Metro Conservation Network

A compilation of images, showing from left to right: a map showing Twin Cities and beyond, showing boundaries and names of counties, major rivers in blue and water bodies and green infrastructure corridors, a group of four diverse adults stand in a park, and a child and father holding up a fish and a younger child holding a rod and fishing in a river

Why it's important:

The greater Twin Cities region has bountiful natural resources in many treasured places. Generations of private and public conservation efforts have created a nationally renowned system of parks, trails, greenways, and protected natural areas. As the region continues to grow and change, a strong conservation ethic, ongoing commitment, and continued investment in our precious natural resources must be a priority today and in the future. Without it, our irreplaceable natural areas can become fragmented and degraded — lessening their ability to provide life-sustaining services, health, and wellbeing for all people, as well as for delivering resilient, functional wildlife habitat.

What is the Metro Conservation Network (MCN)?

The MCN is an emerging group of natural resource planners, managers, and practitioners in the greater Twin Cities Area

The MCN vision:

To facilitate collaborative and advance individual efforts to plan, protect, restore and maintain ecosystem resiliency, biodiversity and connectivity throughout the greater Twin Cities metro region for the wellbeing of all people and the changing natural environment.

Why this network is needed:

Our region has a cadre of dedicated natural resource professionals working within agencies, nonprofit organizations and for-profit entities. The accomplishments to date demonstrate the fierce dedication and grit of our natural resource professionals. However, challenges continue to mount. While individual agencies and organizations have accomplished much in their own right, we are cognizant that we can produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts by coordinating our efforts and sharing knowledge. If done in geographic isolation, even significant steps are often too small and disconnected to fully protect and enhance healthy natural systems and the services and benefits they provide.

How to be a part of the network:

If you are a natural resource professional or public official that cares and thinks about enhancing nature close to home, you can reach out to DNR Regional Planner Gina Bonsignore. Together, you and Gina can discuss ways that you can plug-in, depending on your interest level and areas of expertise or passion.

2021 goals and priority action items:

GoalAction item
Develop information platforms for natural resource stewardship professionals, decision-makers, landowners, and the public.Develop and begin implementing a communications plan.
Utilize new technology, data, and analytical tools to update information critical for planning, communicating, protecting, and improving healthy natural resource systems.Support upgrades to the Minnesota Land Cover Classification System and mapping.
Develop resources for local land and water protection planning efforts.Develop a list of prioritized plant communities, habitats, and natural resource areas in the most critical need of protection to inform local land protection efforts.
Advance the practice of on-the-ground natural resource restoration and address long-term management issues, emphasizing climate change adaptation.Develop a case statement for long-term maintenance provisions.

Learn, respect, and adopt the perspectives of, and participation by, traditionally underrepresented communities* in natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation.

*Traditionally underrepresented communities include people who experience barriers to participating in natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation activities due to economic, racial, cultural, disability or LGBTQ+ identification.

Improve relationship building with underrepresented communities to increase awareness and use of public natural areas.

MCN documents