FIRST-YEAR LEGISLATORS FREIBERG, WILLS
SUPPORT HABITAT BILL
15 Metro Area Wildlife Projects Would Benefit
From $6.4 Million in Legacy Funds
ST. PAUL – State Representatives Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) and Anna Wills (R-Apple Valley) today introduced a bill that would provide $6.4 million for 15 wildlife and habitat projects in the Metropolitan area. The funding would come from the Outdoor Heritage Fund created when Minnesotans approved the Legacy Amendment in 2008.
Reps. Freiberg and Wills have secured 33 bipartisan co-authors from all seven counties in the metro area.
The 15 conservation, habitat and wildlife projects are based in all seven counties and include $1.5 million to restore and enhance 302 acres in Scott County for interior forest birds, waterfowl and amphibians, $560,000 in Dakota County to convert existing land to prairie and oak savanna and prevent soil erosion injurious to water quality for the brook trout population.
“These 15 projects will help protect, restore and enhance publically owned land in the metropolitan area for habitat,” Rep. Freiberg said. “These lands are our most precious assets. They have been set aside permanently for wildlife – and, to a limited degree, humans. Nature is in our soul and we must protect it.”
“These Legacy dollars have been set aside by the voters,” Rep. Wills said. “The funds will be spent. It is only right that the needs and resources of the metro area are addressed. We are not seeking to take funds away from other projects. There is $10 million left unspent in the Outdoor Heritage account for next year. These projects will benefit habitat now and our children in the future.”
Reps. Freiberg and Wills are both freshmen legislators. Working together and across party lines, they were able to garner support from both parties.
“In my 41 years in the Legislature, I have never seen two first-year legislators from different parties be so effective working with their own caucuses,” said Rep. Phyllis Kahn, chair of the House Legacy Committee. “I look forward to hearing their bill.”