Goal 1: Natural Resources Conservation

Minnesota's waters, natural lands, and diverse fish and wildlife habitats are conserved and enhanced.

Minnesota is known for its water, forests, prairies, and wildlife. Not only does our state boast a diversity of natural lands, plants, and animals, many of these natural resources have remained in relatively high quality. As such, the quality of Minnesota's natural resources is inextricably linked to our quality of life. We must address multiple pressures — land use change, invasive species spread, pollution, and a changing climate — to sustain the places and experiences we value.


The following strategies serve to guide targeted actions related to Goal 1:

  • Conserve natural areas. Retain natural areas and working lands containing important habitats, especially habitats in jeopardy, such as native prairies, wetlands, shallow lakes, and shorelines. Connect fragments of high-quality habitat. Conserve endangered, threatened, rare, declining and vulnerable species.
  • Mitigate and adapt to the changing climate. Identify and implement policies and practices that enhance climate change resiliency. Ensure climate strategies are informed by best available science and engagement with communities and conservation partners.
  • Manage lands and waters effectively and adaptively. Foster healthy habitats and create resiliency in Minnesota's habitats to allow species to adapt to change. Monitor and fine-tune management actions. Prevent and slow the spread of invasive species.
  • Identify natural resources most in need of protection and management. Give priority to places facing the pressures of land use change, pollution, climate change and invasive species.
  • Restore degraded habitats. Restore the integrity of degraded lakes, wetlands, rivers, grasslands, and forests.
  • Monitor and fine-tune management actions. Track and continually improve the effectiveness of our conservation work.
pine covered shoreline by a still clear lake.

close up of a white tailed deer in the forest

viewing of a praire with golden colored grass

shoreline of a lake with yellow flowers



Four key trends informing Goal 1 strategies:

  1. Minnesota is known for its abundant water, but this precious resource is not unlimited and increasing demands for use, as well as water quality degradation, are impacting the long‑term sustainability of our water.
  2. Invasive species are spreading, threatening native species and adversely affecting both recreation and natural resource dependent businesses.
  3. Prairie, grassland, and wetland habitats are declining, negatively impacting native species and water resources.
  4. Conservation and community organizations and federal, state, local, and tribal governments each have unique tools, constituencies, and capacities, increasing the opportunity to coordinate across organizations.

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