Prof named interim head of outdoor council

At its first meeting Monday, the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council selected University of Minnesota forest resources associate professor Mike Kilgore as its interim head. The council will advise the Legislature on how to spend a third of the revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, which authorized a three-eighths of a percent increase in sales tax. That translates to between $80 and $90 million per year for habitat conservation projects, Kilgore said, and itâÄôs the councilâÄôs role to recommend which projects the Legislature should fund. Kilgore has worked for the government on forest management in the past and heâÄôll bring âÄúextraordinary governmental leadership skill and experienceâÄù to his post, Alan Ek , head of the Department of Forest Resources in the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences, said. In the early âÄò90s, Kilgore supervised MinnesotaâÄôs first statewide forestry-related general environmental impact statement study, which assessed the impact of all kinds of industry developments over the previous 50 years, Ek said. The University hired him in 2000 and heâÄôs become a âÄútruly outstanding instructor at the interface of policy and economics and natural resources,âÄù Ek added. The newly formed council is under a time crunch now, as their first round of recommendations is due to the Legislature April 1. Kilgore said wetland restoration projects and additional wildlife lands are just two examples of the variety of projects that may receive funding. He said heâÄôs excited to get to work with the council. âÄúYou think about the magnitude of the impact this funding will have on the future of MinnesotaâÄôs outdoors, and the habitat, itâÄôs tremendous,âÄù he said. âÄúPutting into the system $80, $90 million a year for habitat projects is unprecedented.âÄù