A Conservation Corps Minnesota crew will continue helping Anoka County with natural resources restoration and park maintenance projects this year.
On Jan. 30, the Anoka County board approved an agreement to renew the annual partnership, which has been in place since 2012. The Conservation Corps will work with the county parks department March through December.
The $150,000 cost does not come from county funds, but from state parks and trails legacy dollars under a Metropolitan Council regional parks legacy fund grant agreement approved by the board in September, 2017.
The Conservation Corps provides a five-person crew plus supervisor and equipment.
“It has proven extremely successful in accomplishing a high volume of natural resources-related projects,” said Jeff Perry, county park planning and resources manager.
Projects undertaken by the Conservation Corps crew include controlled prairie burns, reforestation and removing invasive species, he said.
“We would not be able to do these projects without them,” Perry said. “They help restore the ecological integrity of the park system.”
According to Perry, the Conservation Corps Minnesota program provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities for young adults from diverse backgrounds, helping them become more connected to the environment, engaged in conservation, involved in the community and prepared for future employment in parks and conservation.
County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, who chairs the board’s Parks and Community Services Committee, said the Conservation Corps partnership has worked well for the county for several years.
The parks and trails legacy grant program was created after Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the state Constitution in 2008 that imposed a 3/8 of 1 percent sales tax for 25 years.