Trust seeking landowners to protect Minnesota’s bluff lands

The Minnesota Land Trust, which is launching a new phase of its innovative Southeast Blufflands Protection Program, is seeking willing landowners who want to conserve their forests, woodlands, prairies and surrounding areas.

Minnesota’s distinctive bluff lands are home to the state’s most diverse array of forest, prairies, streams, and wildlife. This unique habitat has diminished dramatically in the past several decades, though, threatening the plants and animals that call Minnesota home.

In order to combat this loss of the iconic bluff land, the Minnesota Land Trust is seeking willing landowners who want to conserve their forests, woodlands, prairies, and surrounding areas in Dakota, Wabasha, Goodhue, Dodge, Olmsted, Winona, Mower, Fillmore and Houston counties. With this new phase of the Southeast Bluff Lands Protection Program, the Minnesota Land Trust is seeking to protect at least 500 acres of high-quality habitat; applications are being accepted until March 1.

The program uses a market-based and cost-effective approach to acquire conservation easements from private landowners in southeast Minnesota. The Land Trust will purchase permanent conservation easements with funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund. Landowners retain private ownership of their land, and are able to use and manage it in the future in line with the terms of the easement. That includes selling, leasing, or renting the land as well.

Funding for this project was provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature and recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC).

To learn more about the program or to apply, contact Nick Bancks at 651-917-6282 or nbancks@mnland.org, or visit www.mnland.org/blufflands-protection-program .

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.

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.