WHO REALLY PAYS FOR CONSERVATION ON STATE LANDS?

A couple weeks ago I was listening to Kirk Robinson's interview on the Rewilding podcast. Kirk is the founder and executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy and on the podcast he was discussing a variety of topics such as feedlots, bias of wildlife boards, ecosystem resilience and then the topic of who pays the most for conservation on state lands came up.

Before reading the rest of this post please listen to what Kirk says about who pays: Rewilding Podcast with Kirk Robinson - go to the 33:45 mark.

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Each state is different on where they secure funding to manage wildlife and public lands.  In Minnesota this is where the Department of Natural Resources says their money comes from. This only pertains to the DNR. It does not include any money spent by NGOs (non-government organizations) to protect wildlife and wild lands in the state of MN.

Note: **all sources for the information shared here will be noted at the very end for further reading.



Let's look at each section and where the revenue comes from.

GENERAL FUND 
This money comes from sales tax, corporate income tax, tobacco payments, statewide property tax, individual income tax, other tax revenue, other non-tax revenue, other sources. The highest portion being sales tax at 24.9% and individual income tax at 53.7%.


GAME & FISH FUND 
This money comes from hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and permits, the wildlife surcharge, license application and issuing fees, timber sales on wildlife conservation lands, and interest earnings.

The fund is sourced by a variety of revenues that directly relate to the programs they support. Sales of hunting and fishing licenses contributed 43% of Game & Fish Fund total revenue in 2017. We also receive federal funds through the federal sport fish and wildlife federal grants. We estimate funds at $59.9 million this biennium. Together, these two funding sources combined contribute about 86% of the fund this biennium.

(copied from https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/budget/fy18-19-biennial-op-budget.pdf)

Note: federal funds come from U.S. taxpayers. 

NATURAL RESOURCES FUND 
This money comes from the gas and lottery taxes, licenses and registrations, state park fees, mining fees, water fees, dedicated receipts, timber, unrefunded gasoline tax (other), and income tax donations.




The Outdoor Heritage Fund, Clean Water Fund, Parks and Trails Fund, and Environment and Natural Resources Fund revenue all comes from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. 

In 2008, Minnesota's voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment (Legacy Amendment) to the Minnesota Constitution to: protect drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore wetland, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve arts and cultural heritage; to support parks and trails; and to protect, enhance and restore lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater.

The Legacy Amendment increased the state sales tax by 3/8ths of 1% beginning July 1, 2009 and continuing until 2032.  The additional sales tax revenue is distributed into four funds as follows: 33% to the Clean Water Fund; 33% to the Outdoor Heritage Fund; 19.75% to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund; and 14.25% to the Parks and Trails Fund.


OUTDOOR HERITAGE FUND
33% of the sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is distributed to the Outdoor Heritage Funds. Those funds "may be spent only to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forests and habitat for fish, game and wildlife.


PARKS AND TRAILS FUND
The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25% of the sales tax revenue resulting from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy amendment. Those funds may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance. 


CLEAN WATER FUND
33% of the sales tax revenue from the Legacy amendment is allocated to the Clean Water Fund. Those funds may only be spent to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams and to protect groundwater from degradation. AT least 5% of the clean water fund must be spent to protect drinking water sources.


ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TRUST FUND
In 1988, Minnesota's voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The purpose of the Trust Fund is to provide long-term, consistent, and stable source of funding for activities that protect and enhance Minnesota's environment and natural resources for the benefit of current citizens and future generations.

The money in the Trust Fund originates from a combination of contributions and investment income. 40% of the net proceeds from the Minnesota State Lottery are deposited to the Trust Fund each year; this contribution is guaranteed by the Minnesota Constitution until December 31, 2024. The Trust Fund may also receive contributions from other sources such as private donations.


SPECIAL REVENUE 
This money comes from iron ore rent and royalties, timber sales on state-owned land, fees for firefighting, sales of nursery stock, cooperative agreements, merchandise and consumables sold in state parks, goods and services sold at the Douglas Lodge complex (suites & rooms), sales of documents and publications, and cross country ski passes.

FEDERAL GRANTS 
This money comes from U.S. taxpayers.

OTHER - 1%



~Michelle Valadez