The Native Prairie Bank Program will work with willing landowners to permanently protect 415 acres of native prairie and supporting habitat in perpetual conservation easements. Easement acquisition will focus on Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan identified landscapes and target Minnesota Biological Survey identified threatened and endangered plant and animal species, high quality plant communities, and key habitats for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and other wildlife species.
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.
A multi-partner effort has begun to study the amount of nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate) leaching loss that occurs below an agricultural field recently converted from timber land to irrigated row crop production. The landowner has made the property and their staff available to better understand the deep drainage and nitrate leaching dynamics following this type of land use change. This study is unique.
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.
The Clay County Drainage Site is designed to evaluate the environmental impact of both surface and subsurface drainage from agricultural fields. This site includes six subsurface plots and one surface runoff plot, each approximately 24 acres in size. Monitoring stations are fully automated and each individual plot is monitored separately.The soils and topography across this demonstration site are virtually identical and represent field characteristics common in the most productive agricultural areas of the Red River Valley.
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 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.
Provide continued contract management and customer service to OHF pass-through appropriation recipients. Ensure funds are expended in compliance with appropriation law, state statute, grants policies, and approved accomplishment plans.
The Discovery Farms program is a farmer-led effort to gather information on soil and nutrient loss on farms in different settings across Minnesota. The mission of Discovery Farms Minnesota is to gather water quality information under real-world conditions.
Acquire 960 acres of high priority habitat for designation as Wildlife Management Area (Prairie Planning Section) or Scientific and Natural Area (Prairie and SE Forest Planning Sections) emphasizing Prairie Conservation Plan implementation and coordination with partners. All lands will be open for public hunting and fishing (where applicable). WMA accomplishment is based on $5,000 per acre and should be considered a minimum estimate.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restore or enhance habitat to facilitate fish passage, restore degraded streams, and enhance habitat critical to fish and other aquatic life. Projects are prioritized based on ecological benefit, urgency, feasibility, and stakeholder support.
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.
This Phase 5 request for Ducks Unlimited's Living Lakes program will enhance 2,000 acres of shallow lakes and restore 50 acres of small wetlands by engineering and installing water control structures for Minnesota DNR and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on public lands and wetlands under easement. Structures will be used by DNR and Service partners to restore wetland hydrology and actively manage shallow lake water levels to enhance their ecology for ducks, other birds, and hunters in the Prairie Region of Minnesota.
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.
The Minnesota Water Research Digital Library (MnWRL) is a user-friendly, searchable inventory of water research relevant to Minnesota. It includes both peer-reviewed articles as well as white papers and reports. The Library provides 'one-stop' access to all types of water research.
The Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead on implementing conservation practices that protect water quality. Those who implement and maintain approved conservation practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. This program will help address concerns about changing regulatory requirements from multiple state and federal agencies.
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 Minnesota Forests for the Future Program will use $2.291 million for conservation easement acquisition to protect up to 4,000 acres of forest and wetland habitat in the northern forest region. Parcels selected featured some of the largest private forest parcels in the region, high biodiversity sites, topographic and habitat diversity, and connectivity with additional protected forest and wetland complexes.
Minnesota's Legacy Website is a site that follows the progress of all projects and programs receiving constitutionally dedicated funding from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment as well as the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. This website enables citizens to view how Legacy and Trust Fund dollars are being utilized in their community.