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100,000 Acres and Counting

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Habitat Conservation Partnership Announces Milestone

Wright County, Minn., September 25, 2007 – A group of 50 supporters gathered recently to celebrate a milestone conservation accomplishment by Minnesota’s Habitat Conservation Partnership, an Environmental Trust Fund-supported effort. The Henry Lake restoration project in Wright County represents the 100,000th acre conserved by the partnership whose goals are to restore, manage and protect Minnesota’s wildlife habitats.

Supporters gather at Henry Lake to celebrate the 100,000 acre accomplishment of Minnesota's Habitat Conservation Partnership

Ducks Unlimited engineered and implemented restoration activities for Henry Lake, a 48-acre shallow lake on Albion Wildlife Management Area. Pheasants Forever purchased an adjacent property associated with Henry Lake and donated the property to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Grants from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act funded this project.

“The restoration of Henry Lake is a classic example of the type of shallow lake projects Ducks Unlimited implements through our Living Lakes Initiative,” said Jon Schneider manager of Ducks Unlimited’s conservation programs in Minnesota. “Through strong partnerships with groups such as Pheasants Forever and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, we plan to restore, improve and protect 300 shallow lakes throughout the state.”

The 2001 Minnesota Legislature formed and funded the partnership as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. The partnership’s directives are to connect high quality habitats and landscapes to sustain fish, wildlife and plant populations in Minnesota. The partnership also coordinates and focuses implementation of existing federal, state and private land and water conservation programs.

"100,000 acres is truly awesome," said Matt Holland, project coordinator for The Partnership and senior field coordinator for Pheasants Forever. "The Henry Lake restoration project is representative of how this partnership works. Multiple groups, doing habitat restoration in a focused area that builds upon existing conservation investments made by the state.”

The work is not done however, "While the 100,000-acre milestone is a fantastic accomplishment, our needs continue to outpace our capacity to deal with habitat issues," stated Jane Prohaska, project partner and executive director of the Minnesota Land Trust.  "Tremendous pressure is being put on our grasslands wetlands, lakes and forests. The lottery proceeds allocated to the partnership have provided a catalyst for good habitat work, and we need to continue being as efficient as possible with our limited funding." 

Schneider says to continue habitat conservation projects in Minnesota that have significant impacts on waterfowl and other wildlife will require continued funding support from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and private donors and foundations.

The partnership currently reports 102,659 acres in over 650 wildlife habitat restoration, enhancement and protection projects for Minnesota.  “The collaborative effort and seed money from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources have been multiplied over three-fold,"  said Tom Landwehr, project partner and assistant state director for The Nature Conservancy, "We have leveraged these dollars to bring over $65 million in federal and private sources to restore, enhance and protect Minnesota’s grasslands, forests, lakes and streams."
 
Member Organizations
Ducks Unlimited * Fond du Lac Reservation * Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe * Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources * Minnesota Deer Hunters Association * Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Minnesota Land Trust * Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc. * National Wild Turkey Federation * Pheasants Forever * Red Lake Band of Chippewa * The Nature Conservancy * Trust for Public Land * U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service * U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

Click here for more on DU’s Living Lakes Initiative.

Contact: Jon Schneider
jschneider@ducks.org
Phone: (320) 762-9916

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Related:  minnesota

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