Environment & Natural Resources
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County Sign Ordinances4 documents
- Balancing Free Speech & Sign Regulation Drafting an effective and legal sign ordinance is complicated. This AMC Fact Sheet gives an overview of the issues many counties face surrounding sign ordinances.
- Sign Ordinances and the First Amendment This League of Minnesota Cities fact sheet explains how to design a sign ordinance that meets the requirements of the First Amendment for protecting various forms of speech.
- Municipal Control of Signs This publication from the State of New York gives detailed information on developing legal sign ordinances.
- VIDEO: Reed v Town of Gilbert: The Supreme Court's New Rules for Temporary - and Other - Signs This video discusses what local governments need to do to ensure that their sign codes comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2015 decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert. That decision established that any sign regulation that "on its face" requires a consideration of a sign's content to determine how that sign will be regulated is "content-based" and subject to "strict scrutiny." Many, if not most, sign codes contain such distinctions in the regulation of temporary signs; for example, by treating "real estate" signs differently than "political" signs. After Reed, such distinctions will be upheld only if local government can prove they serve a "compelling governmental interest" and are "narrowly-tailored" to achieve that interest. This session will provide guidance on: (1) when and how to replace content-based sign regulations with effective content-neutral sign regulations and (2) which content-based regulations should be retained and how to defend them if challenged.
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)6 documents
- AIS 101: Introduction to Minnesota's Aquatic Invasive Species Join researchers from the University of Minnesota's Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center as they provide you with basic information on some of Minnesota's most notorious aquatic invasive species. What makes these plants, animals and pathogens able to spread so quickly and take over so completely? Do these species have any weaknesses that can be exploited to control them? What are the best available control measures currently available and are there better options on the horizon?
- Getting the Most from Your AIS Prevention Aid Combating the spread of aquatic invasive species will be MOST effective if counties approach the challenge through development and implementation of a comprehensive plan. How can Prevention Aid grants be best used? How can staffing be approached? Are there existing campaigns or programs? What are the best strategies, methods and tools? How can they be best delivered? Join us to learn about the best prevention measures that can be effectively developed, implemented and evaluated.
- Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention (AISP) Aid Overview This webinar covers the new Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention (AISP) Aid dollars that will soon go out to Minnesota counties to help with their AIS prevention programs.
- Minnesota Sea Grant's AIS Prevention Aid Resource Guide This resource guide provides strategies to help counties maximize the effectiveness of their AIS prevention aid. The guide includes suggestions for assessing county needs, implementing prevention programs, and communicating with the public and state agencies.
- FAQs: Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention (AISP) Aid This document includes frequently asked questions and answers about the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Aid dollars for county AIS programs.
- AIS Prevention Materials Available for Counties Counties can use this document to connect with organizations with free AIS prevention educational materials for distribution at events such as county fairs.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD)3 documents
- Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) and Minnesota Counties This webinar provides an overview of the relationship between Minnesota counties and soil & water conservation districts. Presented by LeAnn Buck, Executive Director of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
- Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor's Handbook This handbook's primary purpose is to inform newly elected Solid and Water Conservation District Supervisors about their role and responsibilities. However, it is also an excellent resource for learning about the history of SWCDs, the powers and duties of SWCDs, and SWCDs relationships with other resource agencies and associations.
- SWCD Operations 101 Presentation This PowerPoint presentation reviews the laws that apply to Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the district boards' powers. It addresses the duties and governance function of a SWCD and the role of SWCD supervisors. The final section of the presentation summarizes the relationship of SWCDs with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.
Paint Stewardship2 documents
- Paint Stewardship and Counties This white paper examines product stewardship and paint recycling efforts in California, Minnesota and Oregon.
- Minnesota Paint Stewardship Program This PowerPoint presentation describes the paint recycling program recently passed in Minnesota. The presentation includes necessary steps to implementing the program along with descriptions of programs in other states.
Temporary Family Health Care Dwellings1 document
- Temporary Family Health Care Dwellings - Information Packet During the 2016 legislative session, state lawmakers passed Chapter 111, establishing a new permitting process for temporary family health care dwellings. Learn how this law will impact your county and what options county leaders have for implementing the new law.
- Understanding Minnesota Drainage Law - 2002 Produced by the Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) in 2002, this guide outlines drainage law in Minnesota. BWSR is in the process of updating the guide, which will hopefully be available in late 2016.
Solar Energy5 documents
- Chisago County Solar Facility Guide Chisago County is building the 100 MW North Star Solar facility, which when completed, will be the largest solar farm in the Midwest. This guide is a collection of documents used by Chisago County in developing its solar farm, it includes: Chisago's zoning ordinance, an environmental assessment, an information packet on the solar project, the solar working group final report, and a wildlife corridor assessment.
- Solar Toolkit This website is a one-stop shop for information about solar projects in Minnesota. The website explains the basics of solar and provides additional resources on the benefits, technologies, applications, and standards of solar energy. In addition, the webpage includes information specific to Minnesota solar projects.
- FAQs About Solar Gardens This fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about solar gardens including: what are they, how do they work, and who can participate.
- Local Government Community Solar Toolkit This website provides guidance for local governments interested in exploring community solar projects. The website includes information on a local government's options for solar, the role of developers, and steps to constructing a project, including RFP examples
- Grow Solar: Local Government Solar Toolkit This comprehensive toolkit helps local governments with the solar planning, zoning, and permitting processes. The toolkit includes a summary of Minnesota state solar laws as well as considerations for local policies. It also includes a model ordinance and permit template.
- AMC's Water Quality Buffer Initiative Model Resolutions This document has two model resolutions that counties may use to affirm or waive jurisdiction to enforce the water quality buffer initiative. The buffer law requires a county to affirm its jurisdiction, otherwise the law will be enforced by the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources. The first model resolution affirms the county's jurisdiction to enforce the buffer law and the second resolution waives a county's jurisdiction, thus giving enforcement responsibilities to the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources.
- Buffer Law: Frequently Asked Questions This FAQ document answers questions about the Minnesota buffer law, it includes questions and answers on: the establishment and maintenance of buffers, use of alternate practices, funding for buffer implementation, other buffer law provisions, and compliance and enforcement.
- Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources: Buffer Program This webpage is a comprehensive resource for understanding and implementing the buffer program. The webpage includes publications, toolkits, and videos on the 2016 buffer law changes, buffer program updates, implementation guidance, and compliance and tracking. It includes resources for local governments as well as landowners.
- Department of Natural Resources: Buffer Mapping Project Under the new buffer law, the Department of Natural Resources is responsible for producing and maintaining "a map of public waters and public ditch systems that require permanent vegetation buffers" that landowners, BWSR, and local governments can use to implement the law. This webpage includes the buffer map and frequently asked questions about buffers.
- Minnesota Buffer Law - County Role and Responsibilities This one pager summarizes Minnesota's water quality buffer initiative. It includes questions for County Boards as they weigh whether to assume jurisdiction over the enforcement of the law. The document also links to additional resources for landowners and county officials.
- Buffer Aid Distribution Chart (June 2017) This chart contains a preliminary estimate of buffer aid distribution by county.
Wind Power3 documents
- Wind Model Ordinance - 2017 This comprehensive toolkit details what local governments need to know about wind energy production in their communities. The toolkit outlines issues counties should consider before drafting a wind ordinance. It also includes a Minnesota-specific model ordinance developed from other model ordinances, regulatory findings, state law, and local examples.
- Wind Energy Production Tax Revenue by County This Excel document includes the Wind Energy Production Tax revenue data for each county from 2004 to 2017. The first spreadsheet contains the annual revenue collected by each county for the wind energy production tax. The second spreadsheet shows the annual kilowatt hours of wind energy production for each county.
- Study of Energy Producing Systems This report outlines the Minnesota taxation policies for electric energy producing systems. The report includes a section on the Wind Energy Production Tax (WEPT). The section details the WEPT's current tax rates, revenue distribution to local governments, and exclusions/exemptions to the tax.
Lot Splits2 documents
- Sample Routing Form/Checklist for Parcel Splits This Excel sheet contains sheets with checklists for parcel splits with or without a deed.
- Sample Resolutions for County Parcel Transfer and Division Authority This document includes two sample resolutions authorizing a county to review land transfers or divisions before they are recorded. A county may use the sample language as a guide when drafting its policy. However, if a county uses language from these samples, its final resolution should be evaluated by its planning and zoning personnel and county attorney before adoption.
Roadside Ditch Mowing8 documents
- AMC Roadside Ditch Mowing One-Pager This one-page document provides a brief synopsis of roadside ditch mowing, a summary of results from a survey sent to county engineers on current ditch mowing policies and practices, and some quotes from county engineers on ditch mowing policies and practices in general.
- AMC Roadside Ditch Mowing Handbook The purpose of this handbook is to provide county commissioners and engineers a resource for optimal ditch mowing practices and policies. The handbook provides results from a survey sent to county engineers regarding their thoughts on ditch mowing policies and practices. It also contains an annotated best policy, as well as three best management practices for commissioners and engineers to follow based on the survey data.
- Pollinators and Roadsides: Best Management Practices for Managers and Decision Makers Members from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration created a report of best management practices for managers and decision makers to use specifically for pollinators. The report consists of various implementation methods for transportation agencies, landowners, and other roadside entities that benefit pollinators such as bumblebees and butterflies.
- Best Practices Handbook for Roadside Vegetation Management The Minnesota Local Road Research Board funded this handbook for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to properly maintain roadsides. This handbook includes eight best management practices for roadside vegetation in Minnesota, as well as several examples of each best management practice. These examples range from local and county-level government within Minnesota to state-level government across the country.
- Mowing and Haying in the State Trunk Highway Right of Way - Stakeholder Feedback This compilation of stakeholder feedback for mowing and haying in the right-of-way was directed toward the Commissioner of Transportation in Minnesota. The feedback provides recommendations for obtaining permits and improving the permit process for mowing and haying. Other feedback includes recognizing environmental concerns that stem from mowing and haying in the right-of-way, improving the safety of permittees, and the frequency and priority of permits themselves.
- Mowing and Haying Permit FAQs The Minnesota Department of Transportation provided a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page after its announcement of a new permit for mowing and haying in the right-of-way.
- Roadside Vegetation Establishment and Management The Nebraska Department of Transportation provided its residents with a publication of its integrated roadside vegetation management (IRVM) plan. This is a good example of an IRVM, and it includes multiple best management practices such as planting native seed mixtures, chemically controlling noxious weeds, and a section on harvesting hay from the right-of-way.
- Washington County’s Roadside Mowing Policy Washington County’s roadside mowing policy is one that provides detail and relevant connections to Minnesota State Statute. This copy of the policy’s text illustrates its thoroughness and attention to detail that other counties should imitate when pursuing a roadside mowing policy.