The County has depended on a number of governmental entities, non-profit organizations and other partners to accomplish its land conservation goals.
Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District
The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has been a key partner since the beginning. The SWCD provides technical assistance, including delineating wetland areas, and project planning and design services.
The SWCD conducts extensive landowner outreach and assistance; establishes required shoreland buffers; develops Stewardship Plans, Property Reports, and Natural Resource Management Plans; and completes annual monitoring for many of the County's easements.
Friends of the Mississippi River
Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) is a non-profit organization that engages people to protect, restore and enhance the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region. FMR staff contracts to provide landowner education and outreach, which led to many successful land protection projects; project coordination; and Natural Resource Management Plan development and implementation.
FMR partnered with the County in developing the Farmland and Natural Area Protection Plan and helped organize the citizen education campaign to support the bond referendum in 2002.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) works with residents to conserve and manage the state's natural resources and provides outdoor recreation opportunities. The County has partnered with the DNR on several natural area protection projects that resulted in new Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), Aquatic Management Areas (AMAs), and Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs). The County partnered with the DNR on several natural area protection projects that resulted in 1,462 acres of protected, publicly accessible land.
Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national non-profit organization that creates parks and works to protect farms, ranches, and forests; lands of historic and cultural importance; and rivers, streams, coasts, and watersheds.
TPL was an original partner in the Farmland and Natural Area Protection Plan and helped organize the citizen education campaign to support the bond referendum in 2002. TPL was an essential partner in helping protect the former Miles property along the Vermillion River, the Caponi Art Park in Eagan, and the Pilot Knob historic area in Mendota Heights.
Cities of Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights and Rosemount
Several cities have been County partners in protecting 64 acres of publically accessible land, in which the cities or DNR acquired fee ownership. Assistance varied from project coordination, and support and approvals, to partial funding, and assuming ownership and management responsibilities.
Examples include: Caponi Art Park in Eagan; an addition to the Gores Pool #3 WMA in Hastings; Pine Bend Bluffs SNA in Inver Grove Heights; a portion of East Lake Community Park; the newly established Orchard Lake Conservation Area in Lakeville; the National Historic Registry Oheywahe/Pilot Knob site in Mendota Heights; and the former Wiklund and RIOU Bank properties in Rosemount.
Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization
The Vermillion River Watershed is the largest watershed in the seven-county metro area. The Vermillion River is one of the most prominent natural features in the Dakota County. Several agricultural easements, natural area easements, and fee title acquisition projects were completed along the river and its tributaries.
The Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization has provided technical and financial assistance for many projects.
Natural Resources Conservation Service
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps people help the land. For more than 80 years, the NRCS has worked in close partnership with farmers and ranchers, local and state governments, and other federal agencies to maintain healthy and productive working lands.
The NRCS is a key partner with the County in administrating the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and the Agricultural Easement Program, responsible for protecting 7,770 acres in the County. NRCS staff has an ongoing role in monitoring agricultural conservation easements.
Other partners include the Dakota County Habitat Alliance (Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited and Turkey Federation), the Eagan Core Greenway, and the Hastings Environmental Protectors. Each has had a role in helping protect and restore land in the County.