From the Washington County Board of Commissioners:
The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a Land and Water Legacy Program conservation easement Sept. 17 that will permanently protect 11 acres along the St. Croix River in Bayport, and provide additional open space, scenic river access, and a trail to better connect people to the riverfront and surrounding natural resources.
The program, which was created by a voter-approved referendum in 2006, will use $745,000, previously approved by the County Board, to acquire land and place conservation easements on four parcels next to the Andersen Corporation property for a city park. The land is currently owned by three sets of willing sellers.
Additional funds for the project include:
- $500,000 from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Recreation and Natural and Scenic Areas grants funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR); and
- $550,000 from an Andersen Corporation donation.
The conservation easement allows:
- a picnic shelter, benches, a walking trail, nature observation, fishing, a scenic lookout, canoe/kayak rack and other public watercraft access/recreation, and boat trailer parking stalls;
- water quality improvement structures and streambank stabilization;
- restoration of plant communities and habitat; and
- building removal.
With the conservation easement protection, there will be no industrial or agricultural use, or residential development.
The next steps of the project include community engagement to create a master plan for the site and completion of a natural resources stewardship plan. The city will also work with the state to determine the feasibility of a public boat launch on the site.