Conservation agenda

Goal 4: Operational Excellence

The DNR demonstrates operational excellence and continuous improvement in service to citizens.

The Trends

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Citizen demand for information and service is growing

Citizen demand is growing, with increased expectations for high-tech information delivery and government accessibility and accountability.

Costs of doing business are increasing

Costs of doing business are increasing as the call to reduce our carbon footprint grows and facilities age. While prices have moderated recently, energy prices are volatile and difficult to predict. In 1998, a DNR review estimated it needed to spend 2.8 percent of the current replacement value of its properties each year to catch up with capital maintenance. In 2013, this is equivalent to $13.7 million.

Funding capacity and flexibility are decreasing

Funding capacity and flexibility are declining as dollars become increasingly earmarked and funding for state parks and natural resources enforcement drops. Since 2008, state parks have lost funding for 36,000 staff hours. Similarly, the Enforcement Division has lost 57,224 patrol hours due to 23 vacant field stations in 2014. Although the DNR's overall budget has increased since fiscal year 2010, general fund (direct) expenditures dropped from approximately $89 million in fiscal year 2004 to $60 million in fiscal year 2014, limiting our ability to meet maintenance and basic operational needs.

Demands on staff time and resources are growing

Demands on staff time and resources are growing as the need for fire fighting, invasive species control, flood response and environmental review increase.

Click on photos above to learn more about each trend.

  1. Citizen demand for information and service is growing.
  2. Costs of doing business are increasing.
  3. Funding capacity and flexibility are decreasing.
  4. Demands on staff time and resources are growing.

The Challenge

High-quality resource management depends on high-quality employees and operational systems to support them. Technology developments, increasingly complex conservation challenges, tight budgets and growing public expectations -- including expectations for sustainable energy infrastructure -- are creating a demand for new approaches to internal operations and partnerships.


This page offers a quick overview of our plans to meet this goal. For more details, click below to learn more.

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To meet our goal of demonstrating operational excellence and continuous improvement, we will:


The following actions are examples of how we will carry out these strategies.

Put safety first

We will work to eliminate work-related accidents, help local governments when disaster strikes, and improve safety and accessibility of DNR facilities around the state.

Provide better service

We will continuously improve our work, use plain language, and modernize our digital presence to improve accessibility to information and services.

Upgrade Minnesota's public land portfolio

We will buy and exchange lands to increase the conservation value of our holdings and better coordinate management with public and private partners.

Grow a diverse, highly skilled and responsive workforce

We will expand partnerships with organizations that foster natural resource careers and invest in training to build and support a more diverse workforce.

Increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use

We will use more efficient vehicles, reduce employee miles driven, boost building energy efficiency and use more renewable energy.