Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 10.5

GreenStep City Best Practices Land Use
Design for Natural Resource Conservation No. 10

Adopt development ordinances or processes that protect natural systems and valued community assets.

Best Practice Action 5

Preserve environmentally sensitive, community-valued land by placing a conservation easement on city lands, and by encouraging/funding private landowners to place land in conservation easements.

  • The Minnesota Land Trust protects undeveloped shoreline, shallow lakes, undisturbed forest, prairies, and other ecologically important and community-valued areas statewide by advising landowners and local communities and by managing conservation easements placed on such lands. The Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Program, administered by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, pays private landowners to voluntarily retire environmentally sensitive lands from agricultural production by enrolling land in a conservation easement.
  • Municipalities in Minnesota are authorized by the Legislature to create purchase of development rights and transfer of development rights programs. PDR programs exist in Washington and Dakota Counties. TDR programs, applicable in urban areas, are not known to exist in any Minnesota city.
1 star Actively encourage landowners to place conservation easements on their land.
2 star Place at least one conservation easement on city land; conservation easements required on all wetlands/wetland buffers during entitlement; city recommends that land developers deed wetlands to city.
3 star Provide funding to encourage private landowner easements; adopt or participate in a purchase of development rights or transfer of development rights program.

Who's doing it

Golden Valley - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
As of 2016 the City has established 12 conservation easements that cover 25 properties.
In addition to the 12 conservation easements, in 2007 the City granted a conservation easement for 3.07 acres of wetland bank in the General Mills Nature Preserve to the Minnesota Land Trust to ensure it would be preserved in perpetuity.
Outcome measures/metrics:
As of 2016 the City has established 13 conservation easements, totaling 25.7 acres.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Eric Eckman (City staff) | eeckman@goldenvalleymn.gov | 763-593-8084
Partners:
Eden Prairie - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
A formal program has not been adopted. Land in Eden Prairie is generally preserved in one of three ways. 1) Purchased by the city, 2) land is given in lieu of park dedication fees and 3) land is dedicated to conservation as part of the development process.

721 Conservation Easements are in place on parcels of land.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Tania Mahtani (City staff) | tmahtani@edenprairie.org | 952-949-8413
Partners:
Lake Elmo - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Lake Elmo has partnered with the MN Land Trust on establishing many large conservation easements in Lake Elmo. The MN Land Trust has recognized Lake Elmo as a leader in this area. In addition, Lake Elmo is nationally recognized for its Open Space Preservation developments. Please reference Section 150.175 of the Lake Elmo City code for more information about OP developments.
Outcome measures/metrics:
In collaboration with the MN Land Trust, over 20 Open Space Preservation developments have been established in Lake Elmo.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Jake Foster (City staff) | jfoster@lakeelmo.org | 651-747-3908
Partners: MN Land Trust
Maplewood - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
In 2001 a three-acre hillside at Trout Brook Preserve was planted with prairie grasses and wildflowers. The preserve is at Harambee School. Maplewood has an easement on this site but does not own it. The site is open to the public.

There is also a conservation easement on the Priory nature preserve located at the southwest corner of Century Avenue and Larpenteur Avenue.

In 2013 the City of Maplewood acquired the 70 acre fish creek property. The Conservation Fund purchased the site in 2011 and agreed to hold it for two years to give the City and its primary partners, Ramsey County and Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District, time to raise the $2.2 million needed. Generous donations from the Maplewood-based 3M Foundation, Friends of the Mississippi River and individual donors were provided. A Natural and Scenic Area grant from Department of Natural Resources, a grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, and bonding funds from the State of Minnesota provided nearly half the funding, making this conservation achievement possible.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff) | shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov | 651-249-2304
Partners: Ramsey County, Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District, 3M Foundation, Friends of the Mississippi River, MN DNR,
Rochester - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Olmsted County has implemented a soil and water conservation district for quite a few years. The Mission of the Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District is to promote
more sustainable resource utilization and protection of natural resources in the
County. The District assists farmers, communities, watershed planners and
landowners in developing and implementing conservation and resource
management systems and practices. The District also serves as a source for
conservation and resource information and provides environmental education for
county residents.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Andy Hart (City staff) | Hart@starband.net | (507) 280-2850
Partners:
Rosemount - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Rosemount Comprehensive Wetland Management Plan requires conservation easements placed over all wetlands and wetland buffers which are recorded with the final plat during the land development process. City staff has recommended that wetlands be deeded to the City during the subdivision process.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Several wetlands have been deeded to the city, and those that are not are still protected by conservation easements that are clearly marked.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Anthony Nemcek (City staff) | anthony.nemcek@ci.rosemount.mn.us | 651-322-2090
Partners: Private developers
Stillwater - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city has placed a conservation easement on long narrow stretch of property along the St. Croix River that is public land. The property has a concept plan that has been approved and a park (called Aiple Park) is going to be built, which will provide residents access to the river.
With the development of Liberty on the Lake and Legends, there was a 50% set aside of pervious area. These were in the form of public open space and private easements.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Bill Turnblad (City staff) | bturnblad@ci.stillwater.mn.us | 651-430-8821
Partners:
Eagan - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City has partnered with other entities (e.g. Dakota County) to fund conservation easements to preserve land in the Eagan Core Greenway
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Andrew Pimental (City staff) | apimental@cityofeagan.com | 651/675-5506
Partners:
Elk River - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The William H. Houlton Conservation Area is a 347-acre property and has been restored into high-quality wildlife habitat. The city owns the property through a partnership with the Friends of the Mississippi River, Trust for Public Land and Outdoor Heritage Fund and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A Natural Resources Management Plan was created to return farmfields to prairie habitat, restore floodplain forest and allow for public hunting and fishing.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff) | ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov | 763-635-1068
Partners:
Red Wing - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city established several conservation easements to preserve property (for example, in 2011, the city granted a conservation easement over approximately 200 acres in the Red Wing Riverfront to the Minnesota Land Trust). The city has also been awarded several DNR Natural and Scenic Grants used to purchase open space.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff) | paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us | 651-410-6744
Partners:
Sunfish Lake - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
On December 27th, 2002, a Conservation Easement was granted by the City of Sunfish Lake to the Minnesota Land Trust to protect and preserve the conservation values of Musser Park in perpetuity.
Outcome measures/metrics:
This easement preserves the open and natural character of the protected property for scenic enjoyment by the general public, preserves a relatively natural habitat for wildlife and plants and provides an opportunity for the public to experience and enjoy the out-of-doors in a relatively undisturbed and natural setting.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jim Nayes (Contractor) | jim@LSTrees.com | 612-803-9033
Partners: Minnesota Land Trust
Woodbury - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city holds conservation easements (although they did not fund them) and now does fee for title instead.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer McLoughlin (City staff) | jmcloughlin@ci.woodbury.mn.us | 651-714-3522
Partners: