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Looking for a Few Good Landowners

Web posted July 10, 2018
The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation has a unique opportunity to offer landowners--the ability to protect our water quality, preserve critical habitat, and receive compensation for keeping this region unique and special. We launched our Clean Water Critical Habitat Program in 2014 with funding provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund. This program assists conservationminded landowners to place conservation easements on critical shoreland and forested parcels on tullibee refuge lakes and their watersheds in Cass, Hubbard, Crow-Wing, and Aitkin counties, an effective approach to protecting water quality. Conservation easements are individually tailored agreements by which landowners limit the use and development of their property to permanently preserve its natural or scenic features. These features may include significant wildlife and plant habitat, lake or river shoreline, wetlands or important scenic or cultural lands that benefit the public. Projects that reduce shoreline development and watershed disturbances yield the greatest conservation return.

Researchers have established a direct correlation between increasing development and declining water quality. We only have to look at lakes in other parts of the country to see the impacts poor water quality can have. Attempts at lake restoration are extremely expensive and often ineffective. With this program, we have an opportunity to make wise investments today that will protect your lake and avoid the costly mistakes that other regions are facing. We are eager to meet with interested landowners who want to learn more about conservation easements and how powerful land conservation can be in protecting water quality. Here is your opportunity to protect the place you love and receive compensation for doing it.

This is a competitive program and applications need to be reviewed, scored, and carefully considered by technical review teams. Each landowner will have their land scored based on a set of established habitat value factors. The score considers the size of the parcel, ecological features, amount of shoreline,  protection of water quality, location in relation to other protected lands, existence of forest management plans, and the number of additional homesites the applicant would like to retain. The application deadline for the Clean Water Critical Habitat Program is July 31, 2018.

For more information please call our office directly, 218-547-4510 or visit our website at www.leechlakewatershed.org.

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