Protecting a watershed involves working with a complex diversity of interests.Â Â I am pleased to report that during 2010 the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT) celebrated 17 years of success working in collaboration and partnership with watershed residents to protect the natural resources and scenic beauty of the Kinnickinnic River Watershed.
In 2010, working closely with the community and our local, state and federal partners, we successfully transferred 476.91 acres of fishery and wildlife habitat to the WDNR for long term protection and on December 29th acquired the new 4.33 acre Olympia Preserve to protect unique urban wetlands in the City of River Falls.
By the close of 2010, KRLT had protected a total of 2,777.32 acres of critical lands in strategic locations within the Kinnickinnic River watershed.Â Of this total 1,833.41 acres are protected by conservation easements held by KRLT – these are privately owned lands on which the landowners have chosen to protect conservation values forever by removingÂ development rights – a significant private commitment to the future.Â KRLT has now transferred at total 779.51 acres of land to the WDNR for long term protection as state fishery or wildlife areas.Â Finally, we have protected an additional 164.43 acres as KRLT Preserves.Â This protection includes almost 9 miles of Kinnickinnic River frontage fully protected and available to all for public access.
We reached a milestone in our ambitious $7 million Protect the Kinni Campaign as we reached the $6 million raised mark – leaving us with $1 million to raise to complete the campaign to protect more than 1,000 acres of land in the watershed.Â To help us reach our goal please consider a donation or multi-year pledge to the campaign click the image to the left.
In 2010 KRLT completed a number of land stewardship efforts including honoring the Stephen E. Budd family through the successful completion of the Swinging Gate and River Drive Stephen E. Budd Memorial Fishing Access Site project made possible by a generous bequest to KRLT and the cooperation of our partner the WDNR; completing our first integrated preserve management plan for our flagship Kelly Creek Preserve; and implementing a project to improve signage at our preserves.
On the organizational development front, in 2010 KRLT was recognized by the River Falls Chamber of Commerce as the River Falls Nonprofit of the Year – a recognition that added to the national accreditation and WI Land Trust of the Year Awards we received received last year.Â This recognition of our effort by others is an indication that we are on the right track!
After ten years at the Prairie Mill Building location, the Board decided to move our offices to the much more accessible location in the Bye, Goff & Rohde Law Firm building.Â We have benefited from increased accessibility and greater functionality of the office space and have had three interns and many more visitors to the office than in past years. Please stop in at the lower level of 258 Riverside Drive for a cup of coffee and an opportunity to talk with us about the Kinni.
Looking Forward to 2011 and Beyond
Although proud of our work to date there is data emerging indicating that to fully accomplish our mission – there much more remaining to be done at the watershed scale.
After years of scientific study and analysis the States of Minnesota and Wisconsin recently issued a draft report that shows that the Kinnickinnic River is a major contributor to the decline in water quality of a portion of the the St. Croix River known as Lake St. Croix and suggest that there is a lot of conservation work to be done in our watershed.
Fortunately for the Kinni, many conservation partners just completed a 10-year effort known as the Kinnickinnic River Priority Watershed Program – and a report to the public is due. We are working with Pierce and St. Croix Counties and the WDNRÂ and others to prepare this report and identify what has been accomplished in the last decade. This will be an important first step in the forthcoming discussion we must have together to scope out what needs to be done in the next 10 to 20 years to improve the natural resources of the watershed and maintain the ecological integrity of not only the Kinni but Lake St. Croix as well.
KRLT has just received a significant grant from The McKnight Foundation to engage the community in a broad discussion about the future of natural resource protection in the Kinnickinnic River watershed.Â We re looking for additional funding for this effort which will allow us to focus on encouraging strategic participation in public programs and private efforts designed to reduce water pollution and contribution of nutrients to Lake St. Croix through a variety of mechanisms.Â Through this effort we will learn more about the health of our own Kinni and be part of a St. Croix Basin wide effort to improve the health of the St. Croix River ecosystem.
Look for continuing updates on this exciting work in future blogs. In the mean time take a few moments to reflect on a year of great accomplishment – and please join us on the journey we are about to undertake.
Finally, it’s never too late to consider a donation to KRLT to support the work we do. We rely on your support to accomplish our mission – and we thank you for giving to the level of your interest and ability.Â DONATE NOW!!!
Thank you for your support.