March 15, 2016
LINN COUNTY, Kan.—The Conservation Fund announced today the addition of 145 acres to the Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area in east-central Kansas. The mostly-forested tract was purchased by the nonprofit using funds made available by Enbridge Pipelines (FSP) L.L.C. to provide mitigation for the Flanagan South Pipeline construction. The tract was then deeded to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) for long-term stewardship.  

Located near the town of Pleasanton, the land will be managed to protect and enhance oak-hickory woodlands and wildlife species that utilize this habitat. In addition to more common wildlife species, habitat on the site is suitable for two Kansas threatened species and nine species in need of conservation.

Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area is a 7,600-acre area that is well known for conservation and management of wetlands and bottomland hardwood forest.  However, adjacent upland habitat—specifically oak-hickory forest and prairie—is also carefully managed for wildlife benefits. 

The KDWPT took over management of the newly added 145 acres in late 2015 and has begun restoration work to enhance the woodland and grass habitat found on the property. Management plans include prescribed burning to enhance forest composition and structure, removal of undesired trees invading grass areas, and converting cool-season grasses to native grass and forbs. 

“It is important to note that although the tract has lots of intrinsic value, this acquisition also enhances land already owned by the Department,” commented Karl Karrow, who manages the KDWPT Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area. “The addition makes prescribed burning much easier across a large continuous tract and this is a critical natural process for the health of oak woodlands.”

The purchase of the property and its ongoing management was funded in part through the Flanagan South Pipeline Mitigation fund made available by Enbridge Pipelines (FSP) L.L.C., which supports mitigation for impacts to endangered species and migratory birds resulting from construction of the pipeline. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked with Enbridge to avoid and minimize impacts to federal trust resources, and Enbridge also provided $22 million in total compensation for all lost habitat.

The Conservation Fund is working in partnership with the Service to manage the funds and ensure mitigation solutions with the highest conservation value. With government agencies, community leaders and conservation land trust partners, The Conservation Fund has protected more than 7.5 million acres for wildlife, recreation and historical significance.  

“It is difficult to choose between our environment and our economy. As a result, we need to strike a balance by working in a collaborative way to ensure that mitigation for unavoidable impacts is meaningful and achieves the highest quality conservation of significant natural lands,” said Clint Miller, Midwest Project Director for The Conservation Fund.  “Partnering with conservation agencies such as KDWPT not only protects critical habitat, but also provides an important public benefit to state and local communities.”

“Natural resources and green spaces are dear to every community, and we recognize the impacts our construction projects can have. At Enbridge, we take our responsibility to the environment seriously, and this partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Conservation Fund and our local conservation organizations is a great opportunity to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Jerrid Anderson, Vice President, Enbridge Major Projects Execution.

“This addition to the Marais des Cygnes State Wildlife Area is a win-win for wildlife and the State of Kansas,” said Patrick Martin, project leader for the Marais des Cygnes Wildlife National Wildlife Refuge. “This acquisition will ‘fill in the gaps’ and provide additional connectivity between the state managed and federally managed areas which will benefit local wildlife.”

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land.

About Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s mission is to conserve and enhance Kansas’ natural heritage, its wildlife and it habitats to ensure future generations the benefits of the state’s diverse living resources and to provide the public with opportunities for use and appreciation of the natural resources of Kansas, consistent with the conservation of those resources.

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service negotiated a mitigation package for Enbridge Energy’s Flanagan South pipeline project by first establishing measures for avoiding and minimizing impacts to endangered species and migratory bird habitat.  Then, for unavoidable habitat destruction, the Service worked with Enbridge to establish a habitat compensation fund. The Service then partnered with national mitigation expert The Conservation Fund to implement a land protection and restoration program to benefit endangered species and migratory birds.  The Service’s goal is full compensatory mitigation from energy companies for impacts to fish and wildlife resources from construction and operation of oil and gas pipelines while allowing the industry to meet project deadlines and avoid costly delays. 

Press Release Contacts
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | | (703) 908-5809
Mike Miller | Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism | | (620) 672-5911