Hennepin County and the Minnesota Land Trust recently finalized a 13-acre conservation easement in Independence, permanently protecting the important natural resources on the property. The property is one of the last remaining unprotected parcels in a habitat corridor connecting Lake Rebecca Regional Park to Lake Sarah. It contains old-growth maple-basswood forest, a remnant tamarack bog, and grasslands that provide important habitat for many different birds and other wildlife species.

A conservation easement is a set of development restrictions that a landowner voluntarily places on their property to permanently protect its natural resources. The landowner is compensated for the value of the easement and retains ownership of the land.

To protect wildlife habitat and ecosystems that exemplify the county’s natural heritage, the county established a framework to pursue conservation easements in 2016. The county has been awarded $1.5 million from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund and is preparing to expand its conservation easement acquisition and habitat restoration activities.

If you are interested in protecting or restoring habitat on your property, contact David Thill at david.thill@hennepin.us or 612-348-0124.

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