Q: What is Metro Conservation Corridors?
A: A strategy for accelerating and enhancing habitat protection by targeting limited funds toward high-priority focus areas and better coordinating the efforts of conservation organizations.
Q: : What is being conserved?
A: : Through the $3.55 million of 2003-2006 state funding, Metro Conservation Corridors and its local partners are restoring about 1700 acres of significant upland and/or wetland habitat and are acquiring conservation easements or fee title on about 600 areas of regionally significant habitat in targeted locations. Through the recommended $3.53 million in 2005-2008 state funding, partners will restore/enhance 830 acres of significant habitat and protect through acquisition 670 acres.
Q: : Where is conservation targeted?
A: In 2003-2006, Metro Conservation Corridors habitat protection and restoration funds are targeted at 12 focus areas within the seven county Twin Cities Metropolitan Region. The 2005 LCMR proposal suggests that the focus areas be expanded into priority conservation areas upstream along the Minnesota River and into Sherburne, Isanti, Chisago, and Goodhue counties. Only projects with willing and interested landowners and located within designated Focus Areas can be funded.
Q: Who will own the land or easements purchased through Metro Conservation Corridors?
A: A: Land stewardship will be the most appropriate for the resource and the jurisdiction. Some lands will continue in private ownership with a publicly or land trust-held easement. Options include:
- DNR management programs: Wildlife, Fisheries, Scientific and Natural Area, and Forestry;
- Local partners, such as watershed districts, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, cities, counties, regional park agencies; and
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service, for lands in the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge.
Q: How does this relate to other efforts?
A: Metro Conservation Corridors is modeled on the Minnesota Habitat Corridors Partnership funded through the LCMR starting in 2001 for focus areas outside of the metro area. It also builds upon and incorporates many of the successful strategies of Metro Greenways, such as building community capacity for conservation, utilizing multiple land protection techniques, and operating within a collaborative framework. At the same time, Metro Conservation Corridors has the benefit of newer, state-of-the-art natural resource data and assessment tools, and committed partners with implementation experience.
Q: Why invest in Metro Conservation Corridors and Regional Parks?
A: Just as the state parks and other state natural resource lands provide a core upon which to build, the Regional Parks systems are vital, but not enough, to preserve and restore a healthy natural environment in the greater metropolitan area. This accelerated investment and coordinated strategy complement the Regional Parks and regional natural resource protection goals.
- The Regional Parks land protection and restoration funds are available only in regional parks, not in areas outside. The Metro Conservation Corridors focus areas include parts of the regional park system and the surrounding landscapes that buffer, connect and protect the natural resources in regional parks.
- Metro Conservation Corridors will invest more in restoration of regional parks. These funds can match regional and local park funding
- The Metropolitan Council has identified "protecting the region's vital natural resources" as one of four central principles guiding regional policies in its 2030 Regional Development Framework, and acknowledges that new tools and strategies will be essential to follow that principle. Metro Conservation Corridors brings experienced partners and state-of-the-art natural resource information together to advance mutual land protection and restoration goals.