Cottonwood game and fish league, among others, will benefit from the small grants programWORTHINGTON — It was at the foundation of my thought process as I was working out the details of the Conservation Partners Program.
By: Scott Rall, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — It was at the foundation of my thought process as I was working out the details of the Conservation Partners Program.
This small grant program is part of the greater funding that is now available as a result of the passing of dedicated funding in Minnesota.
As a member of the Lessard Heritage Council and chairman of the small grants sub-committee, we recently finalized our proposal to the Legislature last Monday. Included in those recommendations was the inclusion of $4 million to a small grants program directed at small conservation groups throughout the state. Grants will range from $5,000 to $125,000 with another segment in the $125,000 to $400,000 range.
It was my hope that with these dollars available to small groups on a 10 to 1 basis, we just might see an increase in the number of these vital conservation groups in the state.
As the costs of doing this important work have increased over the past 20 years, more and more small sportsmen’s groups have folded up the tent, blind or clubhouse and called it quits. Natural resources suffer every time this happens, and I hope that these new funds will reverse this very serious trend.
There is one small group in Cottonwood County that has survived almost 100 years all on its own and done so very well in fact.
The Cottonwood County Game and Fish League boasts a long and successful history of doing great work in the area, and they continue this effort with their 14th Annual Spring Hunting Forum.
This is just one of the many educational efforts they put forth for the good of the resource. This year’s forum is being held at 7 pm on Thursday, March 26th at the Eagles Club in Windom.
They will be having some very interesting speakers talking about the mountain lion expansion into the Midwest, and a leader from Ducks Unlimited will also speak on the future efforts to build duck populations in North America. The event is free to all and children are encouraged to come as well. You can buy a family membership at that time for only $10.
I was impressed with this small group’s ability to fund over $10,000 in the last two years to Ducks Unlimited and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for the construction on two new water control structures. One of those is on Harder Lake and the other is on Wolf Lake in Cottonwood County.
The list of project accomplishments are too long to list in their entirety, but some of the bigger ones include $15,000 for acquisition of a WMA, $10,000 for a fish control structure in Highwater Creek and more than $33,000 on a wide variety of other work. They also operate the Sun Valley Gun Club located five miles northwest of Windom.
This is an amazing list considering this group numbers only a little more than 100 members. The leadership is provided by current president Craig Thompson, treasurer Ron Tibodeau, and secretary Jim Okins.
I have attended a few of their functions in the past and they are well run.
You would enjoy yourself if you plan to attend. It is my hope that with new dollars available all over the state, that groups that currently exist and the new one that I hope form as a result will re-establish the small conservation group dominance they once had. Some of the biggest and best projects that have taken place in the state are a result of the partnerships that are formed by small groups banding together to succeed at projects which none of them could achieve on their own.
This is time and the place for this good work by small groups to explode and I look forward to seeing the results. Local citizens, local projects and local successes — there isn’t a better formula when you measure the bottom line. I congratulate to the Cottonwood County Game and Fish League and look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor an additional 50 years from now.
For more information about the dynamic group you can contact Ron Kuecker at email@example.com.
Scott Rall is the Daily Globe’s outdoors columnist. His column can also be read weekly at www.dglobe.com by clicking on Northland Outdoors.