PINE RIVER and LEECH WATERSHED PROTECTION
This project uses Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easements on targeted private forest, wetlands, and shoreline within the Leech Lake and Pine River Major Watersheds to push towards a 75% protection rate.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources identified a strong correlation between lake water quality and habitat that sustains sensitive cold-water fish populations and maintaining 75% undeveloped land cover in the watershed.
The Pine River and Leech Lake Watersheds have some of the highest quality lakes and fisheries within the lower 48 states. The protection of private lands within these watersheds ensures that habitat stays intact to maintain water quality and provide habitat for Cisco, Golden-winged Warbler, Northern Long-eared Bat, Blanding’s Turtles, and over 107 unique, rare, endangered, and threatened species that live in uplands, lowlands, and mature forests of these counties. The tourism industries within Hubbard, Cass, and Crow Wing Counties generate over $393 million in sales per year. Private land protection will also protect the local tourism economy and tax base of the Leech Lake and Pine River Watersheds.