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Border Prairie Wetlands effort awarded $1 million

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission recently awarded one million dollars from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to Pheasants Forever (PF) and partners in Minnesota. This NAWCA grant will fund Phase III of a multi-year initiative to restore and enhance breeding and migratory habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife in the Border Prairie Region of Minnesota. The eight-county project area includes Meeker, Kandiyohi, Stearns, Todd, Pope, Otter Tail, Mahnomen, and Becker Counties.

This phase of the Border Prairie Wetlands Initiative includes six partners who have pledged to complete over 3.2 million dollars in habitat restoration and enhancement, easement acquisition, and fee-title acquisition over the next two years. The federal, state and private partners propose to restore 294-acres of wetland and grassland habitats, acquire 417-acres of conservation easements and acquire 916-acres of fee-title within the project area. Work will be completed on both public and private lands. This initiative focuses on accelerating the protections, restoration and enhancement of grasslands and wetlands along with the associated wildlife populations which depend on those habitats.

This NAWCA partnership will assist in achieving goals laid out in North American Waterfowl Management Plan as well as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources pheasant and duck plans. It also will assist stateside partners in meeting implementation goals set forth in the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan adopted in 2011.

“NAWCA support to accelerate wetland and grassland habitat restoration, enhancement and protection efforts in this geography makes good sense,” said Eran Sandquist, regional representative for PF in Northern Minnesota. “We have great partners working together in a geography that supports some of the highest densities of breeding waterfowl in the state, as well as a host of other game and non-game species, including pheasants.”

Partners include: Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Ice Castle Fish Houses, Scott Dirks, Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources, and Pheasants Forever.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 145,000 members and 745 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.