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Two Becker conservation projects get $200,000 in Legacy Grant funds

Twenty grants totaling $1.83 million have been awarded to conservation groups to improve state habitat.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages the Conservation Legacy Partners (CPL) program to provide competitive grants from $5,000 to $400,000 to local, regional, state, and national nonprofit organizations, including government entities. The grants are for work to enhance, restore, or protect the forests, wetlands, prairies, and habitat for fish, game, or wildlife in Minnesota.

The grants are made possible by Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment dollars.

"Every year, Minnesotans envision new projects that can make our lands healthier and our waters cleaner for fish and wildlife habitat," said Ed Boggess, director of DNR's Fish & Wildlife Division. "The CPL program is funded by appropriations from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and enables people to convert these dreams into realities."

Among this year's recipients are the National Wild Turkey Federation, which received $48,000 to restore and enhance 100 acres of oak savanna on state wildlife management areas (WMAs); the Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club, which received $17,000 to restore native grasses to 178 acres of current cropland on new Waterfowl Production Areas; and MN Pheasants-Blue Earth Chapter, which received $10,000 to remove encroaching woody vegetation on 110 acres of prairie on the Maple River WMA.

Locally, Woodcock Minnesota received $137,040 for land enhancement and prescribed burns on 867 acres of land from northwest Minnesota to north of the metro area.

The Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District received $75,000 to help restore wetlands to help with Red River flooding in the spring and to increase waterfowl populations in the area.

Boggess encouraged nonprofit organizations to take advantage of this unique program. "Funds are available," he said. "The application process is easier than ever. It's a great way to leave a conservation legacy in your local community." Remaining funds will be awarded in a second round of applications that will be announced soon.

Since the CPL program began, more than 100 grants totaling $9.7 million have been awarded. The DNR's CPL program is an outgrowth of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, which recommended its creation to the state legislature. The program is now in its fourth funding cycle.