DNR makes progress on conservation and outdoor recreation goals

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The Department of Natural Resources continues to make progress on its goals spanning many areas of conservation and outdoor recreation, from hunter recruitment and environmental permitting to fire management and wildlife monitoring. 

“Our mission is to steward Minnesota’s waters, lands and habitats for current and future generations,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Through scientifically-based management of our natural resources and by setting ambitious but achievable goals, we can work with partners to achieve great outcomes.

The DNR’s achievements are detailed on the agency’s performance and accountability reporting website, which tracks the DNR’s progress toward achieving conservation goals through 87 performance measurements and targets.

The DNR has been setting targets and tracking progress for most of these metrics for over a decade. Measurements on the website cover all aspects of the agency’s work.

Some examples of significant results include:

  • The number of visits and overnight guests to Minnesota state parks and recreation areas climbed 10 percent between 2015 and 2016 to 10.3 million visits. Sales of one-day and year-round permits continue to steadily increase. To strengthen the connection of Minnesotans to the outdoors, the DNR continues to innovate as the agency increases its understanding of recreational needs and motivations, builds partnerships, and expands successful programs.
  • Over 51,000 students participated in DNR’s safety courses during fiscal year 2016, a 19 percent increase from the previous year. The DNR provides a number of courses – like firearm and snowmobile safety – to introduce new and existing users to recreational opportunities, and encourage safe and responsible use of Minnesota’s resources.
  • Thirty-one homes and businesses were removed from floodplains to prevent flood damage between 2015 and the present. The DNR and communities are now spared the future expense and danger of protecting them when floods do occur. The cumulative number of buildings removed since 1995 is 2,826. In addition to providing funds to communities to buy and remove flood-prone buildings, the DNR provides data for flood forecasting and promotes sound land-use in floodplain areas.
  • DNR facilities and fleet emitted greenhouse gases totaling 23,429 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2016. Facilities and fleet emissions have decreased 14.5 percent since 2010. The DNR aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent from 2010 levels by 2020.
  • The DNR re-inventoried over 126,000 acres of its forest lands. Over the last decade, over one million acres have been inventoried. Forests change as they grow and age, and as they experience fire, windstorms, harvest, and other issues. An updated inventory is essential for tracking these changes and providing information for making sound forest management decisions.

The DNR updates the performance and accountability website annually, and the agency will work with interest groups, the public, and elected officials in providing important context for these measurements as well as strategic advice on how to best achieve Minnesota’s conservation goals and targets.

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