Header Art - Land Acquisition and Planning

Targeting and Ranking Land Conservation –
How Land is Evaluated

DNR’s Objectives in creating the new Targeting Process were:

  • To be more strategic since conservation opportunities exceed available funding
  • To target land conservation based first on ecological priorities and
  • To create a more transparent process supported by science

DNR evaluates all potential land acquisitions by using the following three-step process.

First there is an Ecological Screen

  • DNR uses an ecological baseline to select “Targeted Ecological Areas”
  • Land is reviewed using the Original Green Infrastructure (1995 – 2000) which has now been updated to include
  • new resource assessments highlighting Rare Species Habitat, Aquatic Life Hotspots and Water Quality Protection.

The second screening step is the Programmatic Screen

Each year, after the budget for the Stateside of POS is determined the Department will review the select “Annual Focus Areas” using the following implementation criteria.

  • Geographic balance
  • Evaluation of different conservation strategies
    (other land protection programs, private stewardship programs)
  • Available funding
  • Evidence of willing sellers
  • Degree of existing protection (protected lands and protective zoning) and potential for success in areas threatened by development
  • Consultation with local governments, land trusts, and other partners
    (Priority Funding Areas and areas they are already working on protecting)

The third step is called the Parcel Screen

This process is used to assess the multiple benefits and management considerations to “Prioritize Parcels” within Annual Focus Areas based on:

  • Ecological Value, their Landscape score and Parcel score
  • Special Adjustments are made for multiple benefits
    • Recreational, historic, or cultural value
    • In-holding or adjacency
    • Habitat Maintenance or Restoration Value
    • Active management needed to prevent degradation of unique natural resources and
    • Opportunities for habitat and water quality restoration
  • Management and Operations responsibility identified
  • Consistency with local land use fragmentation due to development
  • Vulnerability to additional development
  • Level of threat and
  • Relevance of adjacent development

After thorough analysis DNR will review their rankings during onsite inspections to verify ecological benefits and cost factors.

DNR will still buy some lands outside of the updated Green Infrastructure for exceptional recreational, cultural, historical, educational, water access, resource-based economic and in-holding/management purposes in existing DNR managed land and parks.

Some POS funding will be assigned to special projects, for example, CREP easements on stream buffers, which leverage federal funds.

For more information please contact the regional administrators.