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.
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 Lower Zumbro River Habitat Corridors project seeks to restore the Mississippi River's vibrant backwaters, develop innovative approaches to improve habitat connectivity for the many species of fish, wildlife, and plants native to southeastern Minnesota, and enhance the outdoor recreational activities that depend on a healthy natural environment. This cooperative partnership includes local communities, state and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private landowners, and many others.
The Mississippi River Renaissance project
The Mississippi River Renaissance project focuses on the only stretch of the Mississippi River in Minnesota that does not have special designation or protection. Located in central Minnesota between the cities of Rice and Sauk Rapids, this project seeks to help local communities create a shared vision for the future of the river by working collaboratively on development and protection strategies. In the photo, local officials, resource experts, and landowners sift through natural resource inventory information as they discuss the design of a housing development on the Mississippi River near Rice, Minnesota.
Green Infrastructure mapping
Green Infrastructure mapping is one tool DNR provides to local governments to help them identify locally important existing and potential natural areas for protection and restoration. Using green infrastructure maps early in the land use decision-making process is critical for ensuring that land and water resources are protected and available for public use and enjoyment.
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.