A new law that includes $159 million in appropriations from the Outdoor Heritage Fund for fiscal year 2023 also provides some extensions for projects that receive monies from the other three Legacy Amendment funds.
Approved by Minnesota voters in a 2008 referendum, the Legacy Amendment to Minnesota’s constitution stipulates that 0.375% of state sales taxes be divvied up thus: 33% to the Outdoor Heritage Fund, 33% to the Clean Water Fund, 19.75% to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, and 14.25% to the Parks and Trails Fund.
The Outdoor Heritage Fund appropriation for fiscal year 2023 will be meted out according to the recommendations of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
According to the state constitution, the Outdoor Heritage Fund may be spent only “to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife.” The $159 million appropriation will fund a variety of restoration, protection and enhancement projects around the state, with $83.4 earmarked for habitat projects, $35 million for prairies, $26.8 million for wetlands, and $13.3 million for forests.
Dates are extended for the availability of Outdoor Heritage Fund appropriations for the Buffalo River Watershed Stream Habitat program (through June 30, 2023), fisheries habitat protection on strategic north central Minnesota lakes (through June 30, 2024), and the Carnelian Creek Conservation Corridor (through June 30, 2025).
The law, effective May 23, 2022, also includes provisions for the other three funds.
Clean Water Fund rules are changed to require that a report to the Legislature on fund uses be filed by Jan. 15 of each odd-numbered year, with the option of also presenting supplemental budget recommendations by Jan. 15 of each even-numbered year. And the Clean Water Fund appropriation granted to St. Louis County for the Ash River sanitary sewer collection and treatment facility planning project is extended through June 30, 2023.
Parks and Trails Fund appropriations for projects overseen by the Department of Natural Resources, Metropolitan Council and the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, enhanced web-based information for parks and trails users, and support for activities of the Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee are extended through June 30, 2024. Also extended through that date is the appropriation for Crookston’s Central Park project.
And the availability of Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund appropriations for the Minnesota Historical Society of $15.6 million in fiscal year 2020 and $17.4 million in fiscal year 2021 has been extended through June 30, 2023.
Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL-North St. Paul) and Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point) sponsor the law.