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Minnesota Session Laws - 2015, Regular Session

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

CHAPTER 76--S.F.No. 698

An act

relating to natural resources; appropriating money from environment and natural resources trust fund; modifying provisions for Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources;

amending Minnesota Statutes 2014, sections 116P.05, subdivision 2; 116P.08, subdivisions 5, 6, 7; 116P.09, subdivisions 6, 8.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

APPROPRIATIONS.

The sums shown in the columns marked "Appropriations" are appropriated to the agencies and for the purposes specified in this act. The appropriations are from the environment and natural resources trust fund, or another named fund, and are available for the fiscal years indicated for each purpose. The figures "2016" and "2017" used in this act mean that the appropriations listed under them are available for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, or June 30, 2017, respectively. "The first year" is fiscal year 2016. "The second year" is fiscal year 2017. "The biennium" is fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

APPROPRIATIONS
Available for the Year
Ending June 30
2016 2017

Sec. 2.

MINNESOTA RESOURCES.

Subdivision 1.

Total Appropriation

$ 46,383,000 $ -0-
Appropriations by Fund
2016 2017
Environment and natural resources trust fund 46,324,000 -0-
Great Lakes protection account 59,000 -0-

The amounts that may be spent for each purpose are specified in the following subdivisions.

Appropriations are available for two years beginning July 1, 2015, unless otherwise stated in the appropriation. Any unencumbered balance remaining in the first year does not cancel and is available for the second year or until the end of the appropriation.

Subd. 2.

Definition

"Trust fund" means the Minnesota environment and natural resources trust fund referred to in Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.02, subdivision 6.

Subd. 3.

Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information

12,932,000 -0-

(a) County Geologic Atlases - Part A

$2,040,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Minnesota Geological Survey to continue acceleration of the production of county geologic atlases for the purpose of sustainable management of surface water and groundwater resources. This appropriation is to complete Part A of county geologic atlases, which focuses on the properties and distribution of earth materials in order to define aquifer boundaries and the connection of aquifers to the land surface and surface water resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(b) County Geologic Atlases - Part B

$2,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to continue acceleration of the production of county geologic atlases for the purpose of sustainable management of surface water and groundwater resources. This appropriation is to complete Part B of county geologic atlases, which focuses on the properties and distribution of subsurface water found within geologic formations mapped in Part A in order to characterize the potential yield of aquifers and their sensitivity to contamination. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(c) Minnesota Biological Survey

$2,450,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for continuation of the Minnesota biological survey to provide a foundation for conserving biological diversity by systematically collecting, interpreting, monitoring, and delivering data on plant and animal distribution and ecology, native plant communities, and functional landscapes.

(d) Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas for Enhanced Natural Resource Management

$340,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Bell Museum of Natural History to create a publicly accessible, online tool and repository that will electronically integrate over 600,000 existing biodiversity records, 300,000 existing images, and future data and associated imagery pertaining to Minnesota wildlife, plant, and fungi species in order to enhance research, guide field surveys, and inform conservation planning. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(e) Updating the National Wetland Inventory for Minnesota - Phase V

$1,500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to continue to update and enhance wetland inventory maps for Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(f) Creating a Statewide Wetland Bird Monitoring Program

$146,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Audubon Minnesota to develop a statewide wetland bird monitoring program to enable long-term monitoring of the status of wetland birds and the health of their wetland habitats. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(g) Minnesota Native Bee Atlas

$790,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to supplement and enhance existing bee survey efforts by engaging citizens in helping to document the distribution and phenology of wild Minnesota bees and integrating data from all related bee survey efforts into a single publicly accessible, online tool and repository. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2019, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(h) Reintroduction and Interpretation of Bison in Minnesota State Parks

$600,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to preserve American bison by reintroducing bison to Minneopa State Park and provide interpretive learning opportunities at Blue Mounds and Minneopa State Parks. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(i) Endangered Bats, White-Nose Syndrome, and Forest Habitat

$1,250,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources in cooperation with the University of Minnesota and the United States Forest Service to survey and radio-track endangered bats to define and understand summer forest habitat use in order to minimize forestry impacts and mitigate white-nose syndrome disease impacts. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(j) Assessing Contaminants in Minnesota Loons and Pelicans - Phase III

$141,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to continue to assess the potential impact of petroleum, dispersants, and heavy metal contaminants from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on the wintering habitat of Minnesota's common loons and white pelicans using radiotelemetry, geolocators, and contaminant analysis.

(k) Movement and Seasonal Habitat Use of Minnesota Elk

$200,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to collect biological information about Minnesota elk, including movements and habitat use to enable long-term, sustainable management. This appropriation is contingent on a $50,000 match from state or nonstate sources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(l) Genetic and Camera Techniques to Estimate Carnivore Populations

$200,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota – Duluth for the Natural Resources Research Institute to use genetic sampling and remote cameras to improve monitoring of distributions and estimate population sizes of carnivore species.

(m) Aquatic and Terrestrial Reptile Habitat

$250,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the University of St. Thomas in cooperation with the Three Rivers Park District to analyze the aquatic and terrestrial habitat for certain reptile species in urban lakes and to make specific recommendations to protect and enhance the habitat. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2019, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(n) Digitization of Historic Gullion Ruffed Grouse Research

$75,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Central Lakes College to preserve the Gordon Gullion ruffed grouse data sets as permanent digital data files in order to improve accessibility to the information and inform forest wildlife conservation policies and practices.

(o) Effects of Grazing Versus Fire for Prairie Management

$414,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to compare the effects of conservation grazing and prescribed fire on tallgrass prairie plants and pollinators in Minnesota in order to inform and improve land management practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(p) Assessing Ecological Impact of St. Anthony Falls Lock Closure

$125,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership to study the impact of altered river flow due to closure of the Upper Lock on the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls on the physical and biological characteristics of the river between the Coon Rapids Dam and Lock and Dam No. 1 in order to inform future river restoration efforts.

(q) Foundational Dataset Characterizing Historic Forest Disturbance Impacts

$200,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to quantify forest disturbance impacts over the past forty years on water quality, wildlife demographics, and wood fiber supply in order to identify management strategies that better respond to disturbance impacts and improve and sustain forest resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(r) Hydrologic Effects of Contemporary Forest Practices in Minnesota

$150,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to install hydrologic monitoring stations to collect water quantity and quality data from lands managed for timber production to better understand the relationship between harvest practices and water resources and related responses to changing climate and other disturbance factors in order to inform forest management practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(s) Habitat Mitigation for Goblin Fern Conservation

$61,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to examine goblin fern populations, a threatened species in Minnesota, in relation to habitat degradation and to develop long-term habitat mitigation and species conservation strategies. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Subd. 4.

Water Resources

3,065,000 -0-

(a) Understanding Water Scarcity, Threats, and Values to Improve Management

$234,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to model and map statewide water scarcity and abundance; assess water-related risks to industry, municipalities, and ecosystems; and quantify the economic values of changes in water quality and quantity in order to inform long-term water sustainability strategies. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(b) Biofilm Technology for Water Nutrient Removal

$281,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop a simulated lichen biofilm system that can be used to remove pollutants and recycle nutrients from storm water runoff and polluted lakes, ponds, and lagoons. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(c) Biological Consequences of Septic Pollution in Minnesota Lakes

$364,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system for St. Cloud State University to assess the presence of possible sources of contaminants of emerging concern in Minnesota lakes in order to determine their effects on fish health, understand the potential contribution from septic systems, and inform options for remediation and prevention to protect Minnesota lakes from these contaminants in the future. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(d) Preventing Phosphorous from Entering Water Resources through Drain Tiles

$505,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop a new nanocomposite material made from biomass that is designed to adsorb phosphorus, nitrogen, and pesticides from storm water and drain tile runoff discharge for recycling back to agricultural lands. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10.

(e) Southeast Minnesota Cover Crop and Soil Health Initiatives

$253,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to promote cover crops as a means of protecting soil and water quality in southeastern Minnesota through training and education for local practitioners, economic analysis of implementation, and on-farm demonstration sites. This effort must be coordinated with the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(f) Southeast Minnesota Subsurface Drainage Impacts on Groundwater Recharge

$488,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the United States Geological Survey to assess the relationship between agricultural drainage and water flow within the unique karst geology of southeast Minnesota to characterize the potential impacts of drainage on groundwater recharge and groundwater sustainability in the region. This appropriation is not subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2019, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(g) Using Hydroacoustics to Monitor Sediment in Minnesota Rivers

$455,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the United States Geological Survey to install hydroacoustic equipment on the lower Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers to improve measurement and monitoring accuracy for suspended sediment and enhance ongoing sediment reduction efforts by state, federal, and local agencies. This appropriation is not subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2019, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(h) Assessment of Irrigation Efficiencies in Benton County

$431,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Benton Soil and Water Conservation District to develop and implement a decision support system to increase irrigation efficiencies and provide outreach on irrigation best management practices. Software developed with this appropriation must be available in the public domain. Project efforts should be coordinated with the Department of Natural Resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2019, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(i) Shoreview Water Consumption and Groundwater Awareness Project

$54,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the city of Shoreview to provide biweekly water consumption data to at least 400 residential households for a two-year period to determine whether additional groundwater can be conserved with greater awareness of consumption data. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Subd. 5.

Environmental Education

1,004,000 -0-

(a) Trap Shooting Sports Facility Grants

$132,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for trap shooting sports facility grants under Minnesota Statutes, section 87A.10.

(b) Connecting Students with Watersheds through Hands-On Learning

$400,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Minnesota Trout Unlimited to provide hands-on learning focused on water quality, groundwater, aquatic life, and watershed health stewardship. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(c) Zumbro River Watershed Recreational Learning Stewardship Sites

$300,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Zumbro Watershed Partnership to develop at least six recreational and educational sites on the Zumbro River with water quality demonstration elements and interpretative signage designed to encourage adoption of water protection practices. No more than 15 percent of this appropriation may be spent on site and construction consultation, planning, and design. Any plantings or restoration activities conducted with this appropriation must use native plant species according to the Board of Water and Soil Resources' native vegetation establishment and enhancement guidelines. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(d) Students Engaging Local Watersheds Using Mobile Technologies

$147,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Twin Cities Public Television to deliver an experiential, project-based educational program using mobile technologies to empower at least 200 middle school students in 4-H programs to engage in understanding and protecting local water resources.

(e) Mississippi River Water Journey Camps

$25,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to design and pilot two week-long summer camps for youth ages 6 to 11 focused around clean water and the Mississippi River and designed to get children outdoors exploring and engaged with the natural environment and creating educational materials to help their communities protect water quality.

Subd. 6.

Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species

6,071,000 -0-

(a) Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center

$5,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center established in Laws 2014, chapter 312, article 13, section 44, to conduct research to prevent, minimize, and mitigate the threats and impacts posed by invasive plants, pathogens, and pests to the state's prairies, forests, wetlands, and agricultural resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2023, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(b) Emerald Ash Borer Ecological and Hydrological Impacts - Phase II

$400,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to assess the potential impacts of emerald ash borer on Minnesota black ash forests and quantify potential impacts on native forest vegetation, invasive species spread, and hydrology. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(c) Biological Control of Canada Thistle

$300,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to develop a biological control for Canada thistle, an invasive plant species in Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(d) Preventing New Disease of Pines in Minnesota

$371,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to establish early detection for heterobasidion, an invasive root rot fungus, and develop efforts to prevent its spread and reduce its impact. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Subd. 7.

Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy

2,268,000 -0-

(a) Renewable and Sustainable Fertilizers Produced Locally

$1,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Morris West Central Research and Outreach Center and Twin Cities Campus to develop and demonstrate new technologies aimed at enabling renewable and sustainable production of ammonia for fertilizer in a localized manner. This appropriation is subject to Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.10. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(b) Reducing Emissions from Open Burning through Biomass Gasification

$268,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources to characterize and promote distributed biomass gasification of wood waste as a means for producing renewable and sustainable energy in rural areas through a demonstration at the Department of Natural Resources regional office facility in New Ulm.

(c) Building Deconstruction to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Solid Waste

$845,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Better Futures Minnesota in cooperation with the Northwest Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center and $155,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota – Duluth for the Natural Resources Research Institute to develop and test a model for implementing building deconstruction and material reuse as a competitive alternative to demolition for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing landfill waste, and providing job training. The project report must quantify and document greenhouse gas emissions reductions resulting from specific deconstruction techniques and materials reuses.

Subd. 8.

Methods to Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat

4,646,000 -0-
Appropriations by Fund
Environment and natural resources trust fund 4,587,000 -0-
Great Lakes protection account 59,000 -0-

(a) Prioritizing Future Management of North Shore Trout Streams

$357,000 the first year is from the trust fund and $59,000 the first year is from the Great Lakes protection account to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota – Duluth for the Natural Resources Research Institute to identify key areas in North Shore streams that supply the cold groundwater essential to sustaining trout fisheries, in order to focus habitat restoration, protection, and management efforts on the areas that are most essential for long-term stream health and sustainability. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(b) Propagating Native Plants and Restoring Diverse Habitats

$495,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Martin County Soil and Water Conservation District for a cooperative 13-county effort by Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Faribault, Freeborn, Jackson, Lake, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Waseca, and Watonwan Counties to protect and expand native forest and prairie habitat for species in greatest conservation need in four regions of the state through collection and propagation of local ecotype native plants, habitat restoration efforts, and educational outreach. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(c) Preserving and Protecting Minnesota Native Orchid Species

$167,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for propagation and cultivation research to enable long-term conservation of at least 15 selected species of the 48 native orchid species in Minnesota. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(d) Acceleration of Minnesota Conservation Assistance – Final Phase

$1,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for the final phase of a pilot program to provide grants to soil and water conservation districts and other units of local and state government for employment of staff to provide technical assistance to secure enrollment and retention of private lands in federal and state conservation programs. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(e) Metro Conservation Corridors - Phase VIII Prairie, Forest, and Savanna Restoration

$276,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Friends of the Mississippi River for Phase VIII of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership to conduct restoration activities on at least 195 acres of forest and savanna and at least 60 acres of prairie to preserve and increase wildlife habitat in the metropolitan area, as defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.121, subdivision 2, and portions of the surrounding counties. Expenditures are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work plan. A list of proposed restorations must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(f) Metro Conservation Corridors - Phase VIII Enhancing Restoration Techniques for Improved Climate Resilience and Pollinator Conservation

$400,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Great River Greening for Phase VIII of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership to pilot and evaluate innovative restoration techniques aimed at improving the resilience of bur oak communities to changing climate conditions and enhancing prairie management to benefit pollinators with the help and engagement of citizen volunteers. Expenditures on restoration efforts are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work plan. A list of proposed restorations must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which point the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(g) Minnesota State University Moorhead Prairie and Riparian Restoration and Monitoring

$527,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system for Minnesota State University Moorhead in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources to restore and monitor 160 acres of prairie and riparian habitat and develop and disseminate monitoring protocols. This appropriation is contingent upon the donation of a 60-acre parcel to Minnesota State University Moorhead from the Minnesota State University Moorhead Alumni Foundation and is available until June 30, 2020, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(h) Improving Community Forests Through Citizen Engagement

$800,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to design and pilot a program, including grants to communities, to mobilize citizen volunteers to protect, improve, and maintain local forests in communities around the state. Participation is open to any municipality in the state and participating municipalities will be selected through a competitive proposal process that will include representation from both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas of the state. Trees planted using this appropriation must be species that are native to Minnesota. A participating municipality must provide a match of not less than 25 percent, up to half of which may be in the form of in-kind support. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(i) Flood Recovery on Sargent Creek in Duluth

$300,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the city of Duluth to re-establish stable and natural streambanks with riparian and aquatic habitat restoration on at least 5,400 linear feet of Sargent Creek in Duluth destroyed during the flood of 2012.

(j) Shoreland Protection for Lower St. Croix River

$190,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the St. Croix River Association to provide technical assistance to landowners, local governments, realtors, and developers on shoreland conservation and protection of the lower St. Croix River. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(k) Redwood and Renville Counties Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Master Plan

$75,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Renville County in cooperation with Redwood County to develop a joint outdoor recreation and conservation master plan to guide future development and protect cultural, historical, and natural resources in the Minnesota River Valley.

Subd. 9.

Land Acquisition for Habitat and Recreation

14,190,000 -0-

(a) State Parks and Trails Land Acquisitions

$1,500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire at least 335 acres for authorized state trails and critical parcels within the statutory boundaries of state parks. State park land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards, as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. A list of proposed acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(b) Metropolitan Regional Park System Land Acquisition – Phase IV

$1,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Metropolitan Council for grants to acquire at least 133 acres of lands within the approved park unit boundaries of the metropolitan regional park system. This appropriation may not be used to purchase habitable residential structures. A list of proposed fee title and easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation must be matched by at least 40 percent of nonstate money that must be committed by December 31, 2015, or the appropriation cancels. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(c) SNA Acquisition, Restoration, Enhancement, and Public Engagement

$4,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire at least 350 acres of lands with high-quality native plant communities and rare features to be established as scientific and natural areas as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05, subdivision 5, restore and improve at least 550 acres of scientific and natural areas, and provide technical assistance and outreach. A list of proposed acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards, as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(d) Native Prairie Stewardship and Prairie Bank Easement Acquisition

$3,325,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to acquire native prairie bank easements on at least 675 acres, prepare baseline property assessments, restore and enhance at least 1,000 acres of native prairie sites, and provide technical assistance to landowners. Of this amount, up to $135,000 must be deposited in a conservation easement stewardship account. Deposits into the conservation easement stewardship account must be made upon closing on conservation easements or at a time otherwise approved in the work plan. A list of proposed easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(e) Metro Conservation Corridors - Phase VIII Coordination, Mapping, and Conservation Easements

$515,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Minnesota Land Trust for Phase VIII of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership to provide coordination and mapping for the partnership and to acquire permanent conservation easements on at least 120 acres of strategic ecological landscapes to protect priority natural areas in the metropolitan area, as defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.121, subdivision 2, and portions of the surrounding counties. A list of proposed easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards, as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. Expenditures are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work plan. Up to $40,000 may be used for coordination and mapping for the Metro Conservation Corridors. All conservation easements must be perpetual and have a natural resource management plan. A list of proposed easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(f) Metro Conservation Corridors - Phase VIII Strategic Lands Protection

$750,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with The Trust for Public Land for Phase VIII of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership to acquire in fee at least 35 acres of high-quality priority state and local natural areas in the metropolitan area, as defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.121, subdivision 2, and portions of the surrounding counties. A list of proposed acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards, as determined by the commissioner of natural resources. Expenditures are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work plan. This appropriation may not be used to purchase habitable residential structures, unless expressly approved in the work plan. A list of fee title acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(g) Metro Conservation Corridors - Phase VIII Priority Expansion of Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

$500,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, Inc. for Phase VIII of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership to acquire in fee at least 100 acres of priority habitat for the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the metropolitan area, as defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.121, subdivision 2, and portions of the surrounding counties. A list of proposed acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards. Expenditures are limited to the identified project corridor areas as defined in the work plan. This appropriation may not be used to purchase habitable residential structures, unless expressly approved in the work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(h) Metro Conservation Corridors - Phase VIII Wildlife Management Area Acquisition

$400,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for Phase VIII of the Metro Conservation Corridors partnership to acquire in fee at least 82 acres along the lower reaches of the Vermillion River in Dakota County within the Gores Pool Wildlife Management Area. Land acquired with this appropriation must be sufficiently improved to meet at least minimum management standards. This appropriation may not be used to purchase habitable residential structures, unless expressly approved in the work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(i) Mesabi Trail Development Soudan to Ely – Phase II

$1,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the St. Louis and Lake Counties Regional Railroad Authority for the right-of-way acquisition, design, and construction of segments of the Mesabi Trail, totaling approximately seven miles between Soudan and Ely. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(j) Multi-benefit Watershed Scale Conservation on North Central Lakes

$950,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to secure permanent conservation easements on at least 480 acres of high-quality habitat in Crow Wing and Cass Counties. Of this amount, up to $65,000 must be deposited in a conservation easement stewardship account; and $54,000 is for an agreement with the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation in cooperation with Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District and Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District. Deposits into the conservation easement stewardship account must be made upon closing on conservation easements or at a time otherwise approved in the work plan. A list of proposed easement acquisitions must be provided as part of the required work plan. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

(k) Conservation Easement Assessment and Valuation System Development

$250,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to assess the effectiveness of existing conservation easements acquired through state expenditures at achieving their intended outcomes of public value and ecological benefits and to develop a standardized, objective conservation easement valuation system for guiding future state investments in conservation easements to ensure the proposed environmental benefits are being achieved in a cost-effective manner. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

Subd. 10.

Emerging Issues Account

1,000,000 -0-

$1,000,000 the first year is from the trust fund to an emerging issues account authorized in Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.08, subdivision 4, paragraph (d).

Subd. 11.

Administration and Contract Agreement Reimbursement

1,207,000 -0-

(a) Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

$1,072,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for administration in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 116P.09, subdivision 5.

(b) Contract Agreement Reimbursement

$135,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources at the direction of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for expenses incurred for contract agreement reimbursement for the agreements specified in this section. The commissioner shall provide documentation to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources on the expenditure of these funds.

Subd. 12.

Availability of Appropriations

Money appropriated in this section may not be spent on activities unless they are directly related to and necessary for a specific appropriation and are specified in the work plan approved by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Money appropriated in this section must not be spent on indirect costs or other institutional overhead charges that are not directly related to and necessary for a specific appropriation. Costs that are directly related to and necessary for an appropriation, including financial services, human resources, information services, rent, and utilities, are eligible only if the costs can be clearly justified and individually documented specific to the appropriation's purpose and would not be generated by the recipient but for the receipt of the appropriation. No broad allocations for costs in either dollars or percentages are allowed. Unless otherwise provided, the amounts in this section are available until June 30, 2017, when projects must be completed and final products delivered. For acquisition of real property, the appropriations in this section are available for an additional fiscal year if a binding contract for acquisition of the real property is entered into before the original expiration date of the appropriation. If a project receives a federal grant, the time period of the appropriation is extended to equal the federal grant period.

Subd. 13.

Data Availability Requirements

Data collected by the projects funded under this section must conform to guidelines and standards adopted by MN.IT Services. Spatial data also must conform to additional guidelines and standards designed to support data coordination and distribution that have been published by the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office. Descriptions of spatial data must be prepared as specified in the state's geographic metadata guideline and must be submitted to the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office. All data must be accessible and free to the public unless made private under the Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statutes, chapter 13. To the extent practicable, summary data and results of projects funded under this section should be readily accessible on the Internet and identified as having received funding from the environment and natural resources trust fund.

Subd. 14.

Project Requirements

(a) As a condition of accepting an appropriation under this section, an agency or entity receiving an appropriation or a party to an agreement from an appropriation must comply with paragraphs (b) to (l) and Minnesota Statutes, chapter 116P, and must submit a work plan and semiannual progress reports in the form determined by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for any project funded in whole or in part with funds from the appropriation. Modifications to the approved work plan and budget expenditures must be made through the amendment process established by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

(b) A recipient of money appropriated in this section that conducts a restoration using funds appropriated in this section must use native plant species according to the Board of Water and Soil Resources' native vegetation establishment and enhancement guidelines and include an appropriate diversity of native species selected to provide habitat for pollinators throughout the growing season as required under Minnesota Statutes, section 84.973.

(c) For all restorations conducted with money appropriated under this section, a recipient must prepare an ecological restoration and management plan that, to the degree practicable, is consistent with the highest quality conservation and ecological goals for the restoration site. Consideration should be given to soil, geology, topography, and other relevant factors that would provide the best chance for long-term success and durability of the restoration projects. The plan must include the proposed timetable for implementing the restoration, including site preparation, establishment of diverse plant species, maintenance, and additional enhancement to establish the restoration; identify long-term maintenance and management needs of the restoration and how the maintenance, management, and enhancement will be financed; and take advantage of the best available science and include innovative techniques to achieve the best restoration.

(d) An entity receiving an appropriation in this section for restoration activities must provide an initial restoration evaluation at the completion of the appropriation and an evaluation three years beyond the completion of the expenditure. Restorations must be evaluated relative to the stated goals and standards in the restoration plan, current science, and, when applicable, the Board of Water and Soil Resources' native vegetation establishment and enhancement guidelines. The evaluation must determine whether the restorations are meeting planned goals, identify any problems with the implementation of the restorations, and, if necessary, give recommendations on improving restorations. The evaluation must be focused on improving future restorations.

(e) All restoration and enhancement projects funded with money appropriated in this section must be on land permanently protected by a conservation easement or public ownership.

(f) A recipient of money from an appropriation under this section must give consideration to contracting with Conservation Corps Minnesota for contract restoration and enhancement services.

(g) All conservation easements acquired with money appropriated under this section must:

(1) be permanent;

(2) specify the parties to an easement in the easement;

(3) specify all of the provisions of an agreement that are permanent;

(4) be sent to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources in an electronic format at least ten business days prior to closing;

(5) include a long-term monitoring and enforcement plan and funding for monitoring and enforcing the easement agreement; and

(6) include requirements in the easement document to address specific groundwater and surface water quality protection activities such as keeping water on the landscape, reducing nutrient and contaminant loading, protecting groundwater, and not permitting artificial hydrological modifications.

(h) For any acquisition of lands or interest in lands, a recipient of money appropriated under this section shall not agree to pay more than 100 percent of the appraised value for a parcel of land using this money to complete the purchase, in part or in whole, except that up to ten percent above the appraised value may be allowed to complete the purchase, in part or in whole, using this money if permission is received in advance of the purchase from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

(i) For any acquisition of land or interest in land, a recipient of money appropriated under this section must give priority to high-quality natural resources or conservation lands that provide natural buffers to water resources.

(j) For new lands acquired with money appropriated under this section, a recipient must prepare an ecological restoration and management plan in compliance with paragraph (c), including sufficient funding for implementation unless the work plan addresses why a portion of the money is not necessary to achieve a high-quality restoration.

(k) To ensure public accountability for the use of public funds, within 60 days of the transaction, a recipient of money appropriated under this section must provide to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources documentation of the selection process used to identify parcels acquired and provide documentation of all related transaction costs, including but not limited to appraisals, legal fees, recording fees, commissions, other similar costs, and donations. This information must be provided for all parties involved in the transaction. The recipient must also report to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources any difference between the acquisition amount paid to the seller and the state-certified or state-reviewed appraisal, if a state-certified or state-reviewed appraisal was conducted.

(l) A recipient of an appropriation from the trust fund under this section must acknowledge financial support from the Minnesota environment and natural resources trust fund in project publications, signage, and other public communications and outreach related to work completed using the appropriation. Acknowledgment may occur, as appropriate, through use of the trust fund logo or inclusion of language attributing support from the trust fund. Each direct recipient of money appropriated in this section, as well as each recipient of a grant awarded pursuant to this section, must satisfy all reporting and other requirements incumbent upon constitutionally dedicated funding recipients as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 3.303, subdivision 10, and chapter 116P.

Subd. 15.

Payment Conditions and Capital Equipment Expenditures

(a) All agreements, grants, or contracts referred to in this section must be administered on a reimbursement basis unless otherwise provided in this section. Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 16A.41, expenditures made on or after July 1, 2015, or the date the work plan is approved, whichever is later, are eligible for reimbursement unless otherwise provided in this section. Periodic payment must be made upon receiving documentation that the deliverable items articulated in the approved work plan have been achieved, including partial achievements as evidenced by approved progress reports. Reasonable amounts may be advanced to projects to accommodate cash flow needs or match federal money. The advances must be approved as part of the work plan. No expenditures for capital equipment are allowed unless expressly authorized in the project work plan.

(b) Single source contracts as specified in the approved work plan are allowed.

Subd. 16.

Purchase of Recycled and Recyclable Materials

A political subdivision, public or private corporation, or other entity that receives an appropriation under this section must use the appropriation in compliance with Minnesota Statutes, section 16C.0725, regarding purchase of recycled, repairable, and durable materials; and Minnesota Statutes, section 16C.073, regarding purchase and use of paper stock and printing.

Subd. 17.

Energy Conservation and Sustainable Building Guidelines

A recipient to whom an appropriation is made under this section for a capital improvement project must ensure that the project complies with the applicable energy conservation and sustainable building guidelines and standards contained in law, including Minnesota Statutes, sections 16B.325, 216C.19, and 216C.20, and rules adopted under those sections. The recipient may use the energy planning, advocacy, and State Energy Office units of the Department of Commerce to obtain information and technical assistance on energy conservation and alternative energy development relating to the planning and construction of the capital improvement project.

Subd. 18.

Accessibility

Structural and nonstructural facilities must meet the design standards in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility guidelines.

Subd. 19.

Carryforward; Extension

(a) The availability of the appropriations for the following projects are extended to June 30, 2016:

(1) Laws 2013, chapter 52, section 2, subdivision 4, paragraph (l), Restorations Evaluations;

(2) Laws 2013, chapter 52, section 2, subdivision 6, paragraph (b), detecting and monitoring certain carp populations; and

(3) Laws 2011, First Special Session chapter 2, article 3, section 2, subdivision 4, paragraph (g), Minnesota River Valley Green Corridor Scientific and Natural Area Acquisition.

(b) The availability of the appropriations for the following projects are extended to June 30, 2017:

(1) Laws 2013, chapter 52, section 2, subdivision 5, paragraph (e), Measuring Hydrologic Benefits from Glacial Ridge Habitat Restoration; and

(2) Laws 2014, chapter 226, section 2, subdivision 3, paragraph (m), Measuring Hydrologic Benefits from Glacial Ridge Habitat Restoration.

(c) The availability of the appropriation for the following project is extended to June 30, 2019: Laws 2014, chapter 226, section 2, subdivision 6, paragraph (a), Enhancing Pollinator Landscapes.

(d) The following project may be extended statewide, Laws 2014, chapter 226, section 2, subdivision 9, paragraph (c), Urban Environmental Education Engaging Students in Local Resources.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 116P.05, subdivision 2, is amended to read:

Subd. 2.

Duties.

(a) The commission shall recommend an annual or biennial legislative bill for appropriations from the environment and natural resources trust fund and shall adopt a strategic plan as provided in section 116P.08. Approval of the recommended legislative bill requires an affirmative vote of at least 12 members of the commission.

(b) It is a condition of acceptance of the appropriations made from the Minnesota environment and natural resources trust fund, and oil overcharge money under section 4.071, subdivision 2, that the agency or entity receiving the appropriation must submit a work plan and semiannual progress reports in the form determined by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, and comply with applicable reporting requirements under section 116P.16. None of the money provided may be spent unless the commission has approved the pertinent work plan. Modifications to the approved work plan and budget expenditures shall be made through the amendment process established by the commission. The commission shall ensure that the expenditures and outcomes described in the work plan for appropriations funded by the environment and natural resources trust fund are met.

(c) The peer review panel procedures created under section 116P.08 must also be used to review, comment, and report to the commission on research proposals applying for an appropriation from the oil overcharge money under section 4.071, subdivision 2.

(d) The commission may adopt operating procedures to fulfill its duties under this chapter.

(e) As part of the operating procedures, the commission shall:

(1) ensure that members' expectations are to participate in all meetings related to funding decision recommendations;

(2) recommend adequate funding for increased citizen outreach and communications for trust fund expenditure planning;

(3) allow administrative expenses as part of individual project expenditures based on need;

(4) provide for project outcome evaluation;

(5) keep the grant application, administration, and review process as simple as possible; and

(6) define and emphasize the leveraging of additional sources of money that project proposers should consider when making trust fund proposals.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 116P.08, subdivision 5, is amended to read:

Subd. 5.

Public meetings.

(a) Meetings of the commission, committees or subcommittees of the commission, technical advisory committees, and peer review panels reviewers must be open to the public. The commission shall attempt to meet throughout various regions of the state during each biennium. For purposes of this subdivision, a meeting occurs when a quorum is present and action is taken regarding a matter within the jurisdiction of the commission, a committee or subcommittee of the commission, a technical advisory committee, or a peer review panel reviewers.

(b) For legislative members of the commission, enforcement of this subdivision is governed by section 3.055, subdivision 2. For nonlegislative members of the commission, enforcement of this subdivision is governed by section 13D.06, subdivisions 1 and 2.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 116P.08, subdivision 6, is amended to read:

Subd. 6.

Peer review.

(a) Research proposals must include a stated purpose directly connected to the trust fund's constitutional mandate, this chapter, and the adopted strategic plan under subdivision 3, a timeline, potential outcomes, and an explanation of the need for the research. All research proposals must be peer reviewed by a peer review panel before receiving an appropriation.

(b) In conducting research proposal reviews, the peer review panel reviewers shall:

(1) comment on the methodology proposed and whether it can be expected to yield appropriate and useful information and data; and

(2) comment on the need for the research and about similar existing information available, if any; and.

(3) report to the commission on clauses (1) and (2) (c) Peer reviewers' comments under paragraph (b) must be reported to the commission.

(c) (d) The peer review panel also must reviewers may review completed research proposals that have received an appropriation and comment and report upon whether the project reached the intended goals.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 116P.08, subdivision 7, is amended to read:

Subd. 7.

Peer review panel membership reviewers.

(a) The peer review panel reviewers must consist of at least five members who are be knowledgeable in general research methods in the areas of environment and natural resources. Not more than two members of the panel may be employees of state agencies in Minnesota.

(b) The commission shall select a chair every two years who shall be responsible for convening meetings of the panel as often as is necessary to fulfill its duties as prescribed in this section. Compensation of panel members peer reviewers is governed by section 15.059, subdivision 3.

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 116P.09, subdivision 6, is amended to read:

Subd. 6.

Conflict of interest.

A commission member, a technical advisory committee member, a peer review panelist reviewer, or an employee of the commission may not participate in or vote on a decision of the commission, advisory committee, or peer review panel relating to an organization in which the member, panelist peer reviewer, or employee has either a direct or indirect personal financial interest. While serving on the commission, technical advisory committee, or as a peer review panel reviewer, or being an employee of the commission, a person shall avoid any potential conflict of interest.

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 116P.09, subdivision 8, is amended to read:

Subd. 8.

Technical advisory committees.

The commission shall make use of available public and private expertise on environment and natural resource issues by appointing and may appoint necessary technical advisory committees to review funding proposals and evaluate project outcomes. Compensation for technical advisory committee members is governed by section 15.059, subdivision 6.

Presented to the governor May 20, 2015

Signed by the governor May 22, 2015, 4:03 p.m.

700 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155 ♦ Phone: (651) 296-2868 ♦ TTY: 1-800-627-3529 ♦ Fax: (651) 296-0569