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Monday, February 6 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Integrating Agriculture, Economics and Ecology in Dakota County, Minnesota

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AUTHORS: Alan Singer, Dakota County Minnesota Land Conservation Manager

ABSTRACT: Dakota County is one of the most ecologically diverse counties in Minnesota and home to more than 400,000 people. It encompasses fully developed and rapidly developing suburbs as well as rural townships with 230,000 acres of agricultural land. Funds from a 2002 voter-approved bond referendum has allowed the County to acquire 105 conservation easements and to assist other entities (such as the State Department of Natural Resources) to acquire land. More than 11,000 acres of land and 90 miles of shoreland have been protected as part of the County's comprehensive land conservation vision that includes regional parks, multi-purpose greenways, natural areas, shoreland, and agricultural areas.
Greenvale Township, located in the southwestern portion of the County near the City of Northfield, includes three creeks and a mosaic of wetland and grassland complexes among mostly agricultural land. The County has acquired twenty permanent agricultural conservation easements and two natural area easements in the township, totaling more than 3,000 acres with 23 miles of shoreland.  The State of Minnesota has acquired 157 acres of a recently established 1,693-acre Mud Creek Wildlife Management Area.
The County has initiated development of the Greenvale Agricultural Conservation Reserve. A preliminary analysis using hydrology, land cover, soils, and parcel ownership has identified an initial study area of 14,300 acres where natural resources, land management practices, economics, and regulatory, legal and other issues would be assessed. The primary goal of the project is to develop profitable, multi-resource management practices on private lands that restore the natural processes of the landscape, advance the concept of ecosystem services and markets, protect and improve water quality and wildlife habitat, enhance the area’s longstanding agricultural tradition and economy, provide a significant opportunity to integrate public and private benefits, and facilitate prioritization of  public and private financing and other resources.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm CST
Arbor I/II