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LLAWF Recommended for $2.1 Million for Fisheries Habitat Protection in North Central Minnesota

The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation (LLAWF) has been recommended for funding of $2.13 million by the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) with final approval pending with the 2014 legislature. The Council was created with the passage of the 2008 constitutional Legacy Amendment and is charged with recommending annual appropriations from the Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF), which receives one-third of the proceeds from the dedicated sales tax established by the amendment.

Upon approval of funding, LLAWF will acquire 105 acres and over one mile of shoreline in Woods Bay of Roosevelt Lake in Crow Wing County. The property will have final ownership with the MN DNR as a new aquatic management area, fully open to the public for hunting, fishing, and other recreational pursuits. Roosevelt Lake is one of 38 lakes in North Central Minnesota called “tullibee refuge lakes.” These lakes are deep, cold water lakes, with good water quality that support high populations of tullibee (cisco), the forage fish for walleye, muskie, pike, and lake trout.  The acquisition will protect a highly desired spawning area for newly stocked muskie and other fish habitat and help insure continued high quality waters for a sustained fishery.

Additionally with the funding the Minnesota Land Trust, in partnership with the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, will acquire conservation easements on over 400 acres and 3+ miles of critical shorelands on privately owned shorelands parcels or forest parcels within the watersheds of priority “tullibee refuge” lakes in North Central Minnesota.  In perpetuity, the conservation easements will help protect the near-shore physical fish habitat and the water quality habitat in light of shoreland development and looming climate change.  

 This project is Phase II of the initial $1.098 million OHF-funded project “Protecting Priority Shorelands in North Central Minnesota.” The initial funding is being used by LLAWF and its partner, the Minnesota Land Trust, to financially assist conservation-minded landowners in Cass, Crow Wing, and Aitkin counties who are willing to donate a conservation easement on their sensitive shoreland property.  When this project is completed in June 2014, nearly 600 acres and 3-4 miles of critical shorelands will be permanently protected with conservation easements for the benefit of critical fish and wildlife habitat.

The Tullibee In Peril

 An article published February 23, 2014 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press discusses the importance of protecting tullibee and cites the work of the Leech Lake Area Watershed as an importance player in helping the DNR meet their protection goals. Read More...

Leech Lake Watershed Recognized as one of "Ten Waters To Watch" 

The National Fish Habitat Partnership has designated the Leech Lake watershed as one of 10 nationally recognized  “Waters to Watch” for 2013.  These are watersheds across the country that will likely benefit from conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition. Read More....