Grant boosts wildlife area

SHERBURN – A recent $10,000 donation to Ducks Unlimited will help at the Four Corners wildlife management area north of Sherburn.

The donation comes from ITC Holdings Corp., which is trying to build a transmission line through Martin County.

ITC is working on a 345-kV transmission project that would run from ITC’s Lakefield Junction substation in Jackson County, through Martin County, to a new substation near Winnebago in Faribault County. The line would then turn south to connect to a new MidAmerican Energy substation in Kossuth County, Iowa.

“It’s in the heart of our conservation area,” said Adam DeHaan, director of development for Ducks Unlimited. “Power grids are a great service, but they also understand the importance of conservation, so we’re glad they are partnering with us at Ducks Unlimited.”

Through the Living Lakes Initiative, Ducks Unlimited acquires, enhances and restores wetlands, with several projects being implemented in Minnesota and Iowa.

“We have 67 projects going on right now,” DeHaan said.

The projects are taking place on a series of managed shallow lakes and wetlands extending from central Iowa to northern Minnesota. These provide a habitat for migrating and breeding waterfowl.

In the Four Corners wildlife management area, there are 309 acres. A portion of the land was purchased by the Department of Natural Resources in 2006, with a second portion purchased by the Fox Lake Conservation League in 2008.

Fox Lake Conservation sold its portion to DNR in 2010. The DNR enlisted Ducks Unlimited for the wetland restoration project. So far, five of six wetland restoration areas on the property have been completed.

“Right now, we’re working on getting up to $100,000 for a formal dedication,” said Doug Hartke of Sherburn. “With the donation from ITC, we’re up to about $80,000.”

The Four Corners project is a result of conservation partnerships between Ducks Unlimited and the DNR, along with Fox Lake Conservation League and a grant from the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund.