The Manitou Collaborative


The partners of The Manitou Collaborative have joined to manage the ecosystem of a 100,000 acre landscape as a joint enterprise among several landowners. The collaborative began in 2000 and includes: USFS, The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota DNR, The Environmental Learning Center, and Lake County (Minnesota). The landscape is a northern Minnesota mesic, mixed forest, and includes parts of three watersheds. All partners have agreed to mutually manage the vegetation to mimic the range of natural variability with the intent of restoring diverse, multi-aged forests; large patches of varying growth stages; and more, older patches; while also supporting the local economy and seeking management efficiencies through cooperation.


Collaborative representatives meet several times per year either in a general forum or in subcommittees. In the first several years we developed the goals and objectives, established protocol, gathered field inventories, drawn up agreements, and planned our first joint project. Now we are overseeing the first timber sales to accomplish the planned vegetation management and begin the monitoring phase. We are also planning for the next project.


The first project will create a ~800 acre patch of young, vegetative growth stage. Harvest began this year. It is mostly on state land, and has a small portion of federal land. The intent is to develop a large patch of mixed forest, restore white pine and white spruce, discourage aspen, and eventually develop a multi-aged forest with the kind of diversity and structure formerly maintained under natural disturbance conditions. The federal biologist has been involved with the collaborative for several years. With assistance from TNC, the FS drafted the NEPA documents in 2007 and 2008; the state timber sales were also marked. This year the federal timber sale blocks were cut; the state area was partially cut. The bridge to cross the Manitou R. is valued at approx. $25,000 and was donated by a state agency in 2009. And 3-M donated $25,000 for the project. The collaborative is beginning to plan for the next project area.


Challenge Cost Share


The Nature Conservancy - Minnesota , Minnesota Department of Natural Resources , 3M Corporation