Minnesota DNR proposes $13.3 million in funding for drought recovery

A Minnesota farmer shows the impact the drought has had on his crops this year.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is proposing $13.3 million in funding to address 2021 drought impacts on water and trees, the DNR announced Wednesday.

According to a release from the DNR, the funding would support water conservation in communities, address high tree seedling mortality, and promote shade tree resiliency.

The DNR proposes $3 million in funding for municipal, tribal, and other community water suppliers to implement proactive water conservation measures related to the built infrastructure, including finding and repairing leaks in pipes, meters, hydrants, and treatment plants, and installing water-efficient equipment. The department said these strategies can help cities across the state to conserve millions of gallons of water a year. 

The proposal also includes $300,000 for an individual and small community well interference fund.

Minnesota drought: Your questions answered

According to the DNR, this year's drought also stressed well-established shade trees in communities and caused an extremely high mortality rate for tree seedlings planted in 2021. So, the DNR is proposing $5.5 million in funding to re-plant public and private forest lands where seedlings were irrevocably damaged by the drought and $4.5 million in community shade tree grants. 

Tree image drought

The drought has impacted a significant number of trees across Minnesota.

"This year’s drought was challenging on many natural resources fronts. While the DNR took necessary steps to mitigate the drought’s impacts, in accordance with the Statewide Drought Plan, more needs to be done," DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen explained in the release. "This proposal includes high-impact resiliency measures in order to conserve water and preserve our precious tree cover. This funding proposal will help protect the resources we all value and depend on for our quality of life in Minnesota."