Environmental Stewardship Newsletter

Environmental Stewardship Newsletter, Issue #277                             December 22, 2011

This is the two hundred and seventy-seventh edition of a twice-monthly (or so) cyber newsletter that updates citizens that love the Brainerd Lakes Area on opportunities to foster environmental stewardship through participation in pending meetings, hearings, workshops, and other activities.  You receive this newsletter because you expressed support for this community priority or because you have been recommended as a community leader.  If you wish to be removed from the mailing list please e-mail me at dhickman@brainerd.net.  Likewise, if you have a story or opportunity to promote – please let me know!

Christmas Bird Counts


Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge Christmas Bird Count – Saturday, December 31

Contact person: Michelle McDowell – call 218/768-2402 or email Michelle­­_McDowell@fws.gov

Meet: Schoolhouse Cafe in McGregor at 8 AM

Tally Party: Fireside Restaurant in McGregor following the count

Additional info: All experience levels are welcome. Binoculars and field guides will be available for loan.


Pillager Christmas Bird Count – Sunday, January 1

Contact person: Mike North – call 320/345-0025 or email tjnorth@brainerd.net

Tally Party: At the home of Pam and Ken Perry 218/828-4718

Outdoor council recommends Brainerd project

Posted: December 14, 2011 - 8:02pm

By Staff and wire reports brainerddispatch.com Copyright 2011 Brainerd Dispatch. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

December 14, 2011 - 09:02pm

Outdoor council recommends Brainerd project

ST. PAUL — An advisory group asked to suggest how to invest state funds for outdoors projects has recommended 30 proposals — including the Mississippi River Northwoods Habitat Complex Project near Brainerd — that would cost more than $97 million and help restore prairie land, wetlands and forests statewide.

The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council was asked to recommend how to use money from an outdoor heritage fund, which gets its money from a sales tax increase approved by voters in 2008. The council on Tuesday finalized 30 projects, all of which received preliminary approval in September.

The Legislature is expected to consider the proposals in the spring.

In late September, the council voted to recommend more than $14 million for the purchase of 1,988 acres just north of the Brainerd airport from the Potlatch Corporation. The land features more than two miles of pristine, undeveloped shoreline along the Mississippi River and a bevy of natural resources and related opportunities.

The proposal to buy the land and turn it over to Crow Wing County to add to its forest system got a mixed reaction from lawmakers Wednesday.

State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said that even at $7,000 an acre, the land purchase is a good deal.

“That land gets set aside, the state, the (DNR) doesn’t have to manage it ... and we’ll have hunting and fishing opportunities on a very beautiful, pristine 2.5 miles on the Mississippi River,” Ingebrigtsen said. “I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

But state Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, a member of the advisory panel, wasn’t so sure. He was concerned about the price and whether the county could do as good a job of managing the forest as the DNR.

Other recommended projects include:

• $4.6 million for The Nature Conservancy to acquire native prairie and savanna and restore grasslands.

• $4.3 million for the DNR to speed up restoration of wildlife-management sites and scientific and natural areas.

• $3.7 million for several groups to buy land or conservation easements on three rivers.

• $3 million to help the DNR control Asian carp.

• $960,000 for the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association to restore and improve public forest lands for moose habitat.




Environmental Restoration Projects Funded
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Five Star Restoration Grant Program


The Five Star Restoration Grant Program, an initiative of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, supports community-based wetland, riparian, and coastal habitat restoration projects throughout the United States. One-year grants from $10,000 to $25,000 and two-year grants from $10,000 to $40,000 are provided for projects that build diverse partnerships and foster natural resource stewardship through environmental education, outreach, and restoration. Partnerships should include at least five organizations (nonprofit organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, businesses, etc.) that contribute to project success through funding, land, and/or other in-kind services. A minimum one-to-one match of cash or in-kind services is expected. The application deadline is February 15, 2012. Visit the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website to download the 2012 Request for Proposals.


State appeals county decision to allow more dock spaces

Rulings on Clearwater and Bay lakes questioned

Posted: December 16, 2011 - 8:08pm

By Renee Richardson brainerddispatch.com Copyright 2011 Brainerd Dispatch. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ,


December 16, 2011 - 09:08pmState appeals county decision to allow more dock space



  The Minnesota DNR is appealing two Crow Wing County decisions to allow variances for an increased amount of permanent dock spaces on Clearwater Lake and Bay Lake.

“Our opinion is based on the shoreland rules and the county ordinance for planned unit developments,” said Lonnie Thomas, DNR area hydrologist based in Brainerd. Thomas covers Aitkin, Crow Wing and Pine counties.

Thomas said from 1992, when Crow Wing County adopted the state shoreland rules, until this year there had never been an appeal in Crow Wing County and now there are two in the space of a month’s time.

Part of the equation is a legislative change of the threshold to grant a variance from “hardship” to “practical difficulty.” The hardship standard was more difficult to reach while the practical difficulty has given the county more leeway to say yes.

In November, the county’s Board of Adjustment approved a variance request for the 30-unit Bay Lake Townhomes off Battle Point Road in Bay Lake Township.

In the Park at Clearwater Estates development on Clearwater Lake, the variance was approved for 10 permanent continuous mooring spaces on a common dock where four mooring spaces are allowed and no additional docks would be allowed for second tier development density. The township recommended approval. The DNR and a group of residents are both appealing the variance approval.

Paul Reuvers, attorney at Iverson Reuvers in Bloomington, is representing Crow Wing County for the appeal.




* Minnesota Organic Conference and Trade Show

http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/calendar_detail.cfm?eventid=5483 - $125 ($150 after December 30), January 13 - 14, St. Cloud, MN


* BAELN Event: Prairie Recovery Project, a conservation model for sustainable protection

http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/calendar_detail.cfm?eventid=5519 - free, January 19, Baxter/Brainerd, MN 


* Back to Basics - From Me to We: Building Community

http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/calendar_detail.cfm?eventid=5507 - $25, January 28, Pine River-Backus, MN 


Back to Basics 2012
Learn how to be individually sustainable while building a vibrant, sustainable community. Join us for workshop sessions, keynote speakers, vendors, exhibitors, luncheon, door prizes, and more! School-aged (K-6) children’s programming runs concurrently…bring the family and enjoy the day together!


Morning Keynote
Dreaming a New World…Together: Five Lessons I Have Learned by Jamie Lee, Author
Afternoon Keynote
Defending Someplace: Strategies for Creating a Better Quality of Place by Brett Olson, Creative Director, Renewing the Countryside

Back to Basics – From Me to We: Building Community
Saturday, January 28, 2012
8:00AM – 4:00PM

Pine River-Backus School
$25 Full Day, Including Lunch
($20 for seniors 60+ & full-time students)
$5/Individual Single Workshop Sessions
$10/Individual Double Workshop Sessions
$8 Lunch
$15 Full Day K-6 Children’s Program, Including Lunch
Booths open to public, anytime, free of charge!


Happy Dancing Turtle
2331 Dancing Wind Rd SW, Suite 1, Pine River, MN 56474

Phone: 218-587-2303

E-mail:  info@happydancingturtle.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Izaak Walton Forum on Legacy Amendment, January 5th in St. Paul


In 2008, Minnesota citizens from around the state worked hard and successfully secured voters’ strong approval of the “Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.” However, that was just the beginning. The most difficult work began on the day after this historic legislation was passed to ensure that these additional financial resources for our wildlife, water, parks and lands are wisely invested and create an outstanding outdoor legacy for future generations.


Part of the work that continues today to meet this challenge requires periodic monitoring by our state’s citizens to make sure these investments are being properly made and live up to the expectations of our citizenry.  In short, we must continually examine the central question, “Is the Legacy Amendment money going to projects and programs as voters expected?”

To help answer that question, and to keep legislators, policy-makers and stakeholders informed and conversing, a broad array of conservation groups have annually held a Legacy Stakeholders’ Forum at the beginning of each calendar year.


We are pleased to announce that this year’s Forum will be held from 1 – 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 5 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Saint Paul. The Forum will include panel discussions by legislators, conservation leaders, Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council members, and others on the status of Legacy projects, challenges encountered, and prospects for the future. The Forum will also provide participants the opportunity to ask questions of panel members and to meet and interact with the key leaders working to shape the Amendment’s destiny.


Together, we will “follow the money” and tell the stories of how and where these investments are being made and what the public is getting for their dollars.


Participation is free, refreshments will be provided, but space is limited. To help us better plan for a successful afternoon, we request that you pre-register soon. Simply send an email with your name and email address to Noreen Tyler at ikes@minnesotaikes.org.  Also, to help us highlight where Legacy funds are being spent, we invite you to bring materials that describe Legacy projects or programs.  If you do plan to bring materials, please indicate so with your registration so that we can plan for sufficient table space.  This event is open to the public, so we ask that you please forward this invitation to others who may be interested.

The Legacy dollars amounts to the greatest conservation investment our state has ever made.


Thank you for your interest and active participation in leaving a natural resource legacy to future generations that will make us all proud!



Forum Host Committee

(Anglers for Habitat, Audubon Minnesota, The Conservation Fund, Ducks Unlimited, Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Minnesota Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Parks & Trail Council of Minnesota, Pheasants Forever, Sportsmen for Change and The Trust for Public Land)

Noreen Tyler, Office Administrator, Minnesota Division
Izaak Walton League of America ,
2233 University Ave. W, Ste. 339. St. Paul, MN  55114
651.221.0215, ikes@minnesotaikes.org, http://www.minnesotaikes.org

Association of Minnesota Counties Announces 2011 County Achievement Awards


In 2008, Crow Wing County consolidated multiple departments into a single Land Services Department. Five separate departments – Planning and Zoning, Solid Waste, Lands, Survey and the Assessor’s Office – are now integrated into a single Land Services Department. One departmenthead – the Land Services Director – administers the operations of the five former departments, supervising three Land Service Supervisors who manage the program areas of Environmental Services, Public Land Management and Property Valuation and Classification. The primary goals of the consolidation were to improve customer service and coordination among landrelated programs and staff. These goals were accomplished at the same time budget challenges required a restructuring of programs and services resulting in a reduction of $3.4 million in spending and 18 FTEs, including reducing the number of supervisory positions from 8 to 5.

December 8, 2011

Crow Wing County Receives 2011 County Conservation Award 

(St. Paul, MN)— Crow Wing County’s Zoning Ordinance Revision was recognized by Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) during AMC’s Annual Conference December 5 in Minneapolis.  The County Conservation Award recognizes leadership, innovation and excellence by counties in protecting or improving their natural resources.

By unanimous vote of the County Board on March 8, 2011, Crown Wing County achieved a substantial and unprecedented overhaul of its Land Use Ordinance. Hailed as one of the “most progressive in the state” my Minnesota Public Radio, the new ordinance establishes innovative performance standards as a regulatory approach to protecting natural resources in one of Minnesota’s premier lake areas. Central to these site-specific performance standards are requirements for managing storm water runoff on individual riparian lots based on the levels of impervious surface of each lot. With 79 fewer pages than the previous law, the new ordinance also rooted out repetition, ambiguities and gaps in the previous ordinance, making it more reader-friendly to ordinary citizens.  Ineffective, unnecessary regulations also were eliminated. The ordinance revision process embraced an unique public comment process established by the County Board in 2008. Over 140 days, more than 100 written comments were submitted by a broad spectrum of interested citizens. The process also included an innovative collaboration with state officials and private sector land use experts.

AMC is a voluntary statewide organization that assists the state’s 87 counties in providing effective county governance to the people of Minnesota. It is the mission of the Association to assist in the provision of effective county governance for the people of Minnesota. The association works closely with the legislative and administrative branches of government in seeing that legislation and policies favorable to counties are enacted. In addition, the Association provides educational programs, training, research and communications for county officials.

Grants Enhance U.S. Farm Communities
Monsanto Fund

The Monsanto Fund seeks to encourage the growth of farming communities across the United States. Grants of up to $20,000 are provided to nonprofit organizations that address the following areas: K-12 Education grants enhance programs designed to improve education in farming communities, including supporting schools, libraries, science centers, farmer training programs, and academic programs that supplement school programs. Human Services grants support nonprofit organizations in farming communities that help with critical needs such as food security, sanitation, access to clean water, and public safety. Proposals will be accepted from nonprofit organizations from January 1 through February 28, 2012. (The Fund will be hosting conference calls on January 17 and February 9 to address questions prospective grantees might have.) Visit the Fund’s website to preview the grant application and read the FAQs.

Fellowships for Social Entrepreneurs Worldwide
Echoing Green Fellowship Program

Echoing Green invests in outstanding emerging social entrepreneurs to help them launch new organizations that deliver bold, high-impact solutions to society’s most difficult problems. Each year, Echoing Green awards 12 to 20 two-year fellowships to entrepreneurs worldwide who are creating innovative social change organizations. Fellowships are provided to individuals (at least 18 years of age) or partnerships (organizations led by two people) with creative solutions to significant social problems; strategies to create high-impact, sustainable change in people’s lives; and the ability to grow and lead a new organization. Fellows receive seed funding ($60,000 for individuals and $90,000 for partnerships) and technical support to turn their innovative ideas into sustainable social change organizations. The application deadline is January 9, 2012. Online application information is available on the Echoing Green website.

MECA Annual Erosion Control and Stormwater Management Conference


March 8-9, 2012 with pre-conference workshops on March 7.

Grand View Lodge, 23521 Nokomis Avenue Nisswa, Minnesota 56468


Registration is now open for the MECA Annual Erosion Control and Stormwater Management Conference & Trade Show.  This year’s theme: BMPs for Field & Stream & Lakes will expand your knowledge on best management practices for Urban, rural and agricultural areas, from construction site to shoreline, our speakers will cover a range of topics over the 3 days of workshops and conference. Join us at the beautiful conference Center at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN!


Please visit the MECA website to register and to view the preliminary brochure. 


Thank you for your help,


Kseniya Voznyuk

Minnesota Erosion Control Association

215 Hamel Road

Hamel, MN 55340

Phone: 763-478-3267

Fax: 763-478-3612




Don Hickman & Sandra Kaplan

Merrifield, MN 56465