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Conservation program taking applications for private landowner easements in northwest Minnesota

ERSKINE, Minn. — Private landowners in northwest Minnesota interested in conservation on their lands now can apply for a program run in partnership by Audubon Minnesota and the Minnesota Land Trust. The program is focused in the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands region and is aimed at protecting and restoring Minnesota's Important Bird Areas.

The program uses conservation easements that provide financial incentives for the protection of native prairies, grasslands, aspen woodlands, wetlands and other natural landscapes on private lands and is open to all types of property. Landowners retain agreed-upon management rights, including lands used for grazing and haying as part of habitat management.

Lands enrolled in the program will stay in private ownership, but the easement, a voluntary agreement that protects wildlife habitat by limiting certain uses of the land, is binding on all future owners of the property.

The Tallgrass Aspen Parklands is a globally unique transition zone between the eastern forests and the western prairies. Northwest Minnesota is the only area in the country in which this type of habitat is found.

"We are looking for landowners within the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands to protect and restore high-quality bird habitat that will benefit many other wildlife species as well," said Alex Wardwell, Audubon Minnesota's restoration specialist.

More information is available on Audubon Minnesota's website at or by contacting Wardwell by phone at (218) 687-2229, ext. 11, or by email at Additional information can be found at

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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