Endangered Species Permits

Law and rules

The law and rules prohibit taking, purchasing, importing, possessing, transporting, or selling endangered or threatened plant or animal, including their parts or seeds, without a permit.

The law and rules specify conditions under which the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources may issue permits to allow taking and possession of endangered or threatened species.


Permits may be issued for taking only under certain conditions:

Permitting decisions must be consistent with the intent of the law, which is to retain or restore healthy populations of native plants and animals. The responsibility for making permitting decisions has been delegated by the Commissioner to the Division of Ecological Resources.

Permit issuance is discretionary and based on DNR's assessment of all relevant information.

Some species listed under Minnesota law are also listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act. If species that are federally listed as endangered or threatened are to be taken, the USFWS should be contacted at 612-725-3276, ext. 250 or see the USFWS website.

Permit application

For species to be taken from the wild in Minnesota, the applicant must document the following.

Permit requests must be submitted in writing to:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Attn. Endangered Species Permits
500 Lafayette Rd., Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155

Scientific studies

When taking is proposed in connection with a scientific study, the request must be accompanied by a research proposal that outlines the following.

If the research is judged to provide important information about the species that will foster its conservation, the researcher is qualified to do the work, and the proposed taking will not have a significant negative effect on the species population in the state, a permit may be issued. Permits will specify that final disposition of specimens acquired for the purposes of scientific study is to the University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History. Alternative repositories may be considered if compelling justification is provided.

Permits to possess

For permits to possess living or dead specimens for scientific or educational purposes, the request must indicate the following.


Requests for permits for propagation must be accompanied by a project proposal that outlines the following.

The proposal should also describe in detail the following.

If offspring are to be released into the wild, the proposal must include the following.

Permits for propagation for conservation purposes will be considered only when the proposal provides convincing justification that propagation is required for the recovery of the species, the protocol is judged to be appropriate, and the permittee is qualified to do the work.

Development projects

When taking is proposed in connection with a development project, the request can be in the form of a letter that outlines the following.

Before a permit can be issued, the project proposer is asked to explore project alternatives, including other locations or designs, which would avoid or minimize taking.


If it is determined that there are no feasible alternatives to taking in connection with a development project, the applicant must propose compensatory mitigation to reduce the impact of the taking to an acceptable level. The magnitude of the compensation required is related to the degree of impact on the species, (for example, will the whole population at a site be destroyed, or just a few individuals), and also to the statewide significance of the population on the site. Examples of types of compensatory mitigation that have been done for taking endangered or threatened species in Minnesota include:

Transplantation generally has not been considered by MNDNR to be acceptable mitigation for taking of endangered or threatened species for several reasons.

For further information contact: Richard Baker at 651-259-5073, or richard.baker@state.mn.us