Senior GIS student Sarah Betzler created a GIS model of priority areas for establishing conservation easements in Dakota County. Inspired by Ian McHarg’s Design with Nature, Sarah’s project demonstrates the usefulness of GIS for landscape and environmental planning. She used a weighted linear combination approach, taking into account sites of biodiversity significance, existing conservation corridors, slope, distance from wetlands and trout streams, and wild and scenic river areas. She masked existing protected areas and areas within the 2020 Metropolitan Urban Services Area. Her results suggest prioritizing areas in the center of Dakota County that are in the Vermillion River watershed.