Lottery proceeds have been used to build the principal of the Trust Fund. The Minnesota Constitution provides that up to 5.5 percent of the market value of the trust fund can be spent on environmental projects "for the public purpose of protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources."
The DNR's spending from the Environmental Trust Fund is for a proposed set of projects recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Some of these LCCMR-recommended projects have been suggested by the DNR and are closely related to agency's programs and operations. Other local units of government and non-profit organizations originally proposed other projects. In those cases the DNR will set up and oversee the contract with the outside organization, and reimburse approved project expenses as incurred under the contract terms.