Minnesota and Northeast Iowa Morainal Section

Forest Resources Management Plan

Map of Minnesota showing the location of Minnesota and Northeast Iowa Morainal Section

The DNR is currently developing the Minnesota and Northeast Iowa Morainal section forest resources management plan (MIM SFRMP). This plan will replace the Hardwoods Hills and Anoka Sand Plains SFRMPs, which previously covered the subsections within the MIM section. In addition, the Sand Dunes State Forest, which is within the Anoka Sand Plains subsection, has an operational plan that was finalized in 2017 following an extensive public engagement process. For information on this process, please see ourSand Dunes State Forest Operational Plan website.

Along with the DNR's 10-year stand exam list, SFRMPs are operational plans for achieving strategic goals and direction for vegetation management. The revised MIM SFRMP will provide ecological section-specific guidance for advancing landscape-level goals on state-administered lands. The plan also identifies management opportunity areas, such as ruffed grouse management areas and old forest management complexes around old-growth stands.

The DNR will make the draft plan available for comment during summer or fall 2022.

Minnesota and Northeast Iowa Morainal Section information

The Minnesota and Northeast Iowa Morainal section covers approximately 9.2 million acres, stretching nearly 350 miles from Polk County in northwestern Minnesota to the Iowa border, and includes approximately 33,650 acres of state-managed forest land. Glacial deposits, including rugged to hummocky moraines, drumlins composed of rolling till, and sand plains within moraines, define landforms in the Section. The forest ecosystems within this ecological section include aspen and oak savannas and woodlands, mesic forests dominated by sugar maple, basswood, and northern red oak, and floodplain and terrace forests along river valleys. Defining or unique features of this part of the state include:

  • A mosaic of vegetation types at the transition between prairie and forest biomes in Minnesota.
  • Unique plant communities like the state imperiled Southern Dry Barrens Oak Savanna. Several rare species are restricted to this community, including native wild lupine, which larvae of the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly depend on.
  • Numerous Species of Greatest Conservation Need including Blanding's turtle, hognose snake, gopher snake, bobolink, dickcissel, greater prairie chicken, western grebe, Forster's tern, Swainson's hawk, creek heelsplitter, least darter, Ozark minnows, and redfin shiners.
  • Major rivers, including the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, which support a high diversity of birds, stream fishes, and mussels.

Direct comments or questions about this plan to: [email protected]