25th Anniversary of Minnesota's Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund
SAINT PAUL, MN (05/20/2015)(readMedia)-- Minnesota's Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund ("Trust Fund") this year marks its 25th year of providing support for the protection and enhancement of Minnesota's environment and natural resources. Established by 77% voter approval of an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution in 1988, the first funding for projects became available from the Trust Fund in 1991. Since then the Trust Fund has provided more than $425 million to over 900 projects benefitting every county in the state.
The Trust Fund is a permanent, constitutionally-dedicated fund in the Minnesota state treasury that was established by Minnesota voters to provide a long-term, consistent, and stable source of funding for the "public purpose of protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources." The money in the Trust Fund is generated through the contribution of 40% of the net proceeds of the Minnesota State Lottery (approximately seven cents of every dollar spent playing the lottery) along with income from stock and bond investment of the money deposited into the fund.
Money from the Trust Fund is awarded to projects through a competitive, multi-step proposal and selection process overseen by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), a 17-member commission in the Minnesota Legislature made up of five state senators, five state representatives, and seven appointed citizen members. Once project selections are finalized and approved by the legislature and the governor, the LCCMR has oversight over the projects funded until they reach completion.
"The goal of the LCCMR for the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is to provide support for innovative projects that can achieve multiple ecological and public benefits for Minnesota," said LCCMR Director Susan Thornton. "Through this fund the aim is to facilitate and promote wise stewardship of our state's unique natural resources for ourselves and future generations."
Of the approximately 900 projects funded since 1991, most individual projects have pertained to multiple environment and natural resources subject areas. The percentage of the total projects pertaining to various subject areas is as follows:
- Biological Diversity: 61.78% of projects
- Natural Areas and Habitat: 59.86% of projects
- Recreation: 41.26% of projects
- Natural Resource Information and Planning: 38.84% of projects
- Water Resources: 30.12% of projects
- Environmental Education/Outreach: 18.37% of projects
- Agriculture/Forestry/Mining: 10.15% of projects
- Invasive Species: 6.71% of projects
- Renewable Energy: 4.51% of projects
- Historic Preservation: 0.21% of projects
In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund there will be a short program on Thursday, May 21 at Steamboat Landing in Snelling State Park as part of Wilderness Inquiry's 7th Annual Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Partner Paddle, a recipient of Trust Fund support over the years. The Partner Paddle is from 1:30-4:30 PM and the program will occur within the window of 2:45-3:15 PM after approximately 100 participants paddle down the Mississippi River from Hidden Falls Regional Park in 24-foot Voyageur canoes. Speaking at the event will be LCCMR Co-Chair Nancy Gibson and several Trust Fund project managers:
- Marla Spivak – University of Minnesota: Bee and pollinator research
- Carrol Henderson – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Minnesota loons and pelicans
- Peter Sorensen – University of Minnesota: Invasive carp biology and management
- Matt Holland – Pheasants Forever: Minnesota Habitat Corridors Partnership
A related media advisory for the event and directions to Steamboat Landing are attached.
A list of 25 project highlights from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund's 25 years of funding is attached. For more information on the Trust Fund and the LCCMR, please visit http://www.lccmr.leg.mn. For more information on the 7th Annual Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Partner Paddle, visit: http://:bit.ly/1GpUnS8.
Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR)
The LCCMR is made up of 17 members (5 Senators, 5 Representatives, 5 citizens appointed by the governor, 1 citizen appointed by the Senate, and 1 citizen appointed by the House). The function of the LCCMR is to make funding recommendations to the Minnesota State Legislature for special environment and natural resource projects, primarily from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The LCCMR developed from a program initiated in 1963. Since then over $800 million has been appropriated to approximately 1,800 projects recommended to protect and enhance Minnesota's environment and natural resources.
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