Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program Phase IX: Statewide and Metro Habitat

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
In Progress
Start Date
July 2017
Activity Type
Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2017, Ch. 91, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd. 5(j)
Appropriation Language

$9,294,000 in the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources for a program to provide competitive, matching grants of up to $400,000 to local, regional, state, and national organizations for enhancing, restoring, or protecting forests, wetlands, prairies, or habitat for fish, game, or wildlife in Minnesota. Of this amount, up to $2,660,000 is for grants in the seven-county metropolitan area and cities with a population of 50,000 or greater. Grants shall not be made for activities required to fulfill the duties of owners of lands subject to conservation easements. Grants shall not be made from the appropriation in this paragraph for projects that have a total project cost exceeding $575,000. Of the total appropriation, $634,000 may be spent for personnel costs and other direct and necessary administrative costs. Grantees may acquire land or interests in land. Easements must be permanent. Grants may not be used to establish easement stewardship accounts. Land acquired in fee must be open to hunting and fishing during the open season unless otherwise provided by law. The program shall require a match of at least ten percent from non-state sources for all grants. The match may be cash or in-kind resources. For grant applications of $25,000 or less, the commissioner shall provide a separate, simplified application process. Subject to Minnesota Statutes, the commissioner of natural resources shall, when evaluating projects of equal value, give priority to organizations that have a history of receiving or charter to receive private contributions for local conservation or habitat projects. If acquiring land in fee or a conservation easement, priority shall be given to projects associated with or within one mile of existing wildlife management areas under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 8; scientific and natural areas under Minnesota Statutes, sections 84.033 and 86A.05, subdivision 5; or aquatic management areas under Minnesota Statutes, sections 86A.05, subdivision 14, and 97C.02. All restoration or enhancement projects must be on land permanently protected by a permanent covenant ensuring perpetual maintenance and protection of restored and enhanced habitat, by a conservation easement, or by public ownership or in public waters as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 103G.005, subdivision 15. Priority shall be given to restoration and enhancement projects on public lands. Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.056, subdivision 13, applies to grants awarded under this paragraph. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2021. No less than five percent of the amount of each grant must be held back from reimbursement until the grant recipient has completed a grant accomplishment report by the deadline and in the form prescribed by and satisfactory to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. The commissioner shall provide notice of the grant program in the game and fish law summary prepared under Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.051, subdivision 2.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Outcomes are dependent on proposals received and approved..Outcomes are dependent on proposals received and approved..Outcomes are dependent on proposals received and approved..Outcomes are dependent on proposals received and approved..Outcomes are dependent on proposals received and approved..

Source of Additional Funds

grantees and partners

Project Overview

The Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program will be managed by the Department of Natural Resources to provide competitive matching grants of up to $400,000 to local, regional, state, and national non-profit organizations and government entities. In it's first 7 years of funding, the CPL program has provided 410 grants totaling $37 million to 133 different grantee organizations, positively affecting over 220,000 acres of habitat. Demand for CPL grants has continued to grow each year as new grantees hear about the program and successful grantees return.

About the Issue

The CPL program fulfills MS 97a.056 Subd. 3a, directing LSOHC to establish a conservation partner's grant program encouraging/supporting local conservation efforts. $8,660,000 will be available for grants. Of this amount, up to $2,660,000 will be used for projects in the 7-county metro area and in cities with a population of 50,000 people or greater. If funds remains from this $2,660,000 after two grant rounds, they may be used for projects statewide. Statewide funds may be used in the metro area. This is a stand-alone program, but depends on support/technical advice from public land managers and habitat and acquisition specialists. Grant activities include enhancement, restoration and protection of forests, wetlands, prairies, and habitat for fish, game, or wildlife in Minnesota. A 10% match from non-state sources is required for all grants, and may be in-kind or cash. Applicants will describe the project, location, activity, habitat, benefit, etc. For acquisition projects, applicants will describe the parcel selection process. CPL Staff will develop an RFP incorporating LSOHC priorities. Staff works with applicants to submit applications, oversees grant selection, prepares/executes grant documents, reviews expenditures, approves payments/reports, monitors work, and assists recipients with close-out. Staff complies with Office of Grants Management policies. The CPL program has 3 annual grant cycles- Traditional, Metro, and Expedited Conservation Projects (ECP). The Traditional and Metro cycles will have one grant round beginning August 2017 and a second round if funds remain. Projects under $25,000 will have a simplified application. The ECP grant cycle will be open continuously beginning August 2017, and applications will be awarded up to 5 times through May 2018, depending on available funds. DNR may choose to make additional awards, consistent with DNR and OHF policy and guidance, if additional funding becomes available.CPL staff review applications for completeness. Technical Review Committees, comprised of habitat experts across the state and approved by the DNR Commissioner, review and score Traditional and Metro applications based on evaluation criteria (see attached). The DNR Directors of Fish and Wildlife, Eco Waters, and Forestry review the committee's recommendations and provide a final ranking to the Commissioner. Funding decisions are made by the Commissioner's office. ECP grants are reviewed by CPL staff and DNR habitat experts using established criteria. The Director of Fish and Wildlife makes final funding decisions for ECP. Grantees are required to submit annual and final accomplishment reports. Grantees are paid on a reimbursement or “for services rendered” basis, meaning payment is made to the grantee after work has been performed. Proof that the vendor was paid must be submitted to staff before additional payments are made. Funds may be advanced for acquisitions to accommodate cash flow needs.Administration costs of $634,000 include salary/fringe, direct support services, travel, supplies, outreach, ongoing application system/database maintenance, and other professional services. Three FTEs are needed to manage and effectively promote the program, monitor grants, and meet requirements.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Street Address
500 Lafayette Road Box 20
St. Paul
Zip Code
(651) 259-5233