Roosevelt Lake Aquatic Management Area Grows Through A Land Donation

Roosevelt Lake Aquatic Management Area (AMA) in Cass and Crow Wing Counties was established in 2016 and was expanded in March 2023 with a land donation on Woods Bay. With this addition, the AMA grew to approximately 111 acres and over 5,900 feet of pristine, forested shoreland in Woods Bay.

The newest 5.5 acre peninsula was donated by Lois and Bill Stevens to Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT) specifically for the Roosevelt Lake AMA. Plans were in place to transfer the property to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for long term management.

Lois and Bill recall reading in 2017 about the creation of the AMA and the Eggers Family donation for the AMA. Upon learning of those circumstances, Lois and Bill considered donating land on Woods Bay for the AMA. In 2021, the Stevens contacted NWLT to begin discussions on the possibility of a land donation. Marc Bacigalupi, DNR Fisheries Area Manager Brainerd, began the process for DNR review of the addition. The addition was approved in October 2021 and the process for accepting the donation began. Outdoor Heritage Funds were used for the professional services to accept the land donation and the property was transferred 15 months later to NWLT in September 2022. The DNR then completed the final paperwork to accept this donation in early 2023.

Lake Roosevelt is a deep cold-water 1,585 acre lake in which cisco, also known as tullibee, are able to survive. The lake is important to protect because it is predicted to be a refuge for these highly temperature sensitive cold water fish if 75% of the land draining into the lake can be protected from land conversion.

The Stevens land donation was accepted for the Reinvest in Minnesota Critical Habitat Match Program. This program protects critical fish, wildlife, and native plant habitat through the acquisition and improvement of land for wildlife management areas, scientific and natural areas, aquatic management areas, state parks, and state forests. The Stevens conservation goals for the donated parcel have been matched with RIM funds for even more impact to protect the lands and waters of north central Minnesota!

Roosevelt Lake AMA Map
Roosevelt Lake AMA Photo2.png

All of the shoreline in Woods Bay including the newest tract has been designated by the MN Department of Natural Resources as “sensitive shoreland” using a scientific field-based model and survey in 2009. “Sensitive shoreland” has critical aquatic and wildlife features that would be severely impacted by shoreland development. The Woods Bay shoreland has high biological significance and intact old growth forest canopy.

AMAs provide angler and management access, protects critical shoreland habitat and provide areas for research and education. The DNR AMA program administers more than 700 AMAs and 770 shoreland miles in 73 of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

Marc Bacigalupi, DNR Fisheries Brainerd Supervisor, has been involved with the establishment and recent addition to the AMA. Mark expresses that,

We [DNR] are thrilled with the addition of the Stevens peninsula. Having this peninsula of land in Woods Bay protected in perpetuity provides critical fish habitat, watershed  protection, and maintains the beautiful natural setting for users to enjoy."

Roosevelt Lake AMA Photo3.png

The NWLT Clean Water Critical Habitat Program was established 2011 to protect high priority lakes and their watersheds in the north central “lakes country” (i.e., Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard) using grants from the State of Minnesota for conservation easements and fee title acquisition. NWLT partners with public agencies, such as Counties and the State of Minnesota, and private organizations such as lake associations to identify willing sellers and properties important to the agency land management goals, to secure funding through grants, and to acquire and convey those properties to partner agencies.

The Outdoor Heritage Fund was created in 2008 when Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment (Legacy Amendment) to the Minnesota Constitution. These funds "may be spent only to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forest and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife."

Bob Karls, Northern Waters Land Trust Board Chair, reflects that,

The actions and donation by Lois and Bill Stevens represents a commitment to conservation and makes a key contribution to creating a permanent preservation of over a mile of shoreline in this Aquatic Management Area. We have one chance to preserve key resources - once developed or impacted by development the resource would need to be restored and restoration is always less effective and more costly than conservation and protection. Lois and Bill knew this and their actions and contribution have protected this sensitive shoreland for all of us and for future generations and we thank them for their generosity.” 

Roosevelt Lake AMA photo

Newly acquired land includes a peninsula on the north shore of Woods Bay on the west side of Roosevelt Lake

(north-east view from above AMA Eggers Tract)