and economic challenges once they become established in that location. They come in the form of plants, animals, insects, pathogens, and microbes that can cause harm to natural habitat, urban landscapes, and agricultural systems. The problems posed by terrestrial invasive species continue to grow as existing infestations expand and new exotic species arrive, many of which are poorly understood. New ideas and approaches are needed to develop solutions and to stay on top of emerging threats. The University of Minnesota is using this appropriation to help launch a new interdisciplinary Terrestrial Invasive Species Research Center charged with using scientific findings to support policy-making, application, and resource management practices that address the terrestrial invasive species affecting Minnesota. The center will coordinate initiatives focused on prevention of establishment, early detection and rapid response, development of new control methods and technology, integrated pest management, and minimizing non-target impacts of control. Proven tools and techniques developed at the center are intended to be implemented statewide as applicable.

Project due to be completed: 6/30/2022

Work Plan (PDF)


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