Dakota County Environmental Resources
Master Recycler/Composter Program
The Master Recycler/Composter program provides training on waste reduction, recycling, composting and solid waste.
Graduates agree to volunteer 30 hours putting their skills to work. Graduates have the opportunity to staff informational booths at community events, make presentations, and work on special projects in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.
Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP)
The Wetland Health Evaluation Program engages citizen volunteers to help monitor wetlands in their community. Since 1997, WHEP volunteers have been monitoring wetland health throughout Dakota and Hennepin counties. They provide important information to city and county planners, engineers, resource managers, and others. The data is also used by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to track wetland health throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
The Wetland Health Evaluation Program teaches citizen volunteers to become wetland monitors in their community. WHEP volunteers work in teams to evaluate the biological health of wetlands selected by their community. All training and equipment is provided.
For more information about this program, visit the MN WHEP website.
Please select the team (city) you want to join. If desired team is full, please join the nearest team to your home location that is still available. For help, please contact Garrett Zaffke at 651-438-4635.
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Apple Valley Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Burnsville Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Dakota County Parks Team 1
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Dakota County Parks Team 2
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Eagan Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Farmington Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Hastings Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Lakeville Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Mendota Heights Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - North Cannon River Watershed Management Organization Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - Rosemount Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - South St. Paul Team
- Wetland Health Evalulation Program - West St. Paul Team
WHEP Training (2021 Current WHEP Volunteers Only)
Dakota County General Volunteer and Internship Opportunities
Citizen Advisory Committees
Dakota County Citizen Advisory Committees support County government by involving citizens in the decision-making process, meeting requirements of state law, helping to define community norms and standards, providing technical expertise, serving as advocates, offering feedback, and reflecting the diverse interests of County clients and residents.
- Adult Citizen Advisory Committees: Citizen Advisory Committee
- Adult Citizen Advisory Committees: County Special Board of Appeal and Equalization
- Adult Citizen Advisory Committees: Extension Committee
- Adult Citizen Advisory Committees: Library Advisory Committee
- Adult Citizen Advisory Committees: Planning Commission
- Adult Citizen Advisory Committees: Public Art Committee
- Adult Citizen Advisory Committees: Workforce Advisory Committee
- Adult Citizen Advisory Committees: Zoning Board of Adjustment Committee
- Youth Citizen Advisory Committees: Extension Committee
- Youth Citizen Advisory Committees: Library Advisory Committee
- Youth Citizen Advisory Committees: Public Art Citizen Advisory Committee
Eagle Scout and Gold Award Projects
Heading Home Dakota is a 10 year plan to prevent and end homelessness, which was finalized in 2012. The work to create it included a variety of surveys and focus groups, a community retreat, analysis and utilization of data on homelessness in Dakota County, and the development of a strategic plan and an implementation guide to meet the needs in our community. Please check out our plan and join us in our effort to end homelessness in Dakota County!
Dakota County is looking for the best and the brightest to join our team and take on the challenging and rewarding work of public service. The work we do is unique – we protect public health, keep our communities safe, ensure our vulnerable residents are cared for, help residents get back on their feet; protect our natural resources, get veterans the help they deserve, make sure traffic flows efficiently, inspire children to read and so much more. Grow your career at Dakota County where you can truly “Be More.”
DISCLAIMER: The positions listed below are not with Dakota County Volunteers but with another organization located in Dakota County. You may have to complete additional registration documentation with the host organization to fully apply for this opening. The organizations that host these opportunities take full responsibility for the management of the opportunities listed below.
Dakota County Parks
Dakota Woods Dog Park
Dakota Woods Dog Park is a 16-acre, fenced, wooded park and a great place to let your dog run and exercise off leash. The park is centrally located in Dakota County, just east of Rosemount, MN.
Lake Byllesby Regional Park
Lake Byllesby Regional Park is nestled in the scenic Cannon River Valley on Lake Byllesby Reservoir, the largest lake in southern Dakota County. This beautiful park offers vast open space for a variety of year-round active sports or quiet recreation for company picnics, family reunions or other large and small group gatherings. And don't forget the lake, public access points allow you to enjoy the water as you take in the sheer cliff facings that are hundreds of years old or catch a glimpse of the Lake Byllesby Dam.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Lebanon Hills Regional Park is the largest park in the Dakota County park system. Containing almost 2,000 acres, the park offers miles of trails and many lakes for year-round outdoor sports, recreation and environmental education.
Miesville Ravine Park Reserve
Miesville Ravine Park Reserve is a large nature preserve that provides miles of trails for you to enjoy the picturesque Cannon River Valley. Located at the confluence of Trout Brook and the Cannon River near Miesville, this beautiful park offers the feel of scenic southeastern Minnesota in our very own backyard.
Spring Lake Park Reserve
Enjoy the feel of northern Minnesota from this scenic park that overlooks the Mississippi River. A rest stop along the Great River Road, Spring Lake Park Reserve is the "hidden jewel" of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. The Schaar’s Bluff Trailhead and picnic area provide a scenic overlook of the Mississippi River Valley as well as access to summer hiking and winter ski trails.
Thompson County Park
This charming 57-acre park provides a quiet get-a-way in the midst of the West St. Paul, Minnesota area. The park features a large picnic area that overlooks Thompson Lake and miles of wooded trails that connect to the North Urban Regional Trail — a trail system that links Thompson County Park to Kaposia Park in South St. Paul and to the Mississippi River Regional Trail.
Thompson County Park is also the home of the Dakota Lodge — a four-season event center that is perfect for weddings, reunions, meetings, banquets, retreats, parties and much more.
Whitetail Woods Regional Park
Dakota County’s newest park, 456-acre Whitetail Woods Regional Park, is located in Empire Township in the center of Dakota County, one mile north of the Vermillion River. The park is bordered by the Vermillion Highlands Modified Wildlife Management Area to the east and the Vermillion River Wildlife and Aquatic Management areas to the south. Privately owned property lies directly north of the park. The University of Minnesota’s UMORE Park is located to the northeast and east of the park.