LA CROSSE, Wis. -

The ownership of seven properties in the La Crosse Blufflands Protection Area will be transferred to the City of La Crosse from the Mississippi Valley Conservancy (MVC).

On Monday, the MVC and La Crosse city officials signed an agreement to transfer ownership of the properties. Transfers were part of a resolution of concerns of both the city and the Department of Natural Resources about MVC’s use of city and state funds to acquire lands in the La Crosse Bluffland, according to a news release.  

In early 2012, the city and state together ordered an audit of MVC’s uses of City Bluffland Protection Program funds and State Knowles-Nelson Stewardship grants.

The news release notes that MVC acknowledges that a September 2011 cash-flow analysis of their use of City Bluffland Protection Program funds raised a legitimate question for DNR and the City of La Crosse, which led to them to conduct an audit of MVC activities. The news release also noted MVC has agreed to make improvements to its accounting practices following the audit.

The Department of Natural Resources says the audit verified that Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program grant funds were used for eligible land acquisition costs.

With the completion of the audit, the news release notes that the city taxpayers will be in possession of more than 1,000 acres of protected bluff land properties and additional funds are now available to further the purposes of the La Crosse Bluffland Protection program.