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New Freeborn County WMA conserves critical swan, crane habitat

Published 4:54am Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A new wildlife management area (WMA) southwest of Blooming Prairie will conserve 500 acres of rolling hills, including 100 acres of wetlands, the highest point in Freeborn County, remnant prairie and remnant bur oak woodland.

The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public dedication ceremony at the site at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 6, off Freeborn County Road 35 inside the north entrance of the new WMA at 87911 320th St., 17 miles northeast of Albert Lea.

John C. Goetz of the Minneapolis law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben donated the land, valued at $664,000. The gift marks one of the largest individual donations DNR ever has received. It also is the first land donation to include a clause on the deed prohibiting the sale, transfer or conveyance of the donated property without the prior written approval of the donor or his heirs, executors, administrators or assignees.

An equal, matching amount from the state’s Reinvest In Minnesota program, which is funded by the sales of critical habitat license plates, will be used to acquire or develop other habitat elsewhere in Minnesota.

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