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V. The Minnesota Wetlands Conservation Plan

In 1997, Minnesota completed a multi-agency effort to develop a statewide Wetlands Conservation Plan. The project began in 1993 in response to concerns about wetland management processes, such as permitting, unclear state policies, and methods to achieve the state’s goal of no-net-loss of wetlands. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant and state matching funds financed the project. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture participated in the plan development. In addition, citizens from throughout the state took part in a series of discussions held in various locations.

The plan addresses four basic challenges to the state’s wetland management system:

  • To recognize and apply regional differences in wetlands policies and decision-making;
  • To simplify the permitting system and make it more accessible;
  • To develop and deliver better information to people making decisions about wetlands; and
  • To give resource agencies a common set of statewide strategies for conservation of wetlands.

The plan answers these concerns with recommendations in areas such as regional management, regulatory simplification, and education and outreach.

State and federal agencies and local governments continue to use the plan to provide policy guidance.  The plan is available at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fish_and_wildlife/wetlands/wetlandscon.html.

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