Healthy Shorelines

Protect Shoreline With Incentives

In 2008, after years of study, Minnesota's best and brightest published the Minnesota Statewide Conservation and Preservation, MSCP, plan.

The fragmentation and development of riparian areas and forest habitats is a major threat to ecological health.

The MSCP finds that one of the most pressing ecological problems in Minnesota is the over-development of riparian areas and forest habitats.

Excessive property tax pressure drives the subdivision and sale of shore line property. Two-thirds of the waterfront property in Minnesota is privately held, yet these owners labor under instense property tax pressure.

Furthermore, the plan notes that so far regulation, zoning and enforcement have been unable to mitigate the destruction of sensitive areas. The rejection of the Draft Shoreline Rules by Governor Pawlenty is further evidence that regulation by itself is not enough to protect our water quality.

The plan suggests using incentives to promote the protection or restoration of our forests and water fronts.

Studies by MSRPO and the US Forest Service have found that more than 85% of seasonal owners do not want to sell or subdivide their land.

Yet they are. The reason is tax pressure - very few can afford to hold large areas of shoreline or forest habitat.

The problem is best summarized by a statement made by a Lake Vermilion assessor, "We used to mine iron ore, now we mine lake shore."

Minnesota must stop mining its forests and shore lines for revenue...


  • cannot buy all of the land needed to preserve our water quality and critical forest habitats.
  • cannot enforce the regulations currently on the books.
  • cannot update regulations.
  • land owners want to do the right thing by and large, but cannot afford to hold onto their land and shore line.

Plan to Create Incentives that are:

  • revenue neutral to local and state governments.
  • large enough to change behavior and turn shore line consumers into shore line conservationists.
  • fair to all other property classes, shifting tax burden only to those who are consuming shoreline.

For more information please read: Saving Minnesota's Recreational Lands.