Property around Marcott Lakes permanently protected

Dakota County, working with the Grannis family, has permanently protected a large tract of property identified by the state, county, and the city of Inver Grove Heights as being important for its water quality, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty.

Located south of Highway 55 and east of Highway 3, the area locally known as the Marcott Valley, consists of a series of deep, interconnected lakes and wetlands with surrounding forests and grasslands.

Since 2008, Dakota County has worked with three Grannis families to protect 17 acres, and with the Lindberg family to protect an adjacent 103 acres within Marcott Valley. Similar to these previous land protection projects, this latest project involved the acquisition of a permanent 108-acre conservation easement that includes the largest, deepest and cleanest of the Marcott Lakes. Future residential development is restricted and former agricultural areas will be restored with native grasses and flowers. These properties are still private, but the public will be able to visit the protected area through programs and classes offered by the recently established Darvan Acres Outdoor Skills and Environmental Education Center.

“We are happy that one of the most prominent and important natural features of Dakota County will now be permanently protected for current and future generations to enjoy,” said Mike Slavik, chair, Dakota County Board of Commissioners.

The cost of the conservation easement was $3.9 million, and $2.9 million was provided from the state Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature. Dakota County provided $1 million and the landowners also made a significant donation. In addition, the Grannis family and the county agreed to an option whereby the county can acquire the fee title to 125 acres of the protected Grannis family property at no cost in seven years. The Grannis family continues to own a home and additional buildings on seven acres with provisions to transfer future ownership to an educational organization or the county.