Minnesota County Biological Survey

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
June 2011
Activity Type
Digitization/Online Information Access
Counties Affected
Lake of the Woods
St. Louis
Lake of the Woods
St. Louis
Project Overview

The Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS) is an ongoing effort begun in 1987 by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that is systematically surveying, county-by-county, the state's natural habitats. The effort identifies significant natural areas and collects and interprets data on the status, distribution, and ecology of plants, animals, and native plant communities throughout the state. Through 2009 surveys have been completed in 74 of Minnesota's 87 counties and have added nearly 17,000 new records of rare features to the DNR's information systems. MCBS data is used by all levels of government in natural resource planning and use decisions, including prioritization of protection of park lands and scientific and natural areas. This appropriation will permit continuation of the survey in Cook, Lake, and St. Louis counties and begin surveys in Clearwater and Beltrami counties. Additionally two books will be published: a guide to Minnesota's native reptiles and amphibians and a guide to the wildlife of the Red River Valley and nearby aspen parklands.

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Since 1987 the Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS) has systematically collected, interpreted and delivered baseline data on the distribution and ecology of plants, animals, native plant communities, and functional landscapes in 81 of 87 counties. MCBS has added 19,089 new records to the Rare Features Database and contributed 4,544 of the 9,634 total database records to the Releve (vegetation sampling) Database. Rare aquatic plant and vegetation surveys were completed for 1,764 lakes. Statewide 9,713 MCBS Sites of Biodiversity Significance and 58,957 polygons of native plant communities are now publically available on DNR's Data Deli.

During this project period, northeastern surveys documented features within large functional landscapes of fire-dependent forests, cliff and talus complexes, and undeveloped lakes. Surveys began in a portion of the northern patterned peatlands, one of the state's largest (about 2.5 million acres) and most inaccessible ecological systems. Surveys included successful collaboration with Red Lake Reservation DNR managers and University of Minnesota researchers.

New range distributional data were recorded for Braun's holly fern (Polystichum braunii), Laurentian tiger beetle (Cicindela denikei), Black-throated Blue Warblers (Setophaga caerulescens) and three species of mosses.

MCBS data on the locations of native prairie were a centerpiece of a plan: Minnesota prairie conservation plan 2010: a habitat plan for native prairie, grassland, and wetlands in the Prairie Region of western Minnesota. See also: Minnesota's Remaining Native Prairie 100 Years After the Public Land Survey.

MCBS provided data and interpretation to inform management and monitoring activities in the Manitou and Sand Lake Seven Beavers Collaboratives- two large multi-jurisdictional landscapes.

DNR's Forest Certification implementation used a MCBS data access tool to assist in evaluation of data related to High Conservation Value Forests.

Maps of the Minnesota locations of 242 breeding birds based on observations by MCBS are on the web: Bird Distribution Maps.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Data delivery includes delivery of information to local units of government, presentations and field trips, publications and web products. Several examples of recipients of data during this period include: St Louis County, Becker County, State Parks, northeast Landscape Collaboratives, Potlatch, Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Voyageurs National Park, Heron Lake Watershed District, and private landowners near the Chandler, MN Chanarambie Creek Prairies. See Final Report for additional information.

Project Details
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chp. 143, Sec. 2, Subd. 03a
Appropriation Language

$2,100,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for continuation of the Minnesota county biological survey to provide a foundation for conserving biological diversity by systematically collecting, interpreting, and delivering data on plant and animal distribution and ecology, native plant communities, and functional landscapes.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Street Address
500 Lafayette Rd
St Paul
Zip Code
(651) 259-5083
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

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