Native Shoreland Buffer Incentives Program

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
Start Date
July 2008
End Date
June 2011
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2008, Chp. 367, Sec. 2, Subd. 04f
Appropriation Language

$225,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to accelerate the native shoreland buffer incentive program through market research, technical assistance, and competitive grants to local governments for creating and implementing shoreland buffer incentive programs. Grant recipients must have current shoreline management requirements and effective enforcement. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2011, at which time the project must be completed and final products delivered, unless an earlier date is specified in the work program.

2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

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

Measurable Outcome(s)

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

Project Overview

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Through a competitive grant process, the MN DNR offered two $75,000 grants. East Ottertail SWCD and the Itasca Water Legacy Partnership (Itasca SWCD) collaborated with DNR and the Water Resources Center (WRC) at the U of M to craft shoreland restoration incentive programs for lakeshore residential properties. Unique to this project was the focus on assessing the effectiveness of applying social science methods (KAP Studies) in promoting the planting of native shoreland buffers. Using a process that is well known but rarely used in natural resources, Dr. Karlyn Eckman (WRC) used KAP Studies to determine Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of target audiences. The process has three steps:

  1. Survey landowners
  2. Design & implement incentives
  3. Survey again

The second survey determines the effectiveness of project activities in changing the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the target audience. Target audiences for East Ottertail County were lakeshore owners 50 to 70 years old owning 120 feet or more of shoreline and for Itasca County, all landowners on 5 selected lakes. Funds were utilized for designing incentives and analyzing results.

Project conclusions:

  • Using a "KAP Study" contributed to more successful outcomes (more shoreland restored) by predicting better incentives and better communication methods.
  • People were more knowledgeable than expected about water quality.
  • People in these particular studies were not motivated to action by a financial incentive - they took it because it was offered. Therefore, funds intended for financial incentives may have greater impact if they are re-allocated to hire high-quality, knowledgeable professionals.
  • Social networks were more important than previously realized. Groups like lake associations, churches, garden clubs, informal groups of neighbors helped spur interest and motivation.
  • More projects should incorporate KAP methods so they are "evaluation-ready" before implementation to better utilize the use of conservation funding and document project success to funders.
  • Social science practices could be used in areas such as invasive species, habitat restoration, and recreation. Practices include KAP studies, message re-framing and utilizing existing social networks in the community.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The DNR project manager and partners have shared the results of the project and project components on several different occasions at conferences to a total of approximately 365 attendees.

This project was submitted for consideration for the 2011 Environmental Initiative Awards. Now that the project is complete consideration is now being given for submission again in the spring of 2013.

In order to widen the influence of the results of the demonstrations, several actions are being considered at the present time. They include:

  1. This final LCCMR report and the individual detailed survey evaluations will be entered into the DNR Documents Library for reference to others.
  2. Development of a Native Shoreland Buffer Initiative web page hosted by the DNR that will provide a gateway to information on the buffer projects including survey examples, final reports from the University of Minnesota, resource products developed by the project partners.
  3. Communication back to the original 'class' of buffer proposers participating in the initial workshop.
  4. The DNR's Division of Ecological and Water Resources widely distributes results in order to adopt social science principles into natural resources work.

Discussions are ongoing as to the applicability of the project results to other programs within the Department of Natural Resources and elsewhere.

Project Details