Every time we go fishing, (Which is not often enough,) people start talking about fishing limits and requirements in Minnesota.  "Isn't the Lottery supposed to support our wildlife needs in Minnesota? Why don't they just create more fish hatcheries, rather than put limits on the size of fish we can keep?" Good questions, right?

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We all know it's a bit more complicated than that. How much of the funds created by the Minnesota Lottery actually go to help Minnesota wildlife and the environment; And do they keep track of it, so we can all feel a little bit better about spending our money on gambling?

I just received information from the Minnesota Lottery, sharing examples of where our lottery funds go, through the lottery-funded Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which was created to support research projects, studies, rehab efforts, and outreach and education initiatives for Minnesota Wildlife.


Since 1990, the Minnesota Lottery has generated over $3.6 billion dollars for various programs that have a positive impact on the lives of Minnesotans. According to the Minnesota Lottery:

  • Over $1.5 billion of that has helped preserve, restore and protect our environment through the Trust Fund named above
  • $2 billion has been set aside for funding state programs relating to public safety, education, and health and human services.
  • Money from lottery sales also supports programs to help prevent and treat people that have gambling addiction or problems with gambling
  • $875 million dollars has gone to more than 1800 projects statewide since 1991

The Minnesota Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund is a more stable fund for activities that protect, conserve, preserve and enhance Minnesota's water, land, air, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources for the benefit of current citizens and future generations.

Photo by Milo Weiler on Unsplash
Photo by Milo Weiler on Unsplash


For example, The International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota has received funds since 1999 to help educate people on how people and wolves can coexist. An interactive exhibit was designed recently to explain how Minnesota has successfully revitalized the wolf population in the state.


One of the more recent projects for learning how to protect Minnesota's Moose population has been with the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Research, figuring out innovative approaches to understand how brainworms are transmitted between whitetail deer and moose to improve population management of Moose in Minnesota.

Photo by Jonathan Mast on Unsplash
Photo by Jonathan Mast on Unsplash


Another project that I never really gave much thought to, is a project that is reintroducing bison to Minnesota. Bison are native to Minnesota and at one time were nearly extinct. Bison are being reintroduced to Dakotah County to 130 acres of reconstructed prairie within the Spring Lake Park Reserve along the Mississippi River. Previous projects have helped support and promote bison populations located at the Minneopa and Blue Mounds state parks.

For more information on where our Minnesota Lottery dollars go, contact The Minnesota Lottery by clicking HERE now.


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