The $70.88 million fiscal year 2023 appropriations from the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund covers more than 100 projects.
The fund was established in 1988 via constitutional amendment to “provide a long-term, consistent, and stable source of funding for activities that protect, conserve, preserve, and enhance Minnesota's ‘air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources’ for the benefit of current citizens and future generations.” Money is generated by the state lottery.
Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) and Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) sponsor the law that mostly takes effect July 1, 2022.
Funding in the law includes:
• $26.18 million for 14 habitat and recreation projects, including nearly $7.4 million for state trail rehabilitation and enhancement;
• $11.29 million for 11 projects to protect, restore and enhance land, water and habitat;
• $9 million for natural resources data and information;
• $6.23 million to support the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center to fund research projects to better manage invasive plants, pathogens, and pests on Minnesota's natural and agricultural lands;
• $5.78 million for water resources;
• $4.27 million for nine projects related to environmental education;
• $2 million to replace failing septic systems to protect groundwater;
• $843,000 for air quality and renewable energy projects;
• $800,000 to establish a Pig’s Eye Landfill Task Force to coordinate efforts to remediate and restore a Superfund site and address PFAS contamination of Battle Creek, Pig's Eye Lake and nearby groundwater;
• $763,000 for the Forever Green Agriculture Initiative at the University of Minnesota;
• $750,000 to provide onetime state incentive payments to enrollees in the federal Conservation Reserve Program during the continuous enrollment period and to enroll land in conservation easements;
• $500,000 for an enhanced forest inventory on county and private lands;
• $500,000 for continued mapping of the aggregate resource potential in the state and to make the information available in print and electronic format to local units of government for use in planning and zoning;
• $500,000 to develop enterprises, supply chains, and markets for continuous living cover crops and cropping systems in the early stage of commercial development;
• $400,000 to complete a centralized aquifer property database to provide needed data for site characterization;
• $360,000 to assist in constructing rural and farmstead ring levees for flood protection in the Red River watershed;
• $200,000 to procure an analysis of the extent of leaded gasoline contamination in or near the cities of Paynesville, Foley, Alexandria, and Blaine, and of the threat posed by the contamination to each city's drinking water supply; and
• $200,000 to build and improve living snow fences consisting of trees, shrubs, native grasses and wildflowers.
The law also outlines the availability of appropriations, data availability requirements, project requirements, payment conditions and capital equipment expenditures, purchasing recycled and recyclable materials, energy conservation and sustainable building guidelines, accessibility, carryforward/extensions and transfers.