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Recent declines in pheasant and other grassland bird populations reflect significant losses of prairie and grassland habitat.

Lost habitat 
In the past decade, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the most important private-lands conservation tool for preserving grassland habitat in Minnesota, has shrunk significantly. The federal program pays farmers to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and restore vegetation to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators. Since 2007, about 700,000 acres of CRP have expired in Minnesota and an additional 296,000 acres are
expected to expire by September 2019.

Declining pheasant population and harvest
Loss of habitat in the state’s farmland region has contributed to declines in Minnesota’s pheasant index and harvest. Although the 2018 pheasant index was similar to the previous 10-year average, it was less than half of what the index was from 2005-2007. The 2017 harvest was one of the lowest in state history.


Praire loss puts pollinators at risk

Native bee populations are down 23% in the U.S. from 2008 to 2013. Several native Minnesota bee and butterfly species have experienced declines in population and geographic range, with some once-common species now gone from the state.



Since 2002, the rate at which farmland, forest, wetlands, and wildlife habitat is converted to urban and suburban development has decreased.

Efficient use of land
As our population and economy grows, we need room for housing, businesses, recreation, shopping, transportation, government services, and more. In the process, we convert farm and forested land and other open areas to developed lands. By doing so, we lose irreplaceable natural resources and risk damaging ecosystems.

Development patterns across the state have been changing. The amount of land per new person and per new household has fallen, while the population continues to grow. Reuse and cleanup of existing contaminated sites, reuse of existing buildings, smaller residential lots, and more apartments and other multi-family dwellings have contributed to this more efficient land use, and reduced the rate we impact our natural areas and farmland.

The benefits of efficient land use include improved accessibility, less costly utilities, public services, and transportation, open space preservation, and less pollution and impervious surfaces (such as pavement).


About one-third of our waste is still sent to landfills. More of this waste could be recycled.

System changeRecycling is good for Minnesota’s economy. It supports more than 60,000 jobs in our state, paying almost $3.4 billion in wages, and adds $15.7 billion to our economy.
Individuals and organizations all play critical roles in meeting Minnesota’s 2030 recycling goals. We must shift our thinking from “How do I get rid of waste?” to “How can I avoid generating waste?” We must also effectively manage waste by prioritizing recycling, organics management, and waste-to-energy over landfilling. To achieve our goals, we’ll need to target large commercial waste generators, recover more residential organics and recyclables, process waste before disposal, increase reuse, and focus on recovering large categories of materials.

The problem
One barrier to achieving our recycling goals is the common assumption that everyone recycles and current recycling solves the problem. In addition, single-stream recycling causes contamination problems, which cost sorters more money and has led China to stop accepting our material. Minnesota has set aggressive goals to increase recycling and organics collection and aims to reduce land disposal as much as possible. We need to continue to employ creative solutions to address market problems.

Where does our waste go?


Read more about recycling:



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