ST. PAUL, MINN. – The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) provides annual funding recommendations to the legislature on which projects to support with the state’s Outdoor Heritage Fund. The Council’s recommendations came before the Senate on Monday. The $109.3 million bill was carefully vetted by the 12-member Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council which includes Senator Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids).
“I feel confident this bill takes into consideration the environmental needs of our state. This is a unique opportunity that our state has to take advantage of this dedicated fund to ensure we are properly preserving and enhancing our state’s natural wonders,” said Sen. Saxhaug.
He added, “Protecting the Northwoods of Minnesota has always been important to me. Sitting on the LSOHC is an honor because I get to help select projects that not only better the area I am from, but also the many natural environments across our state that help make it such a beautiful place to live.”
Notable projects in the bill include more than $4 million to establish an aquatic invasive species research center at the University of Minnesota. Another project authorizes $9.7 million for the acquisition of permanent conservation easements and restoration of wetlands and upland bird habitats in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ducks Unlimited. The bill also appropriates $4.6 million to the DNR commissioner for the Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program, which provides competitive matching grants of up to $400,000 to smaller organizations for enhancing, restoring or protecting forests, wetlands, prairies or habitats.
This bill is funded by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, one of the four legacy funds supported by the increase in sales tax of three-eighths of 1 percent approved by voters in a 2008 amendment to Minnesota’s constitution.