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SCOTT RALL COLUMN: Trees, taxes, wildlife habitat all have deadlines

WORTHINGTON -- The only person who isn't neck deep in work today is the person who is not responsible for even one tree. I drove to my office on Thursday to write this column and I told my Mrs. that I had never seen anything like this in 50-plus years.

I, like almost every other resident of Nobles County, spent the day earlier cutting and moving the broken branches from my yard. I was so of proud of myself that I had completed the task, only to wake up on Thursday for it to look as though I had not done anything at all.

So, client checks had to get mailed today in order to meet the IRA submission deadline, and for many of them the coming and going of the tax season is a relief. I understand their thought process. After I get the yard cleaned -- and now that most of the tax rush is over -- there is now another deadline you should add to your calendar.

This is the deadline to submit an application for funding through the Conservation Partners Legacy grant program. This is a section of funding created by the Legacy Amendment and, as a member of the Outdoor Heritage Council, I am the member who communicates between the DNR and the council in matters important to small grants.

I worked hard with other council members to get the expedited projects list. This is a list of projects that use a simplified one-page application for common and often repeated projects for the betterment of habitat in Minnesota. Several examples of these simplified projects include woody cover removal from prairie landscapes, improvement of grass diversity and stand on public lands.

The best part of these types of projects is that funding has been awarded every two months year-round and don't have to compete with more elaborate projects submitted by big entities or government offices. You can submit an application and have an award in as little as 90 days.

There is one small catch -- you have to provide a 10 percent match of some kind that is not from state funds. This can be cash or in-kind services. This means you do a $100,000 habitat project on public lands with as little as $10,000. I have been a big supporter of the small grants program as I feel it has the opportunity to engage the greatest number of different entities that are all interested in doing habitat work in the state.

The expedited project list can include projects from $5,000 to $50,000 in size. If you are willing to do a more comprehensive application, grants can go all the way to $400,000. The deadline for the next round of grants is May 15. There is tons of information on the DNR website and there are many funds that remain available for these projects.

If you have any questions on how to apply for these funds, or if you want more information, I will gladly help you -- just give me a call at 360-6027. Maybe next week when the snow melts and the pile of tree limbs in my front yard are gone, we can all get a little better feeling about spring and what we can do for habitat and wildlife.

Today is really more about, do we have electricity and if we don't, when will we get it and how can I best take care of those things that, at this moment, are a way higher priority.

I can tell you that I think I have the best paper delivery person on planet Earth. After I pried the frozen paper from a nice secure paper box, my delivery person had a paper at my door every day during this terrible weather. It is and was the same great service I have gotten at my current location since I moved it.

Spring will come and both wildlife and your paper delivery person will appreciate it as much as me.

Scott Rall is The Daily Globe's outdoor columnist. His column can also be read weekly at