Lantern Bay Acquisition

 

Thanks to All who have contributed to the Lantern Bay Fund!

Source:  Pilot Independent     WalkerMN.com 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

After five years and multiple land acquisition projects by the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation (LLAWF) with support from the Child, Girl, Woman Lake Property Owners Association (CGWLPOA), the Minnesota DNR now owns 5,000 feet of shoreline and more than 60 acres in Lantern Bay on Woman Lake.

Supporters, funders, and local, state, and elected officials gathered Aug. 10, at Miracle Bible Camp on Lantern Bay to celebrate the permanent protection of the unique natural resources of this 120-acre shallow bay.

The shoreland will be managed by the Minnesota DNR as an aquatic management area (AMA). The protection will benefit water quality throughout the Woman Lake chain; loon and other waterfowl and wildlife reproduction; fish spawning; migratory waterfowl resting and feeding; food production with abundant wild rice; and hunting, fishing, and recreational enjoyment for generations to come.

 The Save Lantern Bay Project began in 2005 when a large development of more than 30 houses was proposed on the north side of the bay. Full development could have caused serious consequences to the water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in this sensitive bay as a result of land disturbance and increased boating activity.

The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation and the Save Lantern Bay Committee legally challenged a denied environmental assessment of the proposed development. Eventually the developer abandoned the original plans and in December 2008 he sold 1,800 shoreland feet and 27 acres of the proposed development to the Minnesota DNR and 200 shoreland feet and 4 acres to the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation. Previously, two other landowners had voluntarily sold land in Lantern Bay to the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, who conveyed it to the Minnesota DNR.

Miracle Bible Camp also donated land to the DNR to trigger the release of a matching amount of money from the Critical Habitat License Plate Fund to help pay for the acquisitions.

From 2008 to 2010, the LLAWF and CGWLPOA raised more than $340,000 to complete the final phase of the Save Lantern Bay Project and repay a loan from The Conservation Fund that bridged the funding needed for the final acquisitions. LLAWF worked with the DNR to utilize $135,000 from the Outdoor Heritage Fund (new dedicated sales tax money) for the final land purchases, significantly reducing the overall fundraising goal.

More than 300 individuals and families, Woodrow Township, the Hugh Becker Foundation of Muskies Inc, Ducks Unlimited, the Longville Foundation and many area lake associations, businesses and community organizations contributed to the project.

At the celebration, there were many accolades for the completion of the Save Lantern Bay Project.

“It was worth all the hard work to know that this bay, so vital to the whole Woman Lake Chain, is protected for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations,” said Don Kruse, president of the Child, Girl, Woman Lake Association.

Paula West, executive director of the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, told the celebrators, “In addition to insuring the continued recreational enjoyment of the Woman Lake Chain, the project helps provide economic stability for local communities that are dependent on the dollars generated by permanent and seasonal residents and visitors who are drawn to the enjoyment of the area’s beautiful natural resources.”

Ed Boggess, director of the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife said thank you on behalf of the state of Minnesota, “The Lantern Bay Project is certainly one of the crown jewels of the DNR’s Aquatic Management Area Program.”

Since 1995, LLAWF has completed over 35 land protection projects, conserving more than 16 miles of sensitive shoreland and 2,000 acres in the 855,000 acre Leech Lake watershed. The conservation of one mile of shoreland in Lantern Bay of Woman Lake is LLAWF’s most recent accomplishment.

For more information, see http://www.leechlakewatershed.org