RIM Working Lands Cattle Photo

Overview

The purpose of the Working Lands RIM Easement pilot program is to protect and promote perennial vegetation land cover for the benefit of surface and groundwater through “working lands” easements.  For the pilot program, “working lands” is defined as lands that are used for haying or grazing. This program is focused on the Pine, Crow Wing and Redeye River watersheds as these three watersheds have been ranked as priority source water protection areas in Minnesota. The U.S. Forest Service’s Forests, Water and People Analysis (2009) lists the Pine and Crow Wing River watershed as top-ranking watersheds in Minnesota for their ability to produce clean water (APCW).  Significant detail will be identified in the management plans; including, but not limited to, a grazing management plan that protects the form and function of grassland ecological values; groundwater and surface water hydrology management (no net change due to land practices); adaptations for climate variability; promotion of soil health; and allowance for other compatible conservation practices over time.

Remnant Prairie Grazing

Program Details

Criteria for prioritization

The scoring/parcel prioritization will include the following criteria:

  • Grazing land complex size
  • Connectivity
  • Wellhead Protection
  • Adjacency to public waters and public ditches
  • Habitat benefits (State Wildlife Action Plan)
  • Risk of conversion
  • Adjacency to protected lands
  • Multiple benefits score
  • Resiliency score
  • Percent grassland cover
  • Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan (CWMP) priority

Benefits and Outcomes

Using Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan measures or those identified in the Crow Wing River WRAPs, the program will measure success by the plans’ protection and program enrollment goals that are achieved in priority minor watersheds. Other metrics used to assure success will include acres of permanently protected working grasslands; achieving 75% of prioritized minor watersheds managed under some form of grazing management plan; number of easements and dollars spent.

Easement Application Materials

Geospatial Resources

Metadata

Training

Contact

Bill Penning
Conservation Programs Consultant