DNR says it must cut staff by 108 positions
The Minnesota Department
of Natural Resources is cutting 108 staff positions
to solve a $13.1 million budget problem this year, Deputy
Commissioner Steve Morse said Thursday.
"It's gut-wrenching,'' he
said. "It really is for this agency.''
In addition to the staff
cuts, the agency plans to reduce camping opportunities
in some state parks after Labor Day, reduce timber sales
and drop next year's academy for new conservation officers.
The DNR was hit with a $5.5
million budget cut during the 2002 legislative session
and was told in late June to trim another $7.7 million
as part of a $58 million general fund cutback for various
The reduction, almost 5
percent of the agency's staff, includes 69 existing
vacancies. Layoff notices for 39 positions will go out
Aug. 12. It's still unclear how many people will accept
early-retirement incentives, according to Morse.
The trims, which could be
followed by another round of cuts during the next budget
cycle, may not be visible immediately to Minnesotans,
but they'll have a long-term impact on the state's natural
resources, Morse said.
has done a good job looking long-term,'' Morse said.
"I'm concerned that is unraveling.''
The DNR forestry division
will take the biggest hit, losing $2.3 million, including
33 staff positions.
Less timber will be offered
for sale and many private forest management plans will
The Parks and Recreation
Division is being cut $1.7 million, with a host of seasonal
workers being forced to end work early. More than a
dozen parks will see reduced camping.
They'll be identified next
Seven field conservation
officer positions will be left vacant. With minimal
funding for new hires, Morse said the division will
not run its enforcement academy next year.
Other cutbacks include reductions
in statewide stream protection and lake monitoring and
Along with other agencies,
the DNR is preparing for an expected budget shortfall
in the 2004-05 fiscal year. The options include a 10
percent budget reduction, which would mean $30 million
in cuts for each of the next two years.