About the LCCMR and ENRTF
The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) is a commission of legislators and citizens whose primary function is to make funding recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature for special environmental and natural resources protection and enhancement projects, primarily from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF). Additionally, the LCCMR tracks all projects funded through its proposal process to ensure outcome achievement. Since 1963, approximately $1.0 billion from multiple funding sources has been awarded to more than 2,400 projects recommended to the legislature by the commission.
The LCCMR is composed of 17 members: five senators, five representatives, five citizens appointed by the governor, one citizen appointed by the Senate, and one citizen appointed by the House. Legislative members are appointed by legislative leadership and must include representation from both majority and minority parties. The citizen members appointed to the LCCMR must have experience or expertise in the science, policy, or practice of the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's environment and natural resources.
LCCMR developed from a program initiated in 1963 to preserve, develop, and maintain the natural resources of Minnesota. The name and funding sources have changed over the years, with the most recent change in 2006, when the commission was restructured into its current form, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, with the addition of non-legislative citizen members in order to include citizen input more directly in the decision-making process.
The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) is a permanent fund in the Minnesota state treasury dedicated to funding activities that protect, conserve, preserve, and enhance the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. The ENRTF was created in 1988 when 77% of Minnesota voters approved an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution (Art. XI, Sec.14). The ENRTF provides a long-term, consistent, and stable source of funding for Minnesota's environment and natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations.
Money in the ENRTF originates from a combination of contributions and investment income. Forty percent of the net proceeds from the Minnesota State Lottery, or approximately seven cents of every dollar spent on playing the lottery, goes into the ENRTF, which is then managed and invested for continued growth by the State Board of Investment. Up to 5.5% of the market value of the ENRTF is available to spend on projects each year. The LCCMR makes annual project funding recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature based on a competitive, multi-step proposal and selection process.
Over the past 30 years, the ENRTF has funded key efforts to protect, conserve, preserve, and enhance Minnesota's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. Since 1991, the ENRTF has provided over $875 million to nearly 1,800 projects around the state. Every county of the state has been impacted by funding from the ENRTF. Some highlights from the last 30 years include ENRTF- funded efforts that have:
- supporting critical research developing tools to detect and combat Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and white nose syndrome in bats, and improve our understanding of fisher and moose populations to prevent further declines;
- enabling efforts to reintroduce the endangered Dakota Skipper butterfly and restore native freshwater mussels to our lakes and rivers;
- establishing baselines and tracking the trends of plant and animal biodiversity in the state;
- expanding our knowledge of the state’s pollinator populations and their preferred plants, evaluating impacts of chemicals on pollinators, and establishing popular pollinator planting programs such as Lawns to Legumes.
- establishing long-term lake ecosystem monitoring through creation of the DNR’s Sentinel Lakes program and inventorying the state’s groundwater resources through the County Geologic Atlas program;
- developing methods for detecting and monitoring our surface and drinking water for contaminates of emerging concern, including pharmaceuticals, pathogens, pesticides, and PFAS;
- improving techniques for removing microplastics, investigating alternatives to road salt, and increasing adoption and profitability of cover cropping practices.
- bringing Minnesotans along on outdoor adventures with Pioneer PBS’s Emmy Award-winning Prairie Sportsman TV program and learning about the state’s natural history through the acclaimed PBS documentary series, Minnesota: A History of the Land;
- introducing tens of thousands of students to their local waterways through Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile, providing quality environmental education for generations of Minnesotans by supporting service-learning projects with the Youth Eco Solutions program, and providing scholarships for underserved students to attend environmental learning centers across the state.
- facilitating ground-breaking research to prevent, detect, and mitigate invasive species infestations such as carp, emerald ash-borer, and palmer amaranth, and educating Minnesotans through the creation and continuing support of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center.
- shrinking the environmental footprint of agriculture by integrating solar arrays into cow pastures and swine farms, producing hydrogen fuel from wind-produced renewable ammonia, fabricating solar cells from agricultural by-products, and utilizing algae to recycle dairy farm wastewater and reduce nutrients in agricultural runoff;
- demonstrating community-scale storage for renewable energy, including micro-grids and battery systems.
- reintroducing bison, restoring prairie, and improving education efforts in Blue Mounds State Park, Spring Lake Park Reserve, and Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve;
- evaluating and improving restoration methods for Minnesota’s ecosystems, including prescribed fires for prairie management, conservation grazing to control invasive species, and silvopasture to restore threatened oak savanna habitat;
- helping to test and optimize sustainable agricultural practices like utilizing cover crops to reduce erosion, adopting alternative tillage practices, planting perennial crops such as Kernza, developing autonomous mower technology to reduce the use of herbicides, and providing farmer education and outreach.
- building and improving hundreds of miles of Minnesota’s regional trails, including the Superior Hiking Trail, Mesabi Trail, Rocori Trail, Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail, and Glacial Edge Trail;
- protecting thousands of acres of the state’s rarest habitats through state Scientific and Natural Areas, local natural areas, and adding to and enhancing the state’s one hundred parks, trails, and recreation areas.