Achievements include significant advances in conserving and managing natural resources, connecting more people with nature, and adapting to and mitigating climate change
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has released a summary of some of its key achievements in 2022. From hitting key habitat restoration milestones that have taken decades to complete, to climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, to ensuring Minnesota’s unprecedented outdoor opportunities are accessible to more people, the DNR has made significant progress toward the goals and priorities of its Strategic Plan ( files.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/reports/conservationagenda/dnr_strategic_plan.pdf).
“I am deeply proud of all that my colleagues at the DNR have accomplished this year along with our partners and the Minnesotans we work with and serve,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “We’ve made incredible strides this year and seen our combined efforts pay off with inspiring conservation successes. Our natural places are critical to the health of our environment, economy and people and key to what makes this state an incredible place to live. I look forward to what the DNR and its partners can achieve together over the coming year and beyond.”
Among the many achievements in habitat conservation and restoration in 2022 is the first recorded spawning event for sea sturgeon in the Red River Basin in more than 100 years. In 1997, the Minnesota DNR, US Fish and Wildlife Service, White Earth Nation, Red Lake DNR, Rainy River First Nations, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, and Canadian partner organizations began reintroducing lake sturgeons caused by overfishing, habitat fragmentation , and decline in habitat quality. The spawning event represents an important milestone as the DNR and partner agencies work toward the ultimate recovery goal of restoring self-sustaining lake sturgeon populations in the Red River Basin.
Within the St. Louis River Area of Concern, located in and around the twin ports of Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin, habitat restoration projects resulted in the removal of an impairment designation related to the health of fish and wildlife populations. Successfully managing this impact has required collaboration with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Wisconsin DNR, as well as significant engagement with stakeholders and the public.
In the area of connecting more people to nature, the DNR has made a number of improvements to Minnesota’s outdoor recreation facilities to better represent and serve people with diverse cultural perspectives and abilities. The Gitchi-Gami State Trail, Shipwreck Creek Campground, and Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area updates all include new accessible features. All-Terrain Track Chairs are also now available at five state parks. St. Croix State Park features a new exhibit developed in collaboration with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and others to incorporate more inclusive stories. The exhibition is also designed to be accessible to people with cognitive, physical, visual and hearing disabilities.
The DNR also contributed data and expertise to complete the Minnesota Climate Action Framework (pca.state.mn.us/climate-action-framework), which was released in 2022. The framework contains strategies on how we can manage natural and work areas together to counteract climate change by absorbing and storing carbon, reducing emissions and maintaining resilient landscapes.
The achievements identified above, and a larger list available online, highlight key achievements in several priority areas outlined in the DNR’s strategic plan: proactively addressing critical natural resource issues; connecting people with nature; expand diversity, equity and inclusion; Climate protection and adaptation to climate change; responsibility for stewardship of natural resources for economic and community benefit; and ensure the financial vitality of the DNR. These examples illustrate some of the many ways the DNR works with Minnesotans to fulfill the agency’s mission.
You can keep up to date with the work of the DNR by subscribing to one of our dedicated email lists (public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNDNR/subscriber/qualify) and opportunities on our Engage with DNR (engage .dnr. state.mn.us) public engagement platform or by following us on Facebook (facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR), Twitter (twitter.com/mndnr) and Instagram (Instagram.com/minnesotadnr).