Ducks Unlimited tells Lincoln Co. Board of future land acquisitions

IVANHOE — A plan by the conservation and hunting organization Ducks Unlimited to purchase three parcels of land with the intent of donating them to the Minnesota Department of Resources is expected to bring in more revenue to Lincoln County, according to a report delivered to the board of commissioners.

Ducks Unlimited biologist Kassy Hendricks and Minnesota Conservation Manager Jon Schneider gave their report at the Jan. 15 board meeting.

Hendricks and Schneider held three letters from the philanthropic organization explaining the land purchases they plan to make and eventually donate to the DNR, which in turn would make special payments instead of regular taxes.

“While the land is in the possession of Ducks Unlimited, they plan to pay regular (property) taxes on it,” Lincoln County Auditor Deb Vierhuf said Monday. “When they turn it over to DNR, the county will receive PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes), which will be higher than regular taxes.”

The three properties include 141.28 acres in Hope Township for the Tyler and Discors State Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), 40.56 acres in Verdi Township for donation to the Altona State Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and another 11.90 acres in Hope Township for inclusion in the Tyler State Wildlife Management Area.

“We plan to purchase this land in February,” Schneider said.

The 141.28 acres in Hope Township is land in a family estate trust, he said, and has been for sale since 2015.

“It is bordered by state land in Tyler and Discors WMAs, state Highway 14 and private land,” Schneider said.

The purpose of this land acquisition project is to restore wetlands and prairie grasslands for nesting waterfowl, pheasants and other wildlife and to provide more public outdoor recreation land for hunting, hiking bird watching and so forth.

The 2018 taxes due on this parcel will be paid in full when Ducks Unlimited purchases the land, Schneider said. “Ducks Unlimited will also pay taxes due in full in future years during our ownership, before donating the land to the state of Minnesota.”

The Minnesota DNR will then make “Payment in Lieu of Taxes” (PILT in future years, estimated at $6,569, about 1.6 times as much as the $4,136 taxes paid in 2017.

“The 40.56 acres in Verdi Township is southwest of Lake Benton and contains part of Flandreau Creek, adjacent wet meadows and grassy uplands that have been enrolled in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in previous years,” Schneider said. “The land is bordered on two sides by state land in the Altona WMA, and two sides by private grazing land. We are purchasing this land to protect prairie grassland and wetlands as habitat for wildlife and to provide more public outdoor recreation land for hunting, hiking, bird watching and such (as with the other two).”

The 2018 taxes due on the parcel will be paid in full when Ducks Unlimited purchases the land, he said, as with the other two parcels. And Ducks Unlimited will also pay taxes due in full in future years during its ownership, before donating the land to the state of Minnesota. As with the others, DNR will then make PILT estimated at $915, nearly three times the $332 taxes paid on this and in 2017.

The 11.90 acres in Hope Township are also for inclusion in the Tyler State WMA, as is the 141.28 acres nearby.

“This was originally part of a larger family parcel,” Schneider said, “and was offered to us for purchase in conjunction with the purchase of the larger parcel.”

This parcel is bordered by state land in Tyler MWMAs, a township road and private land. The purpose of the land acquisition is the same as the other two.

Ducks Unlimited will pay the regular taxes during the time it owns it, and the Minnesota DNR will make PINT in futures years when it receives ownership, estimated at $380, nearly twice as much as the $192 taxes paid in 2017.

Funding for all three projects was appropriated from the state Outdoor Heritage Fund to Ducks Unlimited in 2017 for its Shallow Lake & Wetland Protection Program Phase VI via Minnesota Laws of 2017 as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, Schneider said.

These state “dedicated conservation funds” resulted when the Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment to Minnesota’s Constitution in November 2008, Schneider said.

The Lincoln County commissioners took no action on this information as it was presented as a courtesy from Ducks Unlimited.

A county board resolution is not required for non-profit land acquisitions and donations to the Minnesota DNR, Schneider said.

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