Conservation easements are a critical component of the state’s efforts to improve water quality by reducing soil erosion, phosphorus and nitrogen loading, and improving wildlife habitat and flood attenuation on private lands. Easements protect the state’s water and soil resources by permanently restoring wetlands, adjacent native grassland wildlife habitat complexes and permanent riparian buffers. Conservation easements also keep lands in private ownership and on the tax rolls.
The Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easement program is authorized in Minnesota Statute, and the Statute (103F.511) provides a definition of “riparian land” that applies to RIM easements. Under this definition, “riparian land” defines lands adjacent to public waters, drainage systems, wetlands or locally designated priority waters. There are approximately 520 acres in Itasca County enrolled in BWSR’s RIM programs. Funding for the RIM Conservation Easement Program is provided through the Outdoor Heritage Fund.
The Mississippi river and its connecting tributaries and headwaters lakes are essential to wildlife, bird, and waterfowl transportation and sustainability. The Mississippi Headwaters Board will work with the Trust for Public Land to protect the priority lands using fee title acquisitions; and the Itasca County Soil and Water Conservation Districts to implement the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program through the Board of Water and Soil Resources to gain permanent conservation easements. These actions will protect against fragmentation of forest land, and provide access to existing public land.
To see if your land is eligible for the BWSR RIM program or the Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor Easement program contact our staff.
Tim Frits, Forestry/Shoreland Specialist