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Public lands look like one of 2018’s top topics

By MWA, 01/15/18, 9:45AM CST

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During last year’s legislative session, there were a number of efforts to target the acquisition of public lands in Minnesota. While none of those efforts proved successful, it seems likely some lawmakers will go after public lands again when this year’s session kicks off Feb. 20. And that’s one of the reasons that public lands were the main topic at the recent DNR Roundtable, which was held in Bloomington.

The keynote speaker was Land Tawney, the president and chief executive officer of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a national conservation group that focuses on protecting public lands. (The group also has an active chapter in Minnesota.) Tawney laid out a variety of facts regarding public lands, including how they belong to each one of us. And he made mention of what’s been going on with public lands in Minnesota, at one point directing his comments to the state lawmakers who were among the several hundred people in attendance: “Fight these proposals if they aren’t yours. And if they are yours, drop them.”

There was nothing at the Roundtable that focused entirely on waterfowl, but the DNR did present an update of its progress in achieving the goals of the Pheasant Summit Action Plan. You can read the update from 2017 here, but it’s clear that a strong conservation title in the upcoming Federal Farm Bill – and a strong CRP program, in particular – looms large. For more information about that, click here. MWA, along with other conservation groups and the DNR, seeks to increase the national enrollment of CRP to 40 million acres.

As the upcoming months unfold, we’ll keep you posted about what the state Legislature has in mind when it comes to public lands. We’ll also be monitoring Congressional action regarding the Farm Bill and will share what we learn.

(Photo courtesy of Minnesota DNR)