Dakota County takes a comprehensive, long-term approach to land conservation by working with willing landowners and partners to protect and restore important land throughout the County.
The overall goal is to protect, connect and improve natural areas as well as protect and manage productive agricultural land while improving water quality and wildlife habitat.
Since 2003, the County has completed 121 projects totaling more than 11,000 acres and including 95 miles of shoreland. See the Land Conservation Summary Map.
Landowners interested in protecting and restoring their land are encouraged to contact the County's Land Conservation Program staff to discuss options and opportunities. Land protection is generally accomplished when landowners voluntarily sell a permanent conservation easement to the County.
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.
The County works with other public entities, such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and cities, to acquire land outside the County park and regional greenway system. In addition, the County may acquire land for current or planned public recreational uses. Protected land is then eligible for a combination of state grant and County grant-match funding to restore and enhance natural resources.