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Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 375-S.F.No. 2949 
                  An act relating to natural resources; providing for 
                  the establishment of heritage forest areas in 
                  specified counties; amending Minnesota Statutes 1998, 
                  section 84.944, subdivision 2; proposing coding for 
                  new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 89. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1998, section 84.944, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [DESIGNATION OF ACQUIRED SITES.] The critical 
        natural habitat acquired in fee title by the commissioner under 
        this section shall be designated by the commissioner as:  (1) an 
        outdoor recreation unit pursuant to section 86A.07, subdivision 
        3, or (2) as provided in sections 89.018, subdivision 2, 
        paragraph (a), 97A.101, 97A.125, 97C.001, and 97C.011.  The 
        commissioner may so designate any critical natural habitat 
        acquired in less than fee title. 
           Sec. 2.  [89.018] [HERITAGE FORESTS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [ESTABLISHMENT; TERMINATION.] (a) The 
        commissioner may establish heritage forest areas within counties 
        named under this subdivision if: 
           (1) the commissioner determines that establishment is 
        consistent with the purposes of the heritage forest; and 
           (2) the county board has submitted a resolution to the 
        commissioner delineating and requesting establishment of the 
        heritage forest areas of the county. 
           (b) The named counties for the Big Woods Heritage Forest 
        are: 
           (1) Blue Earth; 
           (2) Carver; 
           (3) Dakota; 
           (4) Hennepin; 
           (5) Le Sueur; 
           (6) McLeod; 
           (7) Meeker; 
           (8) Nicollet; 
           (9) Rice; 
           (10) Sibley; 
           (11) Scott; 
           (12) Waseca; and 
           (13) Wright. 
           (c) The commissioner may terminate the heritage forest 
        status of an area within a county if the commissioner determines 
        that the termination would be in the public interest and the 
        county board has submitted a resolution to the commissioner 
        requesting termination. 
           Subd. 2.  [COMMISSIONER'S POWERS.] (a) Within areas 
        established as a heritage forest under subdivision 1, the 
        commissioner may: 
           (1) designate any commissioner-administered state-owned 
        lands as heritage forest lands for management purposes, 
        including lands that have previously been designated for another 
        purpose; 
           (2) accept donations of land, including easements under 
        subdivision 3, for heritage forest management; 
           (3) manage lands designated by local governments for 
        heritage forest management; and 
           (4) contract with other agencies or organizations for 
        management services, including any required monitoring 
        activities. 
           (b) Lands designated under paragraph (a), clause (1), that 
        were previously designated by law or by the commissioner 
        continue to be subject to requirements and uses authorized under 
        the previous designation. 
           Subd. 3.  [EASEMENTS.] (a) The commissioner or a political 
        subdivision may individually or jointly acquire heritage forest 
        land for conservation purposes in areas established under 
        subdivision 1 by entering into easements with landowners.  The 
        easements must be conservation easements as defined in section 
        84C.01, clause (1), except the easements may be made possessory 
        as well as nonpossessory if agreed upon by the landowner and the 
        commissioner or political subdivision. 
           (b) In an easement agreement between the commissioner or 
        political subdivision and a landowner, the landowner must agree: 
           (1) to place forest lands in the program for the period of 
        the easement; 
           (2) to implement a heritage forest stewardship plan as 
        provided in the easement agreement; 
           (3) not to alter the heritage forest by developing the 
        land, cutting timber that is not identified in the forest 
        stewardship plan, or otherwise destroying the heritage forest 
        character of the easement area; 
           (4) to allow the commissioner or political subdivision or 
        agents of the commissioner or political subdivision access to 
        the land for monitoring activities; 
           (5) not to adopt a practice specified by the commissioner 
        or political subdivision in the easement as a practice that 
        would tend to defeat the purposes of the heritage forest; and 
           (6) to additional provisions included in the easement that 
        the commissioner or political subdivision determines are 
        consistent with the purposes of the heritage forest program. 
           (c) A limited-term easement may be converted to a permanent 
        easement or renewed at the end of the easement period by mutual 
        agreement of the commissioner or political subdivision and the 
        landowner. 
           (d) If during the easement period the landowner sells or 
        otherwise disposes of the ownership or right of occupancy of the 
        land, the new landowner must continue the easement under the 
        same terms or conditions. 
           (e) If during the limited-term easement period the 
        landowner sells or otherwise disposes of the ownership or right 
        of occupancy of the land, the new landowner may continue the 
        easement under the same terms or conditions. 
           (f) The commissioner or political subdivision may terminate 
        an easement by mutual agreement with the landowner if the 
        commissioner or political subdivision determines that the 
        termination would be in the public interest.  The commissioner 
        or political subdivision may agree to modification of an 
        agreement if the commissioner or political subdivision 
        determines the modification is desirable to implement the 
        heritage forest program. 
           Subd. 4.  [FOREST STEWARDSHIP REGISTRATION.] Private 
        landowners may establish their lands as heritage forest land by 
        having a heritage forest stewardship plan prepared and by 
        completing a stewardship registration agreement.  A stewardship 
        registration agreement is a nonbinding commitment by a landowner 
        to provide stewardship to forested lands.  In a stewardship 
        registration agreement, a landowner acknowledges an intent to 
        implement a heritage forest stewardship plan.  If the landowner 
        sells or otherwise disposes of the ownership or right of 
        occupancy of the land, the commissioner shall terminate the 
        stewardship registration agreement.  A new owner must enter into 
        a new stewardship registration agreement to continue recognition 
        of the forest land as heritage forest.  The commissioner may 
        terminate a stewardship registration agreement by mutual 
        agreement of the landowner if the commissioner determines the 
        termination would be in the public interest. 
           Subd. 5.  [HIGHWAYS.] The establishment of a heritage 
        forest shall not, by itself, impose any additional restrictions 
        upon the commissioner of transportation or a local road 
        authority, to construct, improve, or maintain a highway, as 
        defined in section 160.02, subdivision 7. 
           Subd. 6.  [STATE REGULATION AND CONTROL.] Nothing in this 
        chapter shall be used to authorize the acceptance of grants or 
        agreements that would preempt state regulation and control of 
        state lands. 
           Presented to the governor April 10, 2000 
           Signed by the governor April 13, 2000, 4:55 p.m.