To address the problems caused by invasive species, the 1991 Minnesota Legislature directed the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish the Invasive Species Program. The program is designed to implement actions to prevent the spread of invasive species and manage invasive aquatic plants and wild animals (Minnesota Statutes 84D).
The three primary goals of the DNR Invasive Species Program are to:
1. Prevent the introduction of new invasive species into Minnesota.
2. Prevent the spread of invasive species within Minnesota.
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.
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS The impetus for this project was the need to better protect and manage functional lake ecosystems in Minnesota. There is widespread concern about the consequences of poorly planned development on water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Given the increased demands for water and shoreland, continued habitat fragmentation and loss of species diversity, protection of sensitive lakeshores is critical.
The Lake Superior Beach Monitoring and Notification Program exists to test recreational beach water and notify the public if bacteria levels become unsafe. This project will expand the Beach Program to include additional outreach efforts, sanitary surveys and testing of new technologies to improve the Beach Program. Monitoring results will be used to inform the public, find the sources of bacterial contamination and address polluted runoff from improper waste disposal.
The Minnesota Land Trust provides coordination, mapping, and data management for the Metropolitan Conservation Corridors partnership. Funds are being used to coordinate the partnership, guide strategic outreach and implementation efforts, manage project data, and provide reporting and mapping of accomplishments.
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 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. Legacy funds allow the Minnesota Zoo to expand its field conservation and educational programs with a focus on animals and habitats closely aligned with Minnesota’s cultural identity.
An emerging practice called "precision conservation" aims to maximize conservation benefits by considering the value of lands in terms of the interconnected systems of which they are a part. By compiling and integrating multiple types of data layers and analysis that are available today, conservation professionals can use the best and most precise information available to identify, prioritize, and guide conservation efforts.
OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS This project identified and prioritized areas in the Zumbro River Watershed that were determined critical for restoring and protecting water quality. Studies suggested that small areas of the landscape contribute disproportionately to nonpoint source pollution. So implementation of conservation projects that focus on those areas will maximize water quality benefits and ensure efficient use of resources.