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Minnesota Legislature

LCCMR projects approved (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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Each year, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources receives funding from lottery sales that it redistributes to grant recipients who submit requests for proposals. The LCCMR funding recommendations for these environmental projects form the basis of a new law.

This new law, sponsored by Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Ellen Anderson (DFL-St. Paul), appropriates $26 million, primarily out of the state lottery’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, for various projects.

More than $12.8 million from the trust fund is available for partnerships and grants. For example, the University of Minnesota and the Department of Natural Resources will split $500,000 to study the effect that development has on coldwater springs and trout streams.

Those receiving funding include Pheasants Forever, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation and others who purchase conservation easements and who restore and maintain wildlife habitats.

Nearly $6 million will pay for conducting geological atlas surveys to study groundwater, including the Mt. Simon aquifer in south-central Minnesota. Though some county surveys have been completed and paid for through other funding sources, the LCCMR money will speed up the data collection of water, soil and wetlands throughout the state. Soil surveys also are paid for through local and federal cost-share programs.

Just over $2 million is available for water studies, such as the removal of toxic compounds found at wastewater treatment plants that are known endocrine disruptors. Studies have linked endocrine disruptors to adverse biological effects in animals, and potentially in humans.

Another $2 million from the trust fund is available for a demonstration project by the nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment, which is charged with developing a new residential energy conservation program.

The Renville Soil and Water Conservation District will receive $1.5 million to purchase perpetual easements in addition to its current 14,000 acres of conservation easements, particularly where there are unique outcroppings of granite rock along the Upper Minnesota River Valley.

Others receiving funds include:

• Science Museum of Minnesota for the St. Croix watershed research station; and

• Metro Blooms, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and the City of Minneapolis for rain gardens to improve water in Powderhorn Lake.

The new law specifies that plant vegetation only of native ecotypes to Minnesota and preferably of the local ecotype be used when restoring wetlands. The use of local stock within a few miles of the area being restored helps prevent genetic contamination and leads to more success for wetland and prairie restoration projects, according to scientific studies relied upon by lawmakers.

HF2049/SF1012*/CH143

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