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Council advises $108M in Legacy spending for '14

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A state council is recommending the Legislature spend about $108 million in Legacy Amendment funds next year on habitat projects.

  The outdoors money will buy tracts of prairie land, forests and wetlands and restore habitat.

  One project will spend $4 million to identify ways to prevent the spread of invasive species in Minnesota's lakes and rivers.  

The Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations had pushed for a much larger project.  

Association Vice President Joe Shneider told Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council members their proposal doesn't demonstrate enough urgency.

  "We still think it's a bit of a question as to how fast we're going to be able to actually get money on the ground," Schneider said.

  But the council reduced the size and scope of that proposal. 

  Some council members say invasive species prevention is not an appropriate use of Legacy outdoors money. The constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008 says the outdoors portion should go to "preserve, restore and enhance" habitat.

  The Minnesota Legislature will decide whether to adopt the council's recommendations as is or make changes.