Protecting Wildlife Along The Mississippi River Through RIM Easements
Most Minnesotans would probably say their dream home is somewhere on a lake or river, but development in those areas can damage the wildlife. The Mississippi Headwaters Board is trying to protect the wildlife around the Mississippi River through RIM Easements.
“A RIM Easement is a restriction on the title of a property that the land owner voluntarily decides to enter into,” Dan Steward, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources forest landscape planning coordinator, said. “The land owner continues to pay taxes on the land, and they can restrict access as they currently do, but they’ve sold in effect their developing rights.”
“It’s a win-win situation because the land owner gets to preserve the land and leave a legacy for that land,” Tim Terrill, Mississippi Headwaters Board Executive Director, said. “They get to log the land, and make income off that, which is also protecting the habitat in the area.”
RIM Easements can pay land owners up to 60 percent of the value of their land, and that has sparked great interest.
“We’ve seen a lot of willing land owners come forward and say, ‘Yeah, I want to keep this land the way it is for future generations,’” Terrill said. “What we’ve learned from the land owners is that they kind of want to keep it this way.”
What we do in northern and central Minnesota to protect the Mississippi River has great effects on people living in the Twin Cities as well.
“It’s by far Minnesota’s largest source of water,” Steward said. “[The Mississippi River] provides drinking water to the cities of St. Cloud, and then also the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.”
The Headwaters Board is hoping to eventually create a chain of protected land along the Mississippi River through easements and acquisitions.
“We just didn’t want to put easements or acquisitions on land that didn’t butt up to other protected lands,” Terrill said. “That creates islands that don’t really connect very well.”
Wildlife protection and water quality go hand in hand, and the RIM Easements do a great job of preserving both.
RIM Easements can also be placed on lakes and rivers that feed into the Mississippi. If you think you’re eligible for a RIM easement, you are encouraged to contact your local soil and water conservation district.