*Department of Transportation: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Bridge Inspection Demonstration Project
MnDOT found that using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for bridge inspection decreases safety risks,provides less disruption to traffic, and reduces work time. UAS provide inspection detail that replicates some of the information gleaned through traditional measures, and costs significantly less in equipment and traffic control needs.
*Department of Transportation–Government Affairs: Government-to- Government Tribal-State Relations Training
Employees of state agencies are required to consult with Indian tribes on matters of mutual interest, and many have hired tribal liaisons to carry out those duties. Many liaisons have not been equipped with the knowledge or tools to fulfill their duties, and they have a heavy workload. This training program was developed to address those needs, and the content incorporates the concerns of Minnesota’s Tribal Sovereign Nations, as well as the needs, and requirements, of state agencies.
*Department of Labor and Industry: Minnesota PIPELINE Project
The Department of Labor and Industry is integrating and expanding the dual training and registered apprenticeship system in Minnesota through the industry-based, employer-driven PIPELINE Project. Dual-training programs offer employment, education and training to deliver industry-required skills today for the high-demand, high-wage occupations of tomorrow.
Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Office of Transportation System Management: Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan and Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan
In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Transportation launched an innovative community engagement process to update the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan and the Minnesota 20-Year State Highway Investment Plan. Past efforts had shown that relying on traditional engagement techniques wasn’t enough to reach a statewide audience. The engagement effort was jam-packed with innovative tools and techniques, including live cell phone polling; roving iPad surveys at events like the Zombie Pub Crawl, markets, and parades; and the Minnesota GO mobile life-size, coloring-book Van—a pop-up event tool that doubles as a coloring book. MnDOT received over 12,450 responses from Minnesotans that closely mirrored statewide gender, race/ethnicity, age, and geographic demographics and over 315,000 project hits online. Plain language and accessibility were top focuses throughout all tools and techniques. This engagement effort was a major success. Participation levels were more than double that of prior statewide planning outreach efforts.
Minnesota Department of Military Affairs: Minnesota National Guard- Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape (CRSL)
The 2015 state, and pending federal, designation of Camp Ripley as a Sentinel Landscape site builds on the success of the Camp Ripley Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program that began in 2004. The ACUB program was created to protect the mission of Camp Ripley by taking advantage of opportunities to minimize incompatible land development or encroachment that would conflict. The result preserves a natural buffer around Camp Ripley, while enhancing conservation and land management practices. The federal Sentinel Landscape designation brings U.S. Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Interior programs to bear in preventing encroachment, encouraging conservation and preserving agricultural and forested lands around Camp Ripley. Aligning the federal and state programs creates a win-win partnership with willing private landowners to achieve common goals. The CRSL builds on the 17,000 acres currently protected and expands the ACUB buffer area to include over 600,000 additional acres within 34 minor watersheds. This watershed approach leverages additional partners, programs, and funding sources. Camp Ripley will serve as the National Guard pilot program.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Green Step Cities
GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of- life goals. This free continuous improvement program, managed by a state agency – non-profit partnership, is based upon 29 best practices. Each best practice can be implemented by completing one or more actions at a 1, 2 or 3-star level, from a list of four to eight actions. These actions are tailored to all Minnesota cities, focus on cost savings and energy use reduction, and encourage civic innovation. There are more than 100 cities participating to date.
Minnesota Veterans Home Adult Day Center: Operation Sight and Sound
“Operation Sight & Sound” (OSS) is a program for U. S. military Veterans using Songwriting, Photography, and Performance in service to audiences. Veterans participating in this program have a chance to artfully express their feelings about their world, serve others in performances, and to feel validated for contributing to the greater good, much as they did while wearing the uniform. At the Minnesota Veterans Home – Adult Day Center, Veterans first work in “Songwriting Phase” supporting one another to create something positive together. In the “Photography Phase” they get to work and think individually as they shoot through a camera lens. Finally, in the “Performance/Service Phase” they gain recognition and self-confidence by working in service to society as they perform and display their art for those in need, be it at a meal site, at a school, or in public spaces wherever Minnesotans gather. As Marine Veteran Clay Hunt once said: “If I had one thing to say to my fellow veterans it would be this; continue to serve, even though we have taken off our uniforms. No matter how great or small your service is, it is desired and needed by the world we live in today. It only matters that you are continuing to put others before yourselves.”
MN Department of Natural Resources – Parks and Trails Division: ParkFinder
ParkFinder is an interactive online tool that takes trip planning to a new level. It helps you find a park that has just what you are looking for (e.g. beaches, bike trail, cabins). You can see immediately which state parks have what you are looking for. It also has links to individual park Web pages for more information. It simplifies trip planning for people who are either entirely unfamiliar with Minnesota’s state parks and don’t know how to choose from 75 options – particularly first-time visitors – or who have a few favorites but are unaware of other parks with similar features, and helps them narrow the field to just those parks that meet their specific criteria.
State of Minnesota - Minnesota Management and Budget: Employee Diabetes Prevention Program
Minnesota Management and Budget’s health insurance unit, the State Employee Group Insurance Program (SEGIP), offered Minnesota state employees and their adult dependents who are at risk for type 2 diabetes with access to a digital program designed to lower participants’ risk for obesity- related chronic disease. The Employee Diabetes Prevention Program, which is free to participants, focused on changing food habits, increasing activity levels, and overcoming psychological barriers. In the program’s first year, more than 5,000 employees and their dependents enrolled in the program. Collectively, they lost more than 41,000 pounds and reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes. We believe this program is a model for how other states can tackle a public health challenge that is shortening lifespans and driving up health care costs.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: 21st Avenue West Aquatic Habitat Restoration – An Innovative State-Federal Partnership in the St. Louis River Area of Concern
A particularly creative and unique approach to using federal and state funds and authorities to design and construct aquatic habitat restoration to achieve Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement goals in the St. Louis River Area of Concern has been developed through the 21 st Avenue West aquatic habitat restoration pilot project. The approach provides for design work to be conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and other agencies, and calls for the USACE to implement the design through the use of navigational dredging material for shallowing up areas. The annual maintenance dredged material from the navigational channels is placed back in the water instead of the more typical and expensive approach of disposing of it on land. In addition, the cost for this work is covered by annual harbor maintenance funding since the placement is equal to or less costly than land disposal. The placement depth is varied based on the design which will provide for a diversity in aquatic vegetation and bottom dwelling critters – restoration of a diverse aquatic ecosystem which was altered more than 100 years ago. This is a true win-win- win collaboration between federal, state, and local partners. The USACE, which must maintain open navigational channels in the largest working port in the Great Lakes, uses maintenance navigational dredging — and the dredged material — to maintain channels while simultaneously achieving locally developed habitat restoration goals required under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan. The partnership approach also represents a cost-effective method that balances time, materials, money, and scientific outcomes to improve an area impacted by historical alteration and pollution. This approach not only satisfies the unique requirements of the St. Louis River Remedial Action Plan, but also meets the needs of the shipping industry and the community.
* Indicates Video Award Winner, videos to the right of project descriptions