H.F. 2310 set aside $6 million for Dunes SNA expansion

Details of 2023 bill highlight investment in environment, PFAS related issues


Politics is often the art of compromise, and with that in view, we’ve got (somewhat) old news: the details on last year’s bill allocating $6 million to Grey Cloud Island and Scientific and Natural Area.
Passed in the Minnesota House May 18 of last year on a largely party line roll call vote of 72-57 after the State Senate voted 34-33 in favor (also party line), H.F. 2310 was sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen and includes “yea” votes by several area representatives.
Part of the budget process and officially entitled “Environment, natural resources, climate, and energy finance and policy bill,” H.F. 2310 provides funding for projects up and down the state of Minnesota, including near and about Cottage Grove.
Contained in the fourth “engrossment” (updated text with amendments) of H.F. 2310 as passed are a $670 million investment in nature, including money to address PFAS as well as expand the Grey Cloud Dunes SNA.
As to the SNA, sections 30.13 to 30.21 of said bill authorize up to $6 million the first year “for transfer from the critical habitat private sector matching account to reinvest in Minnesota fund to expand Grey Cloud Island Scientific and Natural Area and for other scientific and natural area acquisition, restoration, and enhancement according to Minnesota Statutes, section 84.943, subdivision 5b.”
Among items also included in said bill are the following with potential local impact.
• $1.492 million the first year and $1.519 million the second year for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to continue “perflourochemical monitoring” in the eastern metro as recommended by the Environmental Health Tracking and Biomonitoring Advisory Panel (sections 5.4 to 5.16)
• $6.4 million split equally over two years to provide air emission reduction grants to reduce air pollution at regulated facilities within environmental justice areas of concern (section 9.27 to 9.34)
• $4.476 million the first year and $4.622 million the second year “from the remediation fund for the leaking underground storage tank program to investigate, clean up and prevent future releases from the underground petroleum storage tanks” (sections 16.1 to 16.10)
• $25 million the first year “for grants to support planning, design, and preparing for solutions for public water treatment systems contaminated with PFAS for the agency to conduct source investigations of PFAS” (sections 16.20 to 16.28)
• $140,000 the first year and $140,000 the second for the Pig’s Eye Landfill Task Force (sections 17.5 to 17.7)
• $380,000 split equally over two years to support the Green Step Cities program (sections 19.19 to 19.21)
• $4.21 million the first year and $210,000 t second year for PFAs Reduction Grants to identify sources of PFAs entering facilities of industry and public entities, preference being given to undeserved communities (sections 19.29 to 20.6)
• $1.163million the first year and $1,115,000 the second year from the environmental fund for rulemaking and implementation (sections 21.6 to 21.13)
• $638,000 over two years for environmental research related to mine permitting (sections 25.12 to 25.17)
• $676,000 over two years in the water management fund for mining hydrology (sections 26.1 to 26.4)
• $12 million over two years for financial reimbursement and technical support to soil and water conservation district or other local government units for ground water monitoring (sections 28.16 to 28.19.1)
• $1.72 million for the Department of Natural Resources to prevent and manage invasive carp in the Mississippi Lock and Dam System (section 30.3)
• $458,000 for a grant to Dakota County to improve the Swing Bridge Trailhead and Rock Island Swing Bridge, including LED lighting (sections 37.15 to 37.19)
• $10 million the first year “for enhancing prairies and grasslands and restoring wetland on state-owned wildlife management areas to sequester more carbon and enhance climate resiliency,” available until June 30, 2027 (sections 39.22 to 39.27).
• $6.232 million split equally over two years for grants and payments to soil and water conservation districts to accomplish the purposes of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 103C, as well as other general purposes.
• $2.75 million the first year pithing Met Council budgeting for capital improvements to the municipal wastewater collection system within the city of Newport (sections 57.16 to 57.22)
• $2 million for the development of a comprehensive plan to ensure communities in the White Bear Lake Area access to sufficient safe drinking water, the work group to include members from Woodbury Oakdale and Lake Elmo (sections 57.29 to 58.16)
• $340,000 the first year to map migratory bird pit stops in Minnesota (sections 64.12 to 64.23)
• $483,000 the first year for agreement with the Nature Conservancy for “community response monitoring to assist community level plan and plant responses to past restoration efforts” within conservation focus areas” of southeast Minnesota to see if management outcomes are being achieved.
• $797,000 to expand the Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Phase III, including the addition of insect specimens, collects from new partners, historical data, and repatriating records of Minnesota’s biodiversity that exist in various federal institutions (sections 68.35 to 69.11)
• $478,000 the first year “to develop novel methods for the detection, sequestration, and degradation of poly- and perflouroakyl substances (PFAS) in Minnesota lakes and Rivers (sections 70.22 to 70.27)
• $825,000 the first year “to propagate, rear, and restore native freshwater mussel assemblages and the ecosystem services they provide in the Mississippi, Cedar, and Cannon rivers; to evaluate reintroduction success, and to inform the public on mussels and mussel conservation (sections 80.14 to 80.23)”
• $1.508 million the first year for the MPCA to conduct a pilot project on creating pollinator habitat in closed landfills (sections 83.28 to 883.33)
• $190,000 the first year for an agreement with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board “to enhance and restore habitat in and between urban neighborhood parks and the Mississippi River” as well as raise awareness of the Mississippi River Flyway (sections 84.3 to 84.12)
• $1.919 million the first year to the commissioner of natural resources “to restore and enhance exception habitat on scientific and natural areas (SNAs), increase public involvement and outreach, and strategically acquire lands that meet criteria for SNA under Minnesota Statutes, section 86A.05 from willing sellers (sections 85.19 to 85.29)
• $3.802 the first year to the commissioner of natural resources “to solicit and rank applications and fund competitive matching grants for local parks trail connections, and natural and scenic areas under Minnesota Statutes 85.019,” specifically to local nature-based recreation and connections to regional and state natural areas, not to be used for athletic facilities (sections 86.11 to 86.21)
• $5.425 million the first year from the commissioner of natural resources acquire high-priority inholdings from willing sellers within the legislatively authorized boundaries of state parks, recreation areas, and trials to protect Minnesota’s natural heritage, enhance outdoor recreation, and improve the efficiency of public land management (88.16 to 88.26)
• $1 million the second year for an agreement with the Trust for Public Land “to help local communities acquire priority land along the Mississippi, St. Croix, and Minnesota Rivers and their tributaries, to protect natural resources, provide buffet for flooding, and improve access for recreation (sections 112.32 to 113.3)
• $1 million the second year from the Met Council Trust Fund for “grants to acquire land within the approved park boundaries of the metropolitan regional park system,” to be matched at least 40 percent by non state money (sections 113.5 to 113. 11)
Missing from the state level bill are specific references to funding awards for the City of Cottage Grove for obtaining park land, a joint funding effort with the county making possible the Dunes Reserve Park on the riverbank.
In one sense then, the money is not there. But in another sense, it very much is. A lot depends on perspective.