With only 1% of Minnesota’s native prairie remaining, many prairie plant and animal species have dramatically declined. Of the 12 butterfly species native to Minnesota prairies, two species, the Poweshiek skipperling and the Dakota skipper, have already largely disappeared from the state and are proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act despite being historically among the most common prairie butterflies and having their historic ranges concentrated in Minnesota.
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.
Minnesota Public Radio is the state's largest cultural organization, providing 96 percent of the population with free access to some of the best broadcast cultural programming in the world. Minnesota Public Radio is using a grant from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to implement projects around the following four goals:
Many lakes in Minnesota are classified as “impaired” for aquatic recreation and aquatic life as the result of nonpoint source pollution. These impairments can be addressed by the citizens that live by and have a vested interest in these water bodies, but there is often a lack of knowledge and resources to take effective action. The Freshwater Society is using this appropriation to train citizen groups in lake ecology and management in order to guide them in implementing water quality improvement projects for their local water bodies.
Adoption of renewable energy technologies and energy conservation practices can contribute in a variety of ways to the environmental and economic health of rural Minnesota communities through costs savings and emissions reductions. Engaging and coaching students as the leaders in the process of implementing such practices provides the added benefit of increasing knowledge, teaching about potential career paths, and developing leadership experience.