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Smith WPA Restoration


The proposed project will restore and enhance 80 upland and wetland acres at the Smith WPA Unit in Blue Earth County. This tract was recently acquired by the Mn Valley NWR Trust and is part of a 600+-acre complex (Howard Farm WPA). This project site includes 80 acres of degraded prairie and wetland habitat that is drained by shallow ditches and county/private tile lines. This farm lies adjacent to the recently purchased LSOHC Kendall tract (Pheasants Forever) and drains directly into the tract via County Ditch 56. The conversion of prairie upland acres to farm land and the drainage of 18 acres of wetland habitat have caused significant declines in habitat for a host of wildlife species. More than 90% of wetlands in this area of Blue Earth County have been drained. This loss of habitat threatens the survival and success of resident and migratory wildlife (especially waterfowl). It also has had significant impacts on water quality in the Crystal, Loon, and Mills lake Watersheds. This watershed is listed as impaired for host of reasons including: toxic blue green algae, high nutrient loading including excess Phosphorous and Nitrogen. This watershed is a top priority for clean-up and improvement by Blue Earth County (Water Management Plan) and local residents. Funds will be used to restore this prairie wetland complex: to prepare, acquire seed, and seed native prairie and also to restore wetlands. Overall, this project will augment the large partnership investment in this prairie wetland complex and in the greater Lake Crystal Area by the Trust and its partners. It will increase habitat quality and nest success for resident and migratory grassland birds, waterfowl, wading birds, and resident species while providing additional protection to the core areas of this complex. It will also provide benefits to water quality through filtration and storage and increase recreational opportunities for outdoors-men and women.

Program Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program

Status Completed

Dates 06/03/2014 - 06/30/2017

Project Manager Deb Loon

Grant Recipient Mn Valley Nwr Trust, Inc.

Grant Recipient Type Non-Profit Business/Entity

Primary Funding Source(s) Outdoor Heritage Fund

Grant Amount $42,500

Expended $42,472

Statutory Reference M.L. 2016, Chp. 172, Art. 1, Sec. 2, Subd. 5(K)

Management Unit(s) Local

Habitat(s) Prairie

Activity Type(s) Restoration/Enhancement

Primary County Blue Earth


Latest Indicator Number of acres restored

Target 80 Acres

Measurement 80 Acres