As Minnesota’s state Zoo, we are committed to ensuring that our programs are accessible to all our citizens – regardless of age, geographic location, disability or background. “Zoo Unlimited” is our community outreach and access initiative that unites a wide range of programs and policies designed to ensure every Minnesotan has unlimited opportunities to form stronger connections with the natural world. Legacy funds help us implement this program and bridge barriers that keep people from connecting with all the Zoo has to offer.
Minnesota has long been committed to preserving its natural heritage.
In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Minnesota and other conservation organizations, the Minnesota Zoo plays a significant role in these preservation efforts by addressing pressing wildlife conservation issues important to our State.
Educating Minnesotans about conservation issues and how they can engage in conservation activities is critical to the stewardship of our state’s natural resources. Legacy funds have been used to create new programs and expand existing activities to bring zoo guests and citizens statewide in close contact with animals and demonstrate the ways people can participate in conservation in their own backyard. Program highlights include:
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
Funding supports an Irrigation Specialist to develop guidance and provide education on irrigation and nitrogen best management practices (BMPs). In this position, Dr. Vasu Sharma provides direct support to irrigators on issues of irrigation scheduling and soil water monitoring. She is collaborating on the development of new irrigation scheduling tools that help irrigators manage water and nitrogen resources more precisely. These tools help reduce nitrogen leaching losses in irrigated cropping systems.
Appropriations from the Clean Water Fund allow the Minnesota Department of Health to expand and improve the way groundwater and drinking water protection is implemented at the local level. In 2015, $300,000 was allocated to update wellhead protection areas within groundwater management areas. From 2016 onward, funding will be dedicated to the Groundwater Restoration and Protection Strategies (GRAPS) initiative which will provide groundwater and drinking water information and management strategies on a HUC 8 watershed scale.
Legacy funds allow the Minnesota Zoo to extend the season of the Wells Fargo Family Farm beyond its historical May to September season to include full programming and exhibits from April through November.
The Clean Water Council was created through the Clean Water Legacy Act (Minn. Stat. Ch 114D) which was signed into law June 2, 2006. The council’s role is to advise on the administration and implementation of the Clean Water Legacy Act. See the Council’s FY18-19 Clean Water Fund and Policy Recommendations Report (December 1, 2016). The 28-member Clean Water Council (Council) represents organizations with a major role in achieving clean water, enabling consensus building and coordination on a wide array of issues critical to the people of Minnesota.
Minnesota Department of Health has been collaborating with cities and other community water suppliers since 1993 to develop and implement source water protection plans. Support from the Clean Water Legacy expands and accelerates the number of water suppliers that can be assisted each year in undertaking protection planning and implementation activities.