2012 August Featured — August 06, 2012

Prescribed burning, a technique utilized on this refuge in Kansas, can aid in maintaining healthy prairie ecosystems (Credit: Tony Ifland/USFWS)

A collaborative project to protect and restore Minnesota’s native prairies and wetlands was announced August 1 by a number of state, federal, and non-governmental partners who have all signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on implementing the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan.

The 25-year, $3.5 billion plan identifies core areas for conservation focus, and will create corridors to promote connectivity between core areas. The partners will work to permanently protect 2.2 million acres of grassland habitat and 1.3 million acres of wetlands and shallow lakes by acquiring land from willing sellers. In addition, restoration activities outlined in the plan may include prescribed fire, conservation grazing, haying, and invasive species control.  Native prairie formerly covered one-third of Minnesota, but now encompasses less than 2% of its previous range.

Sources: Granite Falls Advocate Tribune (July 31, 2012), Star Tribune, Minneapolis (July 31, 2012).

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