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DNR releases strategic conservation agenda

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).

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.