Habitat will be restored, enhanced or protected on more than 3,500 acres under the latest round of Conservation Program Legacy (CPL) grants administered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The DNR awarded 38 grants totaling $2.6 million during the recently concluded funding cycle. This is the fifth time CPL grants have been awarded in the past three years. Grant recipients must provide a financial match of non-state funds that total 10 to 15 percent of the requested amount. Matching funds totaled more than $1 million dollars during the latest funding cycle.
“This habitat grant program was designed to engage and empower citizens, conservation organizations and governments at the local level,” said Sam Fleitman, CPL Grants Program coordinator. “That’s happening. Organizations are submitting good projects, supporting them with their own funds, and leveraging even larger results with Legacy Amendment dollars used for their intended purpose.”
CPL grant money is used to enhance, restore or protect forests, wetlands and prairies for Minnesota’s fish and wildlife.
Examples of newly funded projects include:
- Providing a habitat corridor along the Vermillion River from Hastings to Farmington.
- Adding 135 acres to the Clair Rollings Wildlife Management Area in western Minnesota’s Swift County.
- Obtaining conservation easements to protect important habitat and 2,000 feet of sensitive shoreline in Carlton County near Moose Lake State Park.
A complete list of successful applicants is posted on the DNR website. 
Local, regional, state and national nonprofit organizations – including government entities – can apply for CPL grants totaling $5,000-$400,000. Since the CPL program began, more than 140 grants totaling $12.3 million have been awarded to restore, enhance and protect 48,500 acres of habitat.
“The application process is easier than ever,” said Fleitman. “Many organizations are leaving a legacy on the landscape through this program. We encourage others to do the same.”
Fleitman said the next application cycle is tentatively set to open in August with an application deadline in mid-September. The CPL web page  will be updated as soon as specific dates are determined.
The CPL program is an outgrowth of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, which recommended its creation to the state Legislature. Grant funds are provided annually from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which receives 33 percent of the income generated by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment’s three-eighths of 1 percent statewide sales tax.