Dakota County is a place where southern prairie, northern hardwood forests, lakes, bluffs and wetlands meet in a uniquely ecologically diverse area of the Twin Cities. Bordered by the Mississippi, Minnesota and Cannon rivers, Dakota County is also traversed by the Vermillion River, a world-class trout stream.
Most of Dakota County’s land has been converted to residential development and farming, but there are still high-quality natural areas that, although protected, need to be actively managed.
To protect these valuable natural resources and areas, Dakota County is developing a Natural Resource Management System Plan that will guide natural resources management of its parks, conservation easements and greenways.
The plan will include a long-term vision (for the next 20 years) as well as outline more specific implementation steps over the next 5 years.
Public comment period open
Through April 20, residents have the opportunity to review and make comments about the Natural Resources Management Plan Draft Report. Submit comments to Joe Walton at email@example.com or Al Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open house – Thursday, April 13, 6–8 p.m.
Lebanon Hills Visitor Center
Discuss the draft plan directly with staff and consultants, ask questions or voice any concerns you have about the plan or the process.
Upcoming public meetings
Thursday, April 27 - Planning Commission considers recommending the plan
Tuesday, May 9 - Physical Development Committee considers adoption of the plan
Tuesday, May 23 - Board of Commissioners considers adoption
Planning process and schedule
The Natural Resources Management System Planning process is scheduled to be completed by May 2017. It is divided into three separate phases with the public being able to comment on each phase.
This phase determined the types and conditions of natural resources (vegetation, wildlife, and water) throughout the system and what is needed to improve the health and condition of County-owned lands and waters, which includes parks, greenways and privately-owned land on which the County holds a conservation easement. We also compared Dakota County’s Natural Resource Program to other similar entities. In addition, residents gave their input and shared their opinion on what they value about natural resources, what is their perception of the condition of these resources, and how they view natural resource management.
A presentation was given to both to the Physical Development Committee and to the Planning Commission in April, outlining the findings of the research phase.
Planning Commission Presentation
Open House Audience Participation Questions & Answers from Public Meetings
Public Comment Summary from Public Meetings
Technical Advisory Committee Meeting Summary
Vision and Concepts (April 2016–November 2016) (completed)
In this phase, the County shaped and developed the vision for natural resource management and the principles to guide an overall approach and priorities. The public, Planning Commission and County Board weighed options, and the County Board directed the planning team to draft the system plan accordingly. Guiding Principles and Vision
Nov. 29, 2016 Public Meeting
On Tuesday, Nov. 29, the County Board reviewed and discussed concept options for the Visitors Services Strategic Operations Plan (VSSOP) and the Natural Resource Management System Plan (NRMSP). The concepts, which were previously included in a public open house and a presentation to the County Planning Commission during the week of Nov. 14, included five-year cost estimates.
Nov. 29 Workshop Presentation
Development of Preferred Plan Option (November 2016-first quarter 2017)
The Natural Resources Management System Plan for the county is being drafted during this phase. It includes priorities for the system, policies for how the County will manage natural resources, and templates for resource management plans for individual parks and easements. The draft plan is currently available for public review and comment.
Technical Advisory Committee
An advisory committee made up of stakeholders from throughout the county met three separate times, during each of the last three phases of the project. A list of committee members is available.