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Central Minnesota


The University of Minnesota Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (CRSDP) fosters community sustainability through citizen-driven University partnerships and sustainable development projects in agriculture, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy.

The CRSDP was among the first Partnerships established in 1998 to serve citizens in the area of Central Minnesota including Becker, Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties. Ecologically, this region consists of the Pine Moraine and Outwash Plains.

Since its establishment, the CRSDP has supported more than 120 projects with an investment of over $2 million. An additional $3 million in funding from other sources, volunteer and in-kind contributions has supported these project efforts for a total investment of nearly $5 million.

Explore our 2017 projects

Each year our five regional boards support community-driven projects related to our four focus areas. These projects foster innovation, deepen understanding, and build relationships that empower Greater Minnesota communities to advance their future sustainability.

Visit our storymap to explore projects by region and focus area.

Explore Storymap

View past project list

Submit a project idea

The CRSDP is seeking Project Idea Briefs by March 1, 2018. Funded projects will begin implementation summer 2018. For more information or to discuss your project idea, contact Molly Zins at or 218-828-2332. We look forward to learning about your sustainability work and potential Community-University partnerships.

CRSDP Project Funding Criteria

  • The project must be initiated by local citizens and/or with their support continuing throughout the project.
  • The project must partner local citizens with University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and/or students and resources.
  • The project must address issues in one or more of the Sustainable Focus Areas (Agriculture & Local Food Systems, Tourism & Resilient Communities, Clean Energy or Natural Resources), with a focus on local economic and human development, education, research, and long-term sustainability.
  • Project deliverables/outcomes must be identified and focus on local citizen and community needs.
  • A local, in-kind contribution is required.
  • Priority will be given projects that leverage funds from other organizations and/or include cash contributions from other sources, and that partner with other organizations.
  • The project will support environment, social and/or economic sustainability for public purpose or benefit.
  • The project can be replicated or creates learning and action that can be shared.
  • The project builds partnerships.

To learn more about submitting a Project Idea Brief to the CRSDP, contact Molly Zins at or 218-828-2332.

What's new

loon floating on water

National Loon Center

Bringing together the community of Crosslake, the UMN Center for Sustainable Building Research and the UMN Department of Applied Economics, the National Loon Center team conducted a community design process and market feasibility study envisioning a wildlife conservation center that provides education, programming, and outdoor experiences related to loon habitat, shoreland protection and water quality.

View more information

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