Final Environmental Assessment
The Final Environmental Assessment is provided here in portable document format (pdf). To see it, you need Acrobat Reader software, and it is available for free on the Adobe website.
Environmental Assessment (1 MB)
Figure 2 (158 KB)
Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Assessment
Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge was formally established on Tuesday, October 26, 2004, with the donation of 2,300 acres by The Nature Conservancy.The new refuge is located in Polk County in northwestern Minnesota, approximately 12 miles east of Crookston along State Highway 2.
As envisioned, the project will restore up to 12,000 acres of drained wetland basins and approximately 20,000 acres of tallgrass prairie habitat over the course of many years. The restored land will provide important breeding habitat for waterfowl, Sandhill Cranes, shorebirds, prairie grassland song birds and Prairie Chickens. The project will also improve water quality for local fisheries and decrease downstream flooding potential as many of the wetlands are at the top of the watershed at this location. The restored wetlands may also help protect water quality for the residents of Crookston as the city wells are near this area.
The Refuge will be a natural haven for both wildlife and people. Habitats for wetland and grassland bird species and rare prairie plants are steadily declining in Minnesota due to habitat loss and other factors. This national wildlife refuge will protect existing habitat and restore habitat for these and other species as well as provide opportunities for compatible outdoor recreation such as hiking, wildlife watching and hunting. The Refuge lies within 7 miles of the 2,120-acre Rydell National Wildlife Refuge, which is located near Maple Lake.
The Service is authorized to acquire up to 35,750 acres for the Refuge. Lands donated by The Nature Conservancy are expected to eventually constitute the majority of the Refuge. Land acquisition from private landowners will occur on a willing-seller-only basis.
Before establishing Glacial Ridge NWR, the Service prepared an Environmental Assessment exploring the biological and social aspects of several land management alternatives, including taking no action.
The Environmental Assessment concludes that the new refuge will have little or no overall impact on the tax burden for local residents. The Refuge will be established slowly over time, and all land acquisition will be on a willing-seller-only basis.
Public participation in the planning process has been a vital element in this project. In addition to posting information on this web site, the Service hosted open houses in the project area when the Refuge was initially proposed in the summer of 2000 and again in January 2001 to discuss the draft Environmental Assessment.
In addition to being available through this web site in portable document format (pdf), paper copies of the Final EA will be available later this year. You can request a copy of the Final EA by e-mailing us, and you are also welcome to write us at:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Division of Conservation Planning
Attention: Glacial Ridge NWR
BHW Federal Building, Room 530
1 Federal Drive
Ft. Snelling, MN 55105