The 2030 Comprehensive Plan introduced a new program aimed at helping protect unique and sensitive natural features in Scott County. The program is based on mapped “conservation corridors” that maintain a network of natural areas throughout the county. The 2040 Comprehensive Plan continues to promote Natural Area Corridors.
An approach used by other communities in Minnesota, mapping and protecting conservation corridors can help preserve open space, provide passageways for the migration of wildlife and native plants, facilitate recreational activities, and improve the health of the natural environment.
Protecting Conservation Corridors
In the mid-2000s, County staff worked with representatives of the Scott WMO Watershed Planning Commission, County Parks Advisory Commission, County Planning Advisory Commission, Townships, and Scott Soil & Water Conservation District Board to identify desired landscapes, features, and land types valued for protection in conservation corridors. They then prepared a comprehensive inventory and refined it into the Natural Area Corridors Map (PDF), which has been incorporated into the 2030 and 2040 Comprehensive Plans.
The mapping of these corridors does not guarantee protection; rather it informs landowners of unique natural features on their property and provides focus for County conservation programs. The Natural Area Corridors program utilizes a two-pronged voluntary approach to achieve this countywide corridor system. The first approach would occur through private land development, where any parcel within a mapped Natural Area Corridor could be eligible for a density bonus if the natural area is permanently protected through a conservation easement. The second approach promotes land stewardship practices with landowners through cost-share programs (that sponsor improvements such as shore land restoration, wetland restoration, and filter strips) offered by the County, Scott WMO, and Scott SWCD.
For more information on the Natural Area Corridors Program, you may review the Creating a Natural Areas Legacy (PDF) brochure or contact the Scott County Community Development Division at 952-496-8475.