Division of Ecological and Water Resources

Linking Habitat Restoration to Bioenergy and Local Economies

(also known as Woody Biomass Harvest for Habitat Restoration)

Barb Spears, Project Coordinator
1200 Warner Road
St. Paul, MN 55106


This project builds on the success of a one-time $500,000 legislative appropriation in 2007 that piloted the Linking Habit Restoration to Bioenergy project that connected two separate but linked aspects of environmental health: habitat restoration and bioenergy.


Linking Habitat Restoration to Bioenergy and Local Economies is an innovative project that helps to restore critical habitats and high quality native plant communities by removing ecologically inappropriate woody vegetation (exotic and/or native species) while stimulating local economies through strategic utilization of the biomass material for bioenergy or other products. This project is helping to facilitate habitat restoration efforts that might not have otherwise occurred while making the woody material generated as a by-product available to established and emerging woody biomass markets.


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Ecological and Water Resources received $600,000 from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and funded by the 2010 Legislature and amended by the 2012 Legislature (ML 2012, Chap. 272, Sec. 85 PDF icon.). Of the $600,000 appropriation, approximately $475,000 is available for projects through June 30, 2013:



Funds will be granted to any non-DNR public and private landowners through a competitive process for the cutting, moving and staging of ecologically inappropriate woody plant material for transport from the project site for the purpose of ecological restoration. Limited funding may be provided to bridge budget gaps for restoration activities immediately following biomass harvest based on demonstrated need. Compensation is on a reimbursement basis for stated deliverables under a Grant Agreement and approved work plan with the MN DNR.

DNR staff will identify viable markets for the woody biomass (such as bioenergy, mulch, pellets, animal bedding, firewood, and other products) and develop and manage a formal bid process to connect potential buyers and users to the material. Funds raised from the sale of woody biomass will be reinvested for further purposes of the project.

Project Site Selection Criteria:

Additional Information