News release: Important DNR investments included in the Walz-Flanagan Budget to Move Minnesota Forward

January 26, 2022


Today’s announcement of the final piece of the Walz-Flanagan Budget to Move Minnesota Forward gives the full picture of 2022 investments in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ work. The Walz-Flanagan budget proposal for the DNR includes critical investments in infrastructure, climate adaptation and mitigation, and drought relief.

The bonding budget package includes $221.4 million of infrastructure investments for the DNR, while the supplemental budget includes $81.5 million for climate adaptation and mitigation, and $13.35 million to address the impacts of the 2021 drought on the state’s natural resources.

“The Move Minnesota Forward budget proposal can advance the DNR’s mission and address critical issues such as climate change, improving access to the outdoors, and rehabilitating and modernizing aging — and in some cases failing — outdoor infrastructure,” said Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “These are important investments that will connect Minnesotans to the outdoors and maintain our high quality of life throughout the state.”

Infrastructure investment highlights

The bonding budget package includes $221.4 million for the DNR to care for existing assets; modernize, expand or develop facilities that support natural resource management and outdoor recreation; and invest in DNR-managed public lands.

Key investments are:

  • $110.8 million to address deferred maintenance and to preserve existing assets
  • $36.4 million for modernizing or expanding existing facilities and investing in new facilities to address current and future needs
  • $20 million for flood hazard mitigation grants
  • $15 million for investments in public lands
  • $12 million for the continued development of Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
  • $8 million for dam safety repair, reconstruction and removal
  • $7.8 million for wildfire aviation infrastructure
  • $5 million for accessibility improvements at state parks and wildlife management areas
  • $5 million for community tree planting grants
  • $1 million for grants to local and regional parks and trails

Climate adaptation and mitigation investment highlights

The Walz-Flanagan supplemental budget includes $81.5 million for investment in DNR-managed public lands, facilities and infrastructure to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, and work to adapt to current and future climate change impacts.

Key investments are:

  • $42 million for climate investments in natural lands and waters, including modernizing and enhancing DNR-managed assets and restoring streams to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts
  • $24 million for acquisition of public lands to support recreation and conservation to decrease the state’s net greenhouse gas emissions
  • $10 million for enhancing grasslands and restoring wetlands on wildlife management areas for carbon capture and resiliency
  • $5.5 million for the Private Forest Management Program to accelerate technical and cost-share assistance to private woodland owners to manage their land for climate change mitigation and adaptation

Drought relief investment highlights

The supplemental budget also includes $13.35 million for the following DNR efforts to address impacts of the 2021 drought:

  • $5.55 million for replacing tree seedlings lost to the drought in public and private forests
  • $4.5 million to provide grants to local and tribal governments to plant and manage community shade trees
  • $3 million for water efficiency grants to municipal, tribal, and other community water suppliers
  • $300,000 to resolve DNR-confirmed well interference problems that occurred during the 2021 drought

The Move Minnesota Forward budget is a clear indication of the Walz-Flanagan Administration’s commitment to investing in the DNR’s ability to serve Minnesotans. During the 2022 legislative session, updates on the DNR’s budget and policy proposals will be available on our website.