a person holding a cluster of pine needles between their two fingers.
White pine White pine and white cedar are increasingly favored in Minnesota for their climate resiliency. © Uche Iroegbu
Stories in Minnesota

Advocate: Use Your Outside Voice!

Learn about conservation policy in Minnesota, plus how you can get involved by speaking up for nature.

Get started by exploring the guide below!

Our Charge

In Minnesota, where we've been able to enjoy gifts like abundant freshwater, rich biodiversity and productive working lands, we also have a tremendous responsibility. Minnesotans have a responsibility to respect and care for the nature that sustains us so that it may sustain future generations as well. That’s why we’re using our outside voices to speak up for nature with the Minnesota State Legislature—and we invite you to join us!

How We Use Policy to Advance Conservation

The Nature Conservancy advances policy solutions that work for people and nature in Minnesota. As with our conservation work, our policy recommendations are directly informed by the best science available. 

a person's hand holding a cell phone with The Nature Conservancy logo and a "take action" button on the screen.
© Shravan K. Acharya/Pexels

Join us in speaking up!

Sign up and receive alerts from our policy team! We'll keep you updated on how nature's doing at the Capitol, and let you know when you can help out by using your voice. 

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Science drives not only how we plan and implement conservation. It informs our policy positions and our recommendations for how to target conservation funding. We work collaboratively with people from all walks of life, with businesses and industries and with governments from the local, state and national levels to advance conservation through policy.

We work across borders, aisles and sectors to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Our nonpartisan approach, commitment to science and collaboration with local partners and colleagues around the state will help us realize our vision of a world where nature and people thrive together. But we can’t achieve that future alone, we need your help!

Get to know our policy priorities in Minnesota, learn how you can use your voice to make a difference and start speaking up for nature.

On the 2023 Agenda

  • SCA_Icon_LandWater

    Protect Healthy Lands & Waters

    We’re facing dual threats from the climate crisis and extreme loss of biodiversity, and we don’t stand a chance without clean water and healthy land.

  • SCA_Icon_Climate

    Tackle Climate Change

    Climate change isn’t a distant threat—it is happening now. The past decade has been hotter than any other time in recorded history.

  • SCA_Icon_FoodWater

    Advance Soil Health

    Food demand is expected to increase by more than 50% in the next 30 years. We can meet the challenge by working with farmers to improve soil health and farm productivity.

Protect Healthy Lands & Waters

The Nature Conservancy is helping to protect dedicated state investments in natural resources and we're working to increase state investments in natural resources through other funding sources.

TNC has long been in the business of protecting important natural areas, and this work has never been more vital. As Minnesota's climate changes, these places will become even more critical as wildlife come to increasingly rely on these natural highways and neighborhoods as they move away from climate threats. These places are also critically important because of the immense amounts of carbon that they can capture and store through natural regeneration.

Learn About Protection

Tackle Climate Change

Nature is our first line of defense against many climate impacts. That’s why we are working to create systems that store more carbon through natural processes and improve people’s lives in the process. We’re working to incentivize public and private landowners to use practices that store more carbon, like planting trees, improving soil health on agricultural lands, and protecting and restoring our grasslands, wetlands and peatlands.

We are also encouraging the state to enable greater resiliency through nature-based adaptation. These are practices that will prepare natural landscapes for climate change, as well as buffer communities from the worst floods, droughts and other climate impacts.

More on Climate Change in MN

  • How is climate change affecting Minnesota?

    Climate change is already having an enormous impact on our waters, lands, wildlife and people. It's showing up in the form of droughts and dying trees, extreme weather and flooding events, and the compounded effects of both in far too many Minnesota waterways. Read more about climate change in Minnesota.

  • What are natural climate solutions?

    Natural climate solutions are conservation, restoration and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage, avoid greenhouse gas emissions and help nature and people adapt to climate change. Combined with clean energy and other decarbonization efforts, natural climate solutions offer some of our best options to respond to climate change.

  • What is nature's role in tackling climate change?

    Nature can provide up to a third of the solution to global climate change. It's inexpensive, scalable and available to us now. But perhaps most importantly, it's an essential part of our climate response. We will not be able to meet global climate targets without nature, which is why we need to start investing in nature-based solutions now. Learn more about nature-based solutions by watching this video.

  • What are Minnesota's top natural climate solutions?

    Reforestation, restoring wetlands and planting cover crops are just a few of the ways Minnesotans can help draw down carbon emissions through nature. Our farms, forests, grasslands and other landscapes can help mitigate at much at 26 million metric tons of CO2e. In addition to natural climate solutions, nature-based adaptation strategies like building rain gardens and planting trees where people live can also improve the resilience and quality of life for communities living near climate threats. Read more via this report.

  • Why focus on nature as a climate solution?

    In order to effectively tackle climate change in Minnesota, we need an all-of-the-above strategy. Eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels and moving toward renewable energy sources is an essential step. It’s also not enough on its own. We need to draw down existing carbon in the atmosphere to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and nature can help us get there. Through photosynthesis, actions as simple as planting more trees can help us reduce carbon in the atmosphere and start taking climate action now.

Advance Soil Health Practices

Farming is a proud Minnesota tradition, and it’s important that we protect our farmland and retain our leadership within the industry. When we make investments in our ag economy, it is critical that we maximize benefits to society like protecting our air, water and soil, as well as our communities and the health of the people who live here

We work with state government agencies to develop innovative projects that will improve impaired waters and prevent further degradation, as well as make sure farmers have the resources they need to implement solutions.

Increased soil health improves productivity, water quality, biodiversity, carbon storage and public health outcomes, but many farmers experience financial and technical barriers to implementing these practices. We need lawmakers' help to drive incentives that will improve soil health on agricultural lands and support Minnesota farmers who are doing right by nature.

Dig Into Regenerative Ag

  • What is the current footprint of the agriculture industry?

    About half of Minnesota's lands are currently in agricultural production, and most of them don't employ practices that regenerate the health of the soil. That means an outsized risk of erosion and runoff to Minnesota's waters, as well as greenhouse gas emissions due to carbon released from our soils. But this also presents an opportunity to leverage agricultural landscapes to work better with nature's systems. Learn more about regenerative agriculture in Minnesota.

  • What are soil health practices?

    Practices that sequester carbon, increase organic matter and ultimately improve the biological, physical and chemical function of the soil are generally referred to as soil health practices. These include cover crops, reduced tillage, diversified crop rotation, improved nutrient management and edge-of-field strategies that help farms more efficiently hold water and carbon dioxide.

  • How can we better support farmers and rural communities?

    Agencies like the Board of Water and Soil Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service and local soil and water conservation districts (or SWCDs) all support farmers and ranchers who want to make their operations more sustainable. The emergence of carbon markets and other ecosystem service markets can also help farmers by compensating them for their investments in nature. But in order for these strategies to be scalable, we must ensure they receive adequate and stable funding.

  • How does agriculture intersect with climate change?

    Food production has altered our planet more than any other human activity. It accounts for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of all freshwater usage. And it is perhaps the single greatest cause of biodiversity loss. But it also provides livelihoods for more than a third of the world’s population. A regenerative food system takes us beyond mere sustainability toward positive growth that benefits our planet and the billions of farmers, fishers, ranchers and others who work to provide our food—without sacrificing the health and dignity of rural people and communities of color. Learn more about regenerative agriculture by watching this video.

With great privilege comes great responsibility. In order to preserve our lands, waters and our ways of life in Minnesota, we must be willing to speak up for nature. And we want to make it easy for you to speak up! Sign up for alerts below so you never miss a thing.