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DNR releases strategic conservation agenda

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A new plan, which sets strategic direction for natural resources and measures conservation results, has just been released by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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The DNR "Strategic Conservation Agenda 2009-2013, Part II: Performance and Accountability Report" clearly explains the role natural resources play in the state's quality of life and economic prosperity. The agenda provides a framework for responding to Minnesota's conservation challenges.

The Agenda, a companion piece to Part I issued in 2009, uses 83 measurable indicators and targets to summarize natural resource conditions, DNR management activities, and results that the DNR strives to accomplish.

While Part I described the three driving trends that shape the state's natural resources and defined a core set of strategies to address these challenges in an integrated and comprehensive way, Part II tracks progress toward those conservation goals with select indicators.

A special section on natural resources and economic prosperity introduces the key performance indicators. They are organized under five themes: waters and watersheds, natural lands, fisheries and wildlife, outdoor recreation, and organization effectiveness.

Examples of indicators include:

• Aquatic invasive species: Number of water bodies infested with Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels.

• Forest conservation easements: Acres of permanent forest conservation easements

• Ruffed grouse: Ruffed grouse harvest levels.

State park visitation: Number of visitors and overnight guests at state parks and recreation areas.

• Renewable energy use and carbon emissions: Percent renewable energy used at DNR facilities; carbon emissions from DNR facilities and fleet.

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