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Small conservation projects get funding from outdoors amendment

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Thirty-five small conservation projects in Minnesota will get a boost from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, created when Minnesota voters approved a constitutional amendment last year.

Nearly $4 million of the $76-million fund is dedicated to something called the Conservation Partners Legacy program. 

DNR spokeswoman Colleen Coyne said it's designed to boost the capacity of small organizations to protect the environment.

"We did make a concerted effort to reach out to stakeholders that perhaps had not participated in a grant process before and help them with their applications and that sort of thing," she said.

More than $3 million will fund the 35 small projects around the state. Groups will plant conifers in northeastern Minnesota, remove invasive plants from native prairies, and restore wetlands, among other projects.

"Soil and Water Conservation Districts, county land departments, smaller sportsmens clubs are becoming more organized and focused around the Legacy funds that are now available, and we are starting to hear from those groups and making an effort to do more outreach to them as well," Coyne said.