Alexandria Moraine

Protecting 79-acres of Critical Waterfowl Habitat in North America’s Duck Factory

The Minnesota Land Trust preserved a climate-resilient property in the middle of farm country to protect waterfowl and prairie potholes.

Landowners Dave and Stephanie Sanderson have enjoyed their beautiful Otter Tail County property for many years, engaging in a variety of recreation activities including hunting, hiking, bird watching, and photography.

In partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust, the Sandersons have generously donated a 79-acre easement, protecting the habitat, wildlife, and opportunity to recreate in perpetuity.

Through this act of caring conservation, they have ensured that the land they love will be preserved forever. 

Aerial video footage of the protected property and surrounding area

A Picture Perfect Property

The natural features of the property include predominantly hardwood forest, consisting of aspen, oak and maple trees, interspersed with wetlands areas characterized by shallow open water, willow-dogwood shrub swamp or sedge meadow.

The mature forest on the property—comprised of trees estimated to be 55 to 135 years old—sequesters and stores carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, assisting in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The easement area incorporates over 4,250 feet of undeveloped shoreline formed by three natural ponds within the property and portions of two more ponds at the property’s edge.

Finally, within the protected property is an area of prairie that has been diligently restored by the Sandersons; it includes big bluestem, purple coneflower and wild bergamot.

A 3-photo array of native plants and flowers, wild bergamot, big bluestem, and purple coneflower

Preserving North America’s Duck Factory

The property is located in the Land Trust’s Alexandria Moraine priority conservation area, which is characterized by pothole wetlands and lakes across tall grass prairie and hardwood forest landscapes. These wetlands and lakes form the heart of Minnesota’s prairie pothole “Duck Factory,” a region that is significant to the entire North American continent for waterfowl reproduction.

Protection of these grassland-wetland complexes are identified by the Minnesota Wildlife Action Plan as necessary for sustaining and enhancing species, habitat and biological diversity due to their vulnerability to climate change. 

Agriculture dominates the land use in the area, with conversion of natural habitat to agricultural land dramatically reducing and fragmenting native habitat. And shoreline development is an ongoing threat to fragile lakes in the area.

Climate Resilient Lands Protected in West-Central Minnesota

With a rating “above average” for climate change resiliency and local connectedness by the Nature Conservancy’s Resilient Land Mapping Tool, this property adds to the growing number of climate-resilient lands that the Minnesota Land Trust has protected.

Overall, the site has a relatively high capacity to maintain species diversity and ecological function as the climate in Minnesota shifts.

Protected Property Land Resilience Score

Dashboard showing three climate change resiliency metrics: Resilience, Local Connectedness, and Landscape Diversity

Protected Property Photo Gallery

Click or tap on the photos to view full sized images of this beautiful protected property and related wildlife and habitats.

Ruddy duck

Help Us Protect More of North America’s Duck Factory Here in Minnesota

Your gift helps us reach more landowners and supports critical conservation work like protecting the prairie pothole region.

More from the Alexandria Moraine

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment logo

Funding for the acquisition of the Easement was provided by Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund (“OHF”) as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. Specifically, the Easement was funded through the Wetland Habitat Protection and Restoration Program – Phase 6.

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