Participants at December’s Minnesota Pheasant Summit, an event called by Governor Mark Dayton and co-hosted by Pheasants Forever, identified buffer habitat creation and protection as one of the primary issues for state conservation leaders to focus on. Following up on that desire, Governor Dayton said at the state’s Department of Natural Resources Roundtable event today that he’ll propose the state’s legislature to require a 50-foot buffer strip along the state’s waterways in an effort that would create 125,000 acres of upland habitat.
Dayton said that pheasant habitat and water quality would be the measure of a buffer initative’s success. Minnesota has lost more than one-quarter of its Conservation Reserve Program acreage in under a decade, and while a fully-implemented buffer program won’t replace all those wildlife habitat acres, it would be a significant step in the right direction.
“Addressing Minnesota’s pheasant problem means addressing Minnesota habitat problem, and buffers are an important piece of the upland habitat mosaic that pheasants thrive in,” says Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever’s President and CEO, “When you consider all the positive elements buffers bring – soil and water conservation in addition to wildlife habitat – this is a great starting point to bring Minnesotans together toward a common goal. We applaud Governor Dayton’s leadership and vision for a quality of life cherished by Minnesotans.”
More Pheasant Summit Action
In addition to developing a buffer initiative, Tom Landwehr, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner, says further action will continue as a result of the state’s Pheasant Summit. He pointed to a steering and technical team – comprised of conservation group leaders, including Pheasants Forever, state and federal agencies and soil and water conservation districts - that will examine recommended action items from the Pheasant Summit and fully develop them by spring into a four-year action plan to accelerate the creation and restoration of pheasant habitat.