Collaborating in Minnesota: Trust Species and Valuable
Minnesota Habitats Benefit from Land Exchange
By Tina Shaw
In mid-June, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service marked the completion of a land exchange that benefits Minnesota wildlife and habitats near Sandstone, Minn. and Minnesota National Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Tom Melius joined with realty staff from both agencies to finalize the land exchange at the Bloomington Visitor Center and were pleased that the project had reached completion.
"Land exchanges like this increase our efficiency, because the areas being exchanged are in close proximity to existing protected lands," said Melius.
All plants and animals will benefit through this land exchange and by the long-term conservation efforts of both agencies. These high-value lowland forests are home to American woodcock, golden-winged warblers and other trust species. Also of note are State-managed species ruffed grouse and American black bears.
Both Landwehr and Melius took a few minutes during the document recording process to thank staff for their dedication and persistence during this multi-year process. They noted that strong working relationships and an awareness of the potential in joint conservation projects like these will help build collaborations in the future.
Agency leadership and staff mark the completion of the land exchange near Sandstone, Minn. and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
Divesting to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:
- Rice Lake Unit, MN Valley, NWR, Carver County - 19.12 acres
- Nicols Fen, MN Valley NWR, Dakota County - 13.01 acres
- Savage Fen (4 tracts), MN Valley NWR, Scott County - 188.15 acres
- Sandstone Unit, Rice Lake NWR, Pine County - 2,045.36 acres
- Wright County WPA, Wright County - 25.55 acres
Acquiring from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:
- Rapids Lake Unit, MN Valley NWR, Carver County - 187.85 acres
- MN DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr
- USFWS Regional Director Tom Melius
- Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Manager (acting) Jeanne Holler
- MN DNR Chief of Wildlife Section Paul Telander
- USFWS Chief of Realty Management (retired) Ross Grimwood
- MN DNR Realty Program Coordinator Katherine Giel
- MN DNR Area Wildlife Manager Fred Bengtson
- USFWS Chief of Acquisitions Branch John Saxhaug
- USFWS Senior Realty Specialist Shirley Karman
- MN DNR Land Acquisition Coordinator Kim Hennings
- MN DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor Diana Regenscheid
- MN DNR Realty Specialist Bridget Jacobson
- MN DNR Deputy Commissioner Dave Schad
- USFWS Senior Realty Officer Pat Carroll
- USFWS Refuge Supervisor Jim Leach