ERSKINE, MN (May 11, 2016) – Private landowners in northwestern Minnesota can now apply for a new conservation program providing financial incentives for the protection of native prairies, grasslands, aspen woodlands, wetlands, and other natural landscapes. The program, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands: Protecting and Restoring Minnesota’s Important Bird Areas (TAP), is open to all types of land with the landowner retaining the rights to manage and hunt on the land. Grazing and haying are also acceptable uses with an approved habitat management plan. Lands enrolled in this program will stay in private ownership with the land protected through a conservation easement*.
“We want landowners to know about this exciting program that will conserve grassland and wetland habitat in northwestern Minnesota while giving the landowner an opportunity to request a payment per acre on their easement application,” said Alex Wardwell, restoration specialist with Audubon Minnesota. “We partnered with Minnesota Land Trust and received an Outdoor Heritage Fund grant to leverage our resources and to reach landowners within the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands area in order to protect and restore high-quality bird habitat that will benefit many other wildlife species as well.”
The Tallgrass Aspen Parklands is a globally unique transition zone between the eastern forests and the western prairies. Northwest Minnesota is the only area in the country in which this type of habitat is found. Sharp-tailed grouse, American bitterns, and other birds in decline, depend on healthy grassland and wetland habitat, respectively.
“I look forward to working with landowners in northwestern Minnesota who are dedicated to permanently preserving their land with important habitat values,” said Pat Anderson, program manager for Minnesota Land Trust.
The application period for this program is May 1, 2016 through July 1, 2016. Applications will initially be ranked based on the habitat qualities of the land, including the size of the parcel, ecological features, and location relative to other protected lands. The TAP program focuses on Polk, Red Lake, Pennington, Marshall, Kittson and Roseau Counties.
Landowners who are interested in this program can learn more and explore an interactive map illustrating priority areas visit mn.audubon.org/TAP. For questions about the program, contact: Alex Wardwell by phone: 218-687-2229 x11 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or other qualified agency that permanently limits certain uses of land in order to protect its conservation values. Landowners continue to own and enjoy the land and pay property taxes. Once created, the conservation easement is binding on all future owners of the property. More information can be found at mnland.org/protecting-land.
Audubon Minnesota has delivered conservation results by focusing on three program areas supported by science, education, and advocacy since 1979. Our mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. mn.audubon.org/TAP
The Minnesota Land Trust is a membership-based non-profit organization. Its mission is to protect and restore Minnesota’s most vital natural lands in order to provide wildlife habitat, clean water, outdoor experiences and scenic beauty for generations to come. The organization has completed 500 conservation projects permanently protecting nearly 47,500 acres of natural and scenic land and over a million feet of fragile shoreline statewide. Founded in 1991, Minnesota Land Trust is one of the first nationally accredited land trusts in the country. www.mnland.org
Funding for this program was provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
Available for Interview:
Alex Wardwell, Restoration Specialist
Ashley Peters, Communications Manager