Glacial Ridge Prairie and Wetland Restoration

The Agassiz Beach Ridges landscape is located in the Red River watershed of northwestern Minnesota and falls and is within the larger Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). The PPR has been identified as being responsible for producing 50–80 percent of the continent’s waterfowl while accounting for only 10% of the available breeding habitat. It is estimated that less than 1% of Minnesota’s historic native prairie remains intact, with much of the remnant prairie scattered about in small clusters. Restoration of key sites within this landscape has been identified as the most important strategy to create a contiguous expanse of prairie/wetland mosaic and improve the ecological functioning of these systems. In the fall of 2000, The Nature Conservancy ... Show More

The Agassiz Beach Ridges landscape is located in the Red River watershed of northwestern Minnesota and falls and is within the larger Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). The PPR has been identified as being responsible for producing 50–80 percent of the continent’s waterfowl while accounting for only 10% of the available breeding habitat. It is estimated that less than 1% of Minnesota’s historic native prairie remains intact, with much of the remnant prairie scattered about in small clusters. Restoration of key sites within this landscape has been identified as the most important strategy to create a contiguous expanse of prairie/wetland mosaic and improve the ecological functioning of these systems. 
 
In the fall of 2000, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchased the 24,000-acre Glacial Ridge property near the town of Crookston, Minnesota. Native cover and the natural functioning of over 90% of the property (22,000 acres) had been degraded or eliminated, primarily through conversion to row crop agriculture, wetland drainage activities, and gravel mining operations. The purchase and subsequent restoration of this property will provide native habitat and connect nearly 7,800 acres of existing native prairie and wetland communities. The project will become part of a mosaic of protected lands in the area, connecting several other ownerships that harbor native plant communities. In addition to supporting wildlife, the project will help protect water quality levels for the nearby town of Crookston and will contribute to flood control along the Red River. TNC subsequently transferred ownership of the property to FWS, and the property now makes up the majority of the new Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). This Refuge was established in 2004 and has a planned final size of 37,756 acres. The Glacial Ridge restoration project has been identified by FWS as the largest tallgrass prairie and wetland restoration project in U.S. history.
 
Economic Impacts of Restoration. Restoration of the Glacial Ridge property began in 2001 and concluded in 2011. Through funding provided by over 20 partner agencies/organizations, including significant contributions from USFWS and USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service, restoration and management activities brought substantial economic benefits to the surrounding rural counties in northwestern Minnesota each year over the course of this 11-year project. Yearly project expenditures averaged about $2.2 million ($2011). These expenditures directly supported six jobs in the local communities surrounding the property and provided nearly $476,000 in local labor income (salaries, wages, and benefits) each year. In addition to these direct impacts, the Glacial Ridge project supported another nine jobs each year, which provided an additional $363,000 in local labor income. The Glacial Ridge project also supported the creation of new small businesses. Each year the project purchased over $430,000 worth of native seed from local vendors. Four new seed supply businesses and a new seeding and mowing business were created to meet this substantial new demand for seed. Other local vendors have expanded as a result of the new demand, with two new seed storage sheds built at one company and new seed cleaning equipment purchased at another.

This case study was first published in the FY2011 DOI Economic Contributions Report and is available at  https://www.fort.usgs.gov/sites/default/files/products/publications/23407/23407.pdf Show Less

Contact(s): Catherine M Cullinane Thomas, Christopher C Huber.

Overview

Project Period: 2001-2011

Location: Minnesota

Restoration Type: Prairie restoration,Wetland Restoration

Lead Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service,The Nature Conservancy,Natural Resource Conservation Service

Economic Impacts
National Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Total Project Expenditures: $25,321,000


Job-Years: Not Available

Labor Income: Not Available

Value Added: Not Available

Economic Output: Not Available

Local Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Local Project Expenditures: $10,615,000

Percent of Project Expenditures Spent Locally: 42%

Local Job-Years: 158.4

Local Labor Income: $9,706,000

Local Value Added: Not Available

Local Economic Output: $22,011,000

Map
Images
Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge.jpg
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