Prairie Stewardship Assistance

Performance Area: Natural Lands

Number of prairie stewardship plans and management projects

Why Is This Important?

Prairies are Minnesota’s most endangered major habitat type. About 242,000 of the state’s original 18 million acres of prairie remain; these lands are home to more than 40 percent of Minnesota’s state-listed species (see Endangered Species indicator). Native prairie requires management such as prescribed burning and invasive species control to remain healthy. Approximately 50 percent of prairie land is privately owned, so conservation depends on private landowners.

What Is DNR Doing?

The DNR manages several programs to help private landowners manage native prairie. Landowners can receive help developing a stewardship plan from the Scientific and Natural Areas (SNA) program prairie specialists, or from private consultants funded by the SNA program. The SNA program prairie management staff then work to help the landowner execute the plan through various methods and funding sources.  Landowners can also enroll qualifying prairie land in the DNR Native Prairie Bank easement program (148 sites covering a total of 13,298 acres), and/or the Prairie Tax Exemption program (about 344 sites for a total of 11,941 acres enrolled). The DNR has been providing planning assistance to private prairie landowners since 2000 and technical and management assistance since 2002.

Target: Conduct at least 5 prairie stewardship plans and 50 management projects each year.

To reach this target DNR will combine state and federal funding. Expanded funding will be sought to continue and accelerate existing programs.