Legislative panel recommends $26 million in environmental projectsby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A commission made up of state legislators and citizens is recommending 48 environmental projects to receive $26 million from a state trust fund next year.
The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources came out with a list on Monday that includes everything from updating a state wetlands inventory to restoring prairies to studying the ecological impacts of the emerald ash borer.
The $26 million comes from the state's Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which is made up of contributions and investment income. Seven cents of every dollar people spend on playing the Minnesota Lottery goes into the fund.
State legislators will consider the commission's recommendations early next year, and projects will begin when funding becomes available in July.
LCCMR Director Susan Thornton said this year's selection process was one of the most competitive ever, with the commission having to select from 240 proposals for $163.8 million.
Projects that were each recommended to receive more than $1 million include:
- * A geological atlas program used as a tool to protect groundwater
- * An effort by the Department of Natural Resources to continue updating a wetlands inventory
- * A sustainable energy project at environmental learning centers across the state
- * A DNR effort to restore native prairies statewide
- * Acquiring land for state parks and trails
- * Protecting the granite rock outcrop ecosystem in central and southwestern Minnesota
- * Conservation projects to restore habitat and ecosystems statewide