February 2010

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.

Date

Question

Answer

02/02/10

With discussions about the 2012 farm bill coming up soon, what are some of the issues the DNR is interested in seeing Congress tackle?

The Federal Farm Bill is very important to the DNR as it relates to conservation programs that impact fish, wildlife, water, forestry and other natural resource issues. Specific private land conservation programs that will be followed closely by DNR for potential reauthorization include the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

These conservation programs, along with a few others, can have a tremendous impact on the agricultural landscape and how successful the DNR can be when we attempt to implement our conservation goals at the local level. The level of funding from the USDA agencies usually far exceeds the level of funding from state agencies. So it is imperative that, whenever possible, we leverage the federal funds with state resources to maximize conservation outcomes.

The DNR will also be working with our conservation partners and especially the farming community to explore changes in the next farm bill that make sense for farmers while also helping the state achieve conservation priorities.

Wayne Edgerton, Ag Policy and Private Lands coordinator – Division of Fish & Wildlife, Minnesota DNR

02/08/10

The Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program uses money generated from the sale of the critical habitat license plates to protect and restore habitat for fish and wildlife. What sort of an impact has this program made in Minnesota?

The RIM Program was established in 1986 by a recommendation from the Citizen's Commission to Promote Hunting and Fishing in Minnesota. Since that time, the Critical Habitat Conservation License Plates have generated more than $30 million and the Minnesota Legislature has appropriated another $33 million and for acquisition and enhancement of critical habitat.

These funds have matched private donations of land and cash totaling more than $50 million. The money has helped restore wetlands, improve forest habitat, plant critical winter cover, preserve habitat for rare native plant and animal species and protect reproduction areas for fish and wildlife.

The program has also created public places for hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife watching and other outdoor activities. With the help of Minnesotans and other conservation-minded people, the RIM Matching Program has been able to acquire and protect more than 106,000 acres of land.

Mike Halvorsen – Acquisitions coordinator, Minnesota DNR Fish & Wildlife Division

     

 

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