Natural Areas

The Minnesota County Biological Survey, conducted by the DNR, has identified areas of remaining natural land cover in Stearns County. The map below shows the location
of these areas and the general plant types within the natural areas. The remaining natural areas are often located in areas of wet soils, slopes, or other areas that are somewhat unsuitable for agriculture or development. DNR maps can be obtained that indicate the biological significance of the plant communities from a statewide perspective. The natural areas depicted in the map play an important role in the County’s green infrastructure.

Natural Area Resources: Many of the County’s environmental regulations and programs are administered through the Stearns County’s Environmental Services Department. For example, the Land Use Division oversees the Comprehensive Plan, zoning, shoreland management, floodplain management, and land subdivision. The Agricultural and Water Resources Division is involved with all aspects of feedlot/animal production facilities, wetland management, and comprehensive water planning.

Other statewide resources to assist with natural area resources management and protection include:

  • MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is a state agency that works to protect and manage land, water, fish, and wildlife, and provide access to outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • Watershed Districts are local, special-purpose units of government that work to solve and prevent water-related problems. Watershed district boundaries follow natural watersheds and are not based on political boundaries. The MN Association of Watershed Districts includes a map of
    all watershed districts in the state. Stearns County includes portions of four watershed districts: the Sauk River, the North Fork Crow River, the Clearwater River, and the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed Districts.

Native Plant Community

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