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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council

Also known as:
Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council
Active dates:2008-

The council shall make recommendations to the legislature on appropriations of money from the outdoor heritage fund that are consistent with the Constitution and state law and that take into consideration the outcomes of, including, but not limited to, the Minnesota Conservation and Preservation Plan, that directly relate to the restoration, protection, and enhancement of wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife, and that prevent forest fragmentation, encourage forest consolidation, and expand restored native prairie. The council shall submit its initial recommendations to the legislature no later than April 1, 2009. Subsequent recommendations shall be submitted no later than January 15 each year. The council shall present its recommendations to the senate and house of representatives committees with jurisdiction over the environment and natural resources budget by February 15 in odd-numbered years, and within the first four weeks of the legislative session in even-numbered years. The council's budget recommendations to the legislature shall be separate from the Department of Natural Resource's budget recommendations.

To encourage and support local conservation efforts, the council shall establish a conservation partners program. Local, regional, state, or national organizations may apply for matching grants for restoration, protection, and enhancement of wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife, prevention of forest fragmentation, encouragement of forest consolidation, and expansion of restored native prairie.

The council may work with the Clean Water Council to identify projects that are consistent with both the purpose of the outdoor heritage fund and the purpose of the clean water fund.

The council may make recommendations to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources on scientific research that will assist in restoring, protecting, and enhancing wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife, preventing forest fragmentation, encouraging forest consolidation, and expanding restored native prairie.


In 2008, Minnesota's voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment (Legacy Amendment) to the Minnesota Constitution to: protect drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve arts and cultural heritage; to support parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater.

The Legacy Amendment increases the state sales tax by three-eighths of one percent beginning on July 1, 2009 and continuing until 2034. The additional sales tax revenue is distributed into four funds as follows: 33 percent to the clean water fund; 33 percent to the outdoor heritage fund; 19.75 percent to the arts and cultural heritage fund; and 14.25 percent to the parks and trails fund.

The LSOHC makes recommendations to the legislature about how to spend outdoor heritage funds. The original name of the Council, the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council, was changed by the 2009 legislature. The council was named for former Senator Bob Lessard in honor of the lawmaker's 10-year effort to put the tax proposal on the ballot. Lessard, long a champion of hunting and fishing causes in the state, sought the council's establishment in order to prevent lawmakers from "redirecting the money at their political whims." In 2009 the name was changed to include former Senator Dallas Sams and related naming legislation was passed (see 2009 Minn. Laws Chap. 101 Art. 2 Sec. 17. and 2009 Laws of Minnesota, Chapter 172, Article 1, Section 8., Revisor's Instruction regarding the name change.)


The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council of 12 members was created in the legislative branch in 2008, consisting of:
(1) two public members appointed by the senate Subcommittee on Committees of the Committee on Rules and Administration;
(2) two public members appointed by the speaker of the house;
(3) four public members appointed by the governor;
(4) two members of the senate appointed by the senate Subcommittee on Committees of the Committee on Rules and Administration; and
(5) two members of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of the house.

Entries for this agency in the Annual Compilation and Statistical Report of Multi-Member Agencies Report: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

Note: This report provides membership details as well as meeting information and a summary of the group's activities.

State to see shakeup of outdoor councils as members come, go. Outdoor News, 1/26/2022.
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 2008-2022.
Record last updated: 02/28/2019

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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