Strategic Direction:

Community conservation assistance

Building partnerships to protect and conserve land and water

Why is this important?

Because 75 percent of the land area in Minnesota is privately owned, the land use decisions and actions of local governments and private landowners directly impact the state's ability to protect and conserve Minnesota's natural resources.

group shot at hastings sand coulee sna

Working with local units of government and other partners to conserve land and water is a departmental priority. This work includes providing a variety of tools to improve land use and water-use decisions in the face of development. In undeveloped areas this may mean identifying vital natural areas and connecting corridors. In more developed areas, it may mean guiding the application of stormwater management best practices, conservation developments, and local ordinances to conserve natural resources and enhance recreational and economic opportunities.

Technical Assistance: DNR resources such as the Minnesota Biological Survey, the DNR Basin Watershed dataset, Minnesota Land Cover Classification System, and Green Infrastructure mapping give communities information they need to conserve locally and regionally important natural places. DNR also supports communities by offering workshops for local governments; holding low-impact development and conservation design training sessions for developers, consulting firms, and others; guiding local ordinance development; and helping with storm water management and shoreland restoration.

Financial Assistance: DNR provides funds to local governments to conserve natural resources and establish recreational opportunities. Resources include numerous grant programs such as the Metro Greenways, Natural and Scenic Area, and Local Trail Connections programs.



Learn about how the DNR is building partnerships to protect and conserve land and water

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The Lower Zumbro River Habitat Corridors project

The Mississippi River Renaissance project

Green Infrastructure mapping

Long term desired outcomes

  • Local units of government, citizens, and state and federal agencies make well-informed land use decisions that conserve natural resources.
  • Developing communities retain healthy, functioning watersheds and landscapes that provide significant ecological, economic, and recreational benefits.