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Grant will fund Spring Lake Park work

A Conservation Partners Legacy grant of $198,000 will help to restore prairie and woodlands on 88 acres in the Spring Lake Park Reserve in Rosemount.

The 2008 Minnesota Constitutional Legacy Amendment increases state sales tax and dedicated new revenue to natural resources, clean water, arts and cultural heritage, and parks and trails. A portion of the natural resources funds is available through the Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program. This grant funds conservation projects that restore, enhance or protect forests, wetlands, prairies and habitat for fish, game and wildlife.

The Minnesota Department of Natural resources manages the program to provide competitive grants from $5,000 to $400,000 to local, regional, state and national non-profit organizations, including government entities. For 2014, $500,000 was dedicated to projects in the seven-county metro area or within a city with a population of 50,000 or more.

Dakota County submitted a grant application for the prairie and woodland restoration. The application is consistent with the approved Spring Lake Park reserve master plan.

The total estimated cost of the restoration is $264,000 and includes a $66,000 county cost share that is part of the recommended 2014 Operations Management-Parks Capital Improvement Program.

The project will restore the acres within the Mississippi River flyway, transforming degraded fields to native prairie, removing invasive species in an oak forest along the river and removing invasive species from the walnut grove on the south side of the project site. It will also improve wildlife habitat and expand public hunting opportunities.

Another project

The Dakota County Board of Commissioners has also approved a contract with SRF Consulting Group of Minneapolis for the final design of the Mississippi River Trail from 117th Street to Spring Lake Park Reserve. This will result in the final connection to complete the 27-mile trail from South St. Paul to Hastings. This portion of the trail covers approximately 1.7 miles. The preliminary design work is expected to be completed by early March.