DNR to receive land in Burton Township from Pheasants Forever
By Jody Isaackson
GRANITE FALLS — Two properties in Burton Township, Yellow Medicine County, will form the new James Meger Wildlife Management Area (WMA), said Troy Dale of the YMC DNR.
The donation of this property by Pheasants Forever to the YMC DNR is to be the topic of Dale’s appearance before the YMC Board of Commissioners today in Granite Falls.
The 2018 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) from DNR, including reimbursement to school district determined by the State Aid Formula is $34.50 per acre or $5,455.50 on Section 29 land and $39.98 per acre or $6,161.25 on the Section 20 land, Dale will be telling the YMC Commissioners.
“The parcels are separated by a half-section of permanently protected Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) grassland, which is under private ownership,” Dale said.
The acreage comprises of 185 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), 87 acres of tilled land, 32 acres of creek bottom and 8 acres of gravel pit, Dale said, totaling 312.2-plus acres.
The south tract, in Section 29, is 158-plus acres and combines 87 acres of poorly drained cropland adjacent to Mud Creek, 31 acres which is enrolled in CRP, 32 acres non-cropland/creek bottom and 8 acres of retired gravel pit, the report said.
“Management plans for this tract include restoring 60 acres back to native grass and flowers, while planting a mix of native oaks, conifers and shrubs on another 8 acres,” Dale said. “Restoring this acreage to grassland and woody cover will help to stabilize soils, reduce sedimentation and filter runoff Establishing these cover types will also provide habitat for resident wildlife including deer, pheasants, turkey, waterfowl and other grassland-dependent wildlife, while also providing vital habitat for numerous pollinator species. Existing CRP grasslands will be maintained as such.
A 50-foot-wide alfalfa buffer will be planted as well as a 16-acre annual food plot. These annual and perennial plantings will provide resident wildlife with bugging areas, nesting cover, browse areas and a standing food source over winter, the report said.
“The north tract, in Section 20, is about 154-plus acres which has all been managed by the previous owner under various CRP contracts,” Dale said.
“The property consists of high diversity native grass and flower plantings, 13 acres of shallow wetlands, a small food plot and numerous shrub and conifer plantings. Combined, these cover types provide quality year-round habitat for grassland-dependent species in the area.”
Yellow Medicine East and Lyon County Pheasants Forever chapters have worked together to purchase both tracts of land from the Lorraine Musolf family and Yellow Medicine Farm Partnership.
“Pheasants Forever is donating these lands to the State’s WMA system which will add quality acres of publicly accessible lands, which is hard to come by in this area of Yellow Medicine County,” Dale said. “The area supports good deer, turkey and pheasant numbers and this WMA will help continue to conserve and build upon those wild populations.
“Adding these acres into grassland habitat has made the Burton Township complex one of the first complex’s identified in the State’s Pheasant Action Plan to achieve a 40 percent grassland component over a 9-square-mile priority area,” he said. “This shows that landowners realize the sensitivity and necessity of grassland to our landscape and the benefits it provides for water quality, wildlife and pollinator habitat.”
In fall 2017, James Meger WMA land dedication was part of the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener festivities. The event was attended by over 200 hunters, members of the media and local and state politicians. This annual event is designed to showcase Minnesota’s wealth of quality, publicly-accessible state lands (WMAs) and this year’s dedication did just that, Dale said.
“During the dedication, presenters highlighted the great volunteers that came together to make this WMA a reality — projects like garbage and scrap metal removal and tree planting were high value projects completed by volunteers on these properties,” Dale said.
Other items on today’s agenda include the purchase of a new truck for the YMC Highway Department, a $13,000 increase in a software package bill for the prosecutor’s office, changing the date of the Board of Equalization meeting from July 12 to July 26 and setting a hearing date for County Ditch 31 and CD 56 as well as decide on a possible consolidation for CD 31.