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Minnesota and the Dakotas

Fall Conservation Updates

A brief update on some of our most newsworthy conservation projects.

Signature Drive for North Dakota Conservation Amendment Underway

The Nature Conservancy is working with five other conservation organizations and hundreds of volunteers to gather enough signatures to get the North Dakota Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment on the state’s November 2014 ballot. 

If voters approve the measure, which would not raise taxes, 5 percent of the state’s existing oil extraction tax would be set aside for conservation. 

“The timing is critical because of changes happening inside and outside of the state that are affecting natural resources,” said Peggy Ladner, who oversees The Nature Conservancy’s work in Minnesota and the Dakotas. “This is one of the most important times in the history of North Dakota to make a difference.” 

The funds would be used to:

  • Protect and restore North Dakota’s rivers, lakes, and streams
  • Preserve natural areas and critical wildlife habitats
  • Provide natural flood control to protect homes and property
Even our Buildings at Ordway Prairie are Green

The Nature Conservancy’s Samuel H. Ordway, Jr. Memorial Prairie Preserve headquarters and workshop buildings in South Dakota have been awarded LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  

Designed by architect Jim Widder, principal of GreenWave Energy Architecture, which is based in Madison, Wisconsin, the buildings help the Conservancy save money, energy and water while serving as a model for energy-efficient systems and technology. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and gaining certification requires a rigorous review process. 

Some techniques used to achieve energy efficiency were as simple as using south-facing windows and glass doors to let in natural light all year as well as passive solar radiation for heat in the winter. The design also includes overhanging roofs to provide shade during the summer. 

2,000 acres in Mississippi River Headwaters Area Protected

Almost 2,000 acres along the Mississippi River have been protected northeast of Brainerd including a lake-like basin that provides critical habitat for native fish and a mile-long trout stream.  

Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, which was created thanks to the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, was used to acquire the land. The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with many conservation partners, provided crucial support for the project by working to win approval from local officials and state lawmakers. 

The land, previously owned and managed for timber by the Potlatch Corporation, includes 2.7 miles of river frontage and, combined with other publicly-owned land, completes a 9-mile stretch of protected, natural river shoreline. 

The Trust for Public Land, which led the conservation effort, recently transferred the land to Crow Wing County. The property provides habitat for Blanding’s turtles, a state-listed threatened species, and red-shouldered hawks, a state-listed species of special concern. It is now open to the public for outdoor recreation and will be sustainably managed by the county.

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