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Hubbard County lends support to Mississippi Habitat Corridor program

This Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor program offers private landowners, along or near the first 400 miles of the Mississippi, or on a major tributary or headwaters lake, an opportunity to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat by permanently protecting the natural resource value of their land.

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<br/><br/><br/><br/>This stretch of Mississippi River in Crow Wing County is protected through a Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easement administered by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. It’s part of the Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor Project, coordinated by the Mississippi Headwaters Board. Through permanent land protection — including RIM easements and fee-title acquisitions — the project aims to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat along the first 400 miles of the Mississippi River. The headwaters region runs from Itasca State Park through Morrison County.<br/><br/>This stretch of Mississippi River in Crow Wing County is protected through a Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easement administered by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. It’s part of the Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor Project, coordinated by the Mississippi Headwaters Board. Through permanent land protection — including RIM easements and fee-title acquisitions — the project aims to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat along the first 400 miles of the Mississippi River. The headwaters region runs from Itasca State Park through Morrison County.
Mississippi Headwaters Board
We are part of The Trust Project.

The Hubbard County Board signed a letter of support on Tuesday, July 19 for the Mississippi Headwaters Board (MHB) regarding a proposal to remove sheep ranch parcels from the DNR statewide appraisal process.

The letter states, “The Hubbard County Board of Commissioners wishes to offer its full support for the MHB in its effort to enhance and protect the outstanding and unique natural, scientific, historical, recreational and cultural values in the first 400 miles of the Mississippi River – from its source at Lake Itasca in Clearwater County to the southerly boundary of Morrison County.”

Funding for the Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor program was appropriated by the state legislature and approved by the Outdoor Heritage Council to begin the acquisition immediately.

Land protection is achieved via fee-title acquisition or by enrolling land in The Reinvest in Minnesota conservation easement program.

The program’s goal is “to create and expand contiguous habitat complexes of permanently protected uplands and shoreland for the benefit of fish and wildlife habitat, migratory waterfowl, reduction of forest fragmentation, enhanced public recreational opportunities and the protection of water quality.”

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The county board offered its support to remove sheep ranch parcels from the appraisal process “because the property is unique, being that it contains multiple lakes and significant development potential, unlike the other purchased Potlatch land by The Conservation Fund.”

This Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor program offers private landowners, along or near the first 400 miles of the Mississippi, or on a major tributary or headwaters lake, an opportunity to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat by permanently protecting the natural resource value of their land.

Since this program began in 2016, over 3,441 acres and 31 miles of shoreland have been protected. Projects on 2,000 additional acres and 15 miles of shoreland will be completed soon, according to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ (BWSR) website.

According to a fact sheet, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) purchases the land at a fair market value and “conveys the fee-title to either the DNR or the county for permanent ownership and future protection and management of the property’s fish, wildlife, and forestry features, along with public recreational opportunities.”

Program partners are MHB, BWSR, TPL and Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca and Morrison soil and water conservation districts, with stakeholder support from the DNR and the Nature Conservancy.

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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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