Safeguarding the Clean Water Fund

Three people wearing waders stand in ankle-deep water.

The Clean Water, Land & Legacy fund is critical to protecting and restoring Minnesota's natural resources, including streams like these. (Photo by FMR)

In 2008, a strong majority of Minnesotans voted to adopt the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. One-third of the state sales tax revenue derived through this Legacy Amendment is invested in clean water projects via the Clean Water Fund.

Every two years, Minnesota's nonpartisan Clean Water Council works with experts from across the state to craft detailed recommendations to the Legislature on how to best invest Clean Water Fund dollars.

FMR analyzes the Clean Water Council's recommendations, and typically works with lawmakers to ensure that these recommendations are reflected in the Legislature's final appropriations.

What we support

In general, we support investments that are: 

  • Programs vs Pork: Funds should remain program-based (e.g. for our statewide strategic stream monitoring program) rather than picking specific "pet projects" (e.g. extra monitoring in a specific legislative district).  
  • Avoid substitution: Clean Water Fund dollars can't be used as a substitute for traditional funding sources. That includes funding for Soil & Water Conservation Districts — which have historically been funded with general fund dollars.  
  • Catalytic changes: Small investments can make big impacts over time. Investments in programs such as Forever Green can lead to landscape-level transformation — the kind of change we need to achieve our clean water goals. 

Advocating for the council's 2023 recommendations

The council finalized its 2023 recommendations in December 2022. FMR appreciates the council's work to pursue an inclusive and transparent process by soliciting additional public input throughout the Clean Water Fund recommendation process. FMR has reviewed the recommendations in detail and looks forward to working with lawmakers in both parties to ensure these recommendations are reflected in the Legislature's final appropriations. 

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