Dakota County takes a comprehensive, long-term approach to land conservation by working with willing landowners to protect farmland, natural areas, and shoreland outside of the regional park and greenway system.
The overall goal is to protect and manage productive agricultural land while improving water quality and wildlife habitat as well as to protect, connect and improve natural areas and shoreland to provide many benefits. Through the County’s land conservation efforts, more than 8,300 acres have been protected.
Dakota County has two land conservation programs. The Farmland and Natural Areas Program (FNAP) focuses on preserving and protecting productive farmland and natural areas. The ShoreHolders Program focuses on preserving, restoring and enhancing shoreland along Dakota County rivers, streams and lakes. These programs deliver health, recreation, education, and environmental benefits to County residents now and in the future.
Landowners are encouraged to submit applications to either the Farmland and Natural Areas or ShoreHolders programs to voluntarily protect their land through conservation easements or fee title purchase. Easements provide an opportunity for the landowner to receive payment, retain private ownership and use of the land, and have the ability to use and sell the land in the future — with the understanding that it will never be developed.
These programs are funded in part by the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.