$4.6 million available for state conservation projects

Applications for grants to help fund projects that restore, enhance or protect Minnesota’s prairies, forests and wetlands through the Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) program will be accepted beginning Wednesday, Aug. 15.

“In response to requests for an easier application process and quicker review for routine habitat projects, the program now also includes new Expedited Conservation Project grants,” said Ed Boggess, director of Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Division. “Proposals for these grants, which are for smaller and more standardized types of projects, will be accepted throughout the year and will provide project dollars more quickly.”

Local, state and national non-profit organizations and governmental entities that want to complete conservation work that benefits habitat for fish, game and wildlife on public or permanently protected lands are eligible for funds. Three levels of project funding from the $4.6 million program are available this year:

• Project proposals requesting $25,001 – $400,000 in grant funds will use the standard online application;

• Project proposals requesting $5,000 – $25,000 in grant funds will use a simplified online application; and

• Project proposals submitted as Expedited Conservation Projects may request $5,000-$50,000 to complete common and accepted restoration and enhancement activities.

All projects, regardless of category or amount requested, require a 10 percent match.

Proposals submitted in the Expedited Conservation Projects category must choose activities from a list of specific standard practices and costs developed from commonly funded projects during the past five rounds of CPL funding. Applications for these grants are accepted continuously, and awards are made every other month.

The application system will open Wednesday, Aug. 15, and close Wednesday, Sept. 26. Expedited Conservation Projects grants will be accepted continuously until May 15, 2013. Information about this year’s grant requirements will be available online beginning Aug. 15 on the CPL Web site at www.mndnr.gov/grants/habitat/cpl.

During the first three years of the program, 140 grants totaling $10.3 million have been awarded for conservation projects. Examples of the types of projects funded include:

• Mud Lake Headwaters acquisition, Minnesota Waterfowl Association;

• Rat Root sediment control and spawning enhancement, Rainy Lake Sportfishing Club/Koochiching Soil and Water Conservation District;

• Upper Mississippi Woodcock Improvement Project, Ruffed Grouse Society; and

• Wildlife Habitat Enhancement, Brainerd Lakes Area, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.