DNR to grant $460,000 to local organizations for wildlife habitat projects

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 at 6:11 am

Nine conservation organizations will receive $445,000 in heritage enhancement grants from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to improve Wildlife Management Area (WMA) habitat for ducks, pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse and other species.

The DNR’s heritage enhancement grants are funded from sales tax revenue generated by state lottery ticket sales. The grant program is in its eighth year. The DNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife administers the program with input from local DNR wildlife managers.

The DNR also announced it will grant $15,000 in turkey stamp funds to three National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) chapters for local habitat projects.

“These grants are an opportunity for the DNR to support local conservation groups who want to enhance state-owned habitat for multiple benefits, including hunting,” said Dennis Simon, DNR wildlife section chief.

This year, 18 of 29 applications for heritage enhancement grants were funded. Projects include:

* Ducks Unlimited; wetland habitat improvements; $100,000.
* Green Corridor; prairie grassland management; $25,000.
* Minnesota Deer Hunters Association; brushland, grassland and hunter walking trails; $13,000.
* Minnesota Pheasants-Blue Earth County; prairie management; $8,432.
* Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society; brushland management; $50,000.
* Minnesota Sharp-tailed Grouse Association; brushland management; $51,568.
* Pheasants Forever; prairie/grassland management and prescribed burns; $144,000.
* St. Paul Audubon Society, prairie/grassland management; $23,000.
* The Nature Conservancy, prescribed burns; $30,000.

Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife program leader, said the $15,000 in grants to four NWTF chapters will be used for projects that benefit wild turkey habitat on state lands.

“Using turkey stamp funds and our conservation partners is a great way to leverage additional turkey habitat improvements,” Penning said. “We’re happy to be rolling this new program out and are pleased with these strong projects.”

The turkey stamp grant program, funded through the sale of turkey stamps, is in its first year. Six applications from five organizations were received. Four of those applications from three groups were funded.

Projects funded are:

* Park Rapids Chapter; Woody Cover and Forest Openings; $6,395.
* Triple Gobble Chapter; Oak Savannah; $2,750.
* Der Deutsche Longbeards; Woody Cover; $5,855.

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