Ikes receive $15K Legacy grant

Published 11:42 am Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Izaak Walton League has received a $15,000 Conservation Program Legacy grant they will use to clear buckthorn brush from the Ramsey Mill Pond Oak Forest just north of Austin. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

A local conservation group is sharing the wealth from the latest round of Conservation Program Legacy grants issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The local chapter of the Izaak Walton League received $15,000 in CPL funding to remove invasive buckthorn brush from the Ramsey Mill Pond Oak Forest, which lies along the Cedar River, northeast of Austin.

“It’s at the beginning of the Cedar River,” said local Izaak Walton League President Jim Stiles. “It’s just really pretty down there. It’s just beautiful.”

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The Ikes are among 38 recipients of the latest round of CPL funding, which totals more than $2.6 million and will restore, enhance or protect more than 3,500 acres around the state.

According to Stiles, the group will take bids for the roughly 32-acre project and ask for volunteers to get the most “bang for the buck.” Stiles said more volunteers could expand the project, as well. He hopes the project will show people the potential for trails and other recreational uses in that area.

The project won’t likely be undertaken until next February or March, so native flora and fauna won’t be disturbed.

This round of grants is the fifth time CPL grants have been awarded in the past three years. Grant recipients must provide a financial match of non-state funds that total 10 to 15 percent of the requested amount. Matching funds totaled more than $1 million during the latest funding cycle.

“This habitat grant program was designed to engage and empower citizens, conservation organizations and governments at the local level,” said Sam Fleitman, CPL Grants Program coordinator. “That’s happening. Organizations are submitting good projects, supporting them with their own funds, and leveraging even larger results with Legacy Amendment dollars used for their intended purpose.”

Examples of other newly funded projects include:


• Providing a habitat corridor along the Vermillion River from Hastings to Farmington.

• Adding 135 acres to the Clair Rollings Wildlife Management Area in western Minnesota’s Swift County.

• Obtaining conservation easements to protect important habitat and 2,000 feet of sensitive shoreline in Carlton County near Moose Lake State Park.

Local, regional, state and national nonprofit organizations — including government entities — can apply for CPL grants from $5,000 to $400,000. Since the CPL program began, more than 140 grants totaling $12.3 million have been awarded to help 48,500 acres of habitat.

Fleitman said the next application cycle is tentatively set to open in August with an application deadline in mid-September. The CPL web page at www.mndnr.gov/grants/habitat/cpl will be updated as soon as specific dates are determined.

The CPL program is an outgrowth of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, which recommended its creation to the state Legislature. Grant funds are provided annually from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which receives 33 percent of the income generated by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment’s three-eighths of 1 percent statewide sales tax.