A new Statewide Conservation and Preservation Plan recently released by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment offers comprehensive assessments and recommendations on Minnesota’s natural resources. The report charts strategies and trends with respect to nearly every aspect of Minnesota’s natural environment and lays the road map for future environmental planning, policy and investment.
The report was put together by a group of nonpartisan public and private scientists, researchers, and environmental experts. With no political agenda, the plan offers the first-ever ‘big-picture’ look at the state of our environment and natural resources, and sets out a broad blueprint for what we need to do to maintain our economic vitality and quality of life in Minnesota. Some of the recommendations include:
● Better state and community-level coordination of conservation
efforts and more investment in tools needed for land use and
● Protection of critical land and aquatic habitat, forests and
● Restoration of habitat, wetlands and watersheds, reductions in
streambank and soil erosion, and greater understanding of groundwater
● More involvement by individuals and communities in energy
conservation and carbon reduction, and an expansion of sustainable
● Incentives for investment in renewable energy practices.
The first of its kind, this plan could be a model for other states to use as it integrates data from many environmental facets – natural resources, transportation, energy – into a single report and set of recommendations.
Funding for natural resources, clean water, and parks and trails is at or near a 30-year low, 40 percent of our lakes and rivers that have been tested have been found to be polluted, and one million acres of open land are set to be lost over the next 25 years. Now that we have a comprehensive plan relating to every aspect of Minnesota’s natural resources, we need a dedicated funding source to ensure future generations can enjoy all that our state has to offer.
This November, Minnesotans have will have the choice to invest in the things they love most about our state – wildlife habitat, lakes and rivers, parks, and our cultural heritage. The dedicated funding amendment would raise about $300 million a year, with the revenue dedicated as follows: one-third for fish and wildlife habitat and land protection, one-third for cleanup of the state’s waters, and one-third to be split among parks, trails, and cultural programs. The passage of dedicated funding is vital to the successful implementation of the conservation and preservation plan as it would guarantee a stable, long-term funding source. I urge all Minnesotans to consider the importance of preserving our environment and support the dedicated funding amendment this fall to protect Minnesota’s outdoor resources for generations to come.