News Watch: September 7

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September 7, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Conservation, Mining, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Mankato Free Press: Soybean Association to study dicamba herbicide complaints
Marshall Independent: USDA offers targeted farm loan funding for underserved groups and beginning farmers
Rochester Post Bulletin: NFU makes biofuels a priority in its legislative efforts
Winona Post: Wet year for hay growers

Clean Energy
Southwest Journal: City Council mulls increasing use of renewable energy
Mankato Free Press: Frentz among those pushing for clean energy increase
Finance & Commerce: Sustainable: Energy storage could bolster electric grid
WCCO: Report: Minnesota now has more than 57000 clean energy jobs
Owatonna People’s Press: Al-Corn expansion on-budget, under-schedule, CEO says

Climate Change
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: Climate change group ready to act
MPR News: Climate Gone Wild: Climate connections to fire, smoke, flood, and 175 mph Irma

Conservation
International Falls Journal: Sustainable timber harvest analysis is under way
Pioneer Press: Ford site: 110-foot building max lowered, unless developers add green space
MPR News: Hunters sour on Trump’s interior secretary over public lands review

Mining
The Timberjay: Otto jumps into Ely mining debate

Parks & Trails
Duluth News Tribune: Hartley making progress: New trails, parking, more at Duluth park
Star Tribune: Minnesota’s fall colors could be more vibrant earlier this year

Pollinators
MPR News: Farmers, beekeepers put aside their differences to aid bees
Mankato Free Press: Monarchs putting on a strong show locally
Pioneer Press: PolliNATION: Stillwater hosting party for pollinators to highlight their vital role

Pollution
Minnesota Daily: University files lawsuit over hazardous materials detected at properties near Rosemount
Duluth News Tribune: Duluth mayor opposes fee for shopping bags

Transportation
Winona Daily News: MnDOT releases updated state bike trail map, Winona a bronze level bike-friendly community​
Star Tribune: Three Rivers Park District critiques bike-pedestrian bridge in Edina

Waste & Recycling
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: City moves forward with landfill expansion
Winona Daily News: Buffalo County debates feasibility of ‘single-stream’ recycling service’

Water
Marshall Independent: Lyon County appoints liaison to LPRW Board
Rochester Post Bulletin: Where to put 40 years worth of dredge material?

Wildlife & Fish
MPR News: As Mille Lacs walleye season ends, DNR prepares to survey lake’s fish population
West Central Tribune: State pheasant index down 26 percent from last year
Rochester Post Bulletin: John Weiss: Anglers help DNR study sturgeon
 

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The Wild Rice Harvest Begins, Under Threat from Oil Pipelines

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By Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership


At the end of every Minnesota summer, a centuries-old tradition continues on the waters home to the plant the Ojibwe call “manoomin”– wild rice. It’s known to many as the state grain of Minnesota, but wild rice has a much greater significance to the Ojibwe bands around the state who call these lands and waters home. Manoomin lies at the heart of Ojibwe history, culture, and well-being, and tribal members maintain the treaty rights to continue to harvest it and protect the lakes it grows on. Unfortunately, these rights have not always been respected by outside interests who seek to profit from the use of these waters – namely the oil pipelines that already cross these vulnerable waters.

Wild rice has formed an integral part of the Ojibwe people’s identity since they first came to the lands that now include Minnesota. According to oral history, the Ojibwe were told by the Creator to seek out land “where food grows on the water.” Manoomin has since been a staple of Ojibwe meals, and the harvest has successively been passed down to each generation. As a natural grain, it has tremendous health benefits. Winona LaDuke, the executive director of Honor the Earth and member of the White Earth Band, called it “Food for the belly and food for the soul. Its nutritional value is incomparable.”

 It’s a tradition that brings together communities. In an interview Debra Topping, a member of the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe, said that she had spent the morning harvesting with family members, and said she hoped for her grandson to soon participate and learn about the tradition. Harvesters work from around 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon for roughly a month, using “knockers” made by community members to collect the grain. And wild rice isn’t solely a crop for human consumption – it feeds all of the life in the area it grows, including worms, insects, fish, and the animals and birds that prey on them – Topping has seen owl pellets containing still-intact grains of manoomin.

Because wild rice is a resource vulnerable to overharvesting and pollution, tribal communities carefully manage its use. Levi Brown, Director of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s Environmental Department and member of the Leech Lake Band, said that the harvest time and length is determined by a community rice committee based on weather and the health of the paddies. In this, he says, “It is a government by and for the people.” The Leech Lake community manages an important and enormous resource – one-tenth of all the water in Minnesota is within the reservation’s borders, and the size of the resulting wild rice crop averages around 250,000 pounds a year.

As expansive as the wild rice waters are today, they have fallen precipitously since white settlers arrived. Winona LaDuke states that more than 70% of the original waters no longer support the grain, and threats to the remaining waters continue to mount. This is despite the treaty rights the Ojibwe hold, allowing them to have sole harvest and regulatory control over the crop on treaty lands. Said Levi Brown, “If you have the sole right to regulate the resource, doesn’t it make sense that you should have the ability to protect it from harm?”

These rights are at the core of the Ojibwe struggle against Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 oil pipeline, which would pump some of the dirtiest oil on earth directly through wild rice watersheds. According to Winona LaDuke, other Enbridge pipelines in the same area have already leaked, and no EIS has ever been conducted on the damage they have done. Previous studies of the new Line 3 indicate that there is no possible route that would not harm wild rice waters. The damage that a spill would cause would be catastrophic, and possibly irreparable to the grain’s survival.

The Ojibwe have decisively said “no” to this new pipeline, but so far it has continued to move forward through the regulatory steps, and Enbridge has already begun construction on the Wisconsin segment of Line 3. Debra Topping says she is doing her best to educate people who haven’t heard about the pipeline’s consequences, so that Enbridge and the Department of Commerce will have to face public accountability. And Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth, and tribal members have promised to continue the fight against Line 3 at every stage of the process. “My family has riced for generations,” LaDuke said, “and you’re not going to take that away from us.”

To learn more about Line 3’s impacts on the Ojibwe and northern Minnesotans, and how you can be an ally in this battle, visit www.stopline3.org. For more information on pipelines, water, climate issues, and more ways to take action, you can also visit our website at www.mepartnership.org.

Thanks to Levi Brown, Debra Topping, Winona LaDuke, and Irene Folstrom for their contributions to this article, and for their work to protect Minnesota’s waters and wild rice.

Insider: September 8, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

   

The Wild Rice Harvest Begins, Under Threat from Oil Pipelines

At the end of every Minnesota summer, a centuries-old tradition continues on the waters home to the plant the Ojibwe call “manoomin”– wild rice. It’s known to many as the state grain of Minnesota, but wild rice has a much greater significance to the Ojibwe bands around the state who call these lands and waters home. Manoomin lies at the heart of Ojibwe history, culture, and well-being, and tribal members maintain the treaty rights to continue to harvest it and protect the lakes it grows on. Unfortunately, these rights have been disregarded by outside interests who seek to profit by polluting – namely the oil pipelines that already cross these vulnerable waters.

Wild rice has formed an integral part of the Ojibwe people’s identity since they first came to the lands that now include Minnesota. According to oral history, the Ojibwe were told by the Creator to seek out land “where food grows on the water.” Manoomin has since been a staple of Ojibwe meals, and the harvest has successively been passed down to each generation. As a natural grain, it has tremendous health benefits. Winona LaDuke, the executive director of Honor the Earth and member of the White Earth Band, called it “Food for the belly and food for the soul. Its nutritional value is incomparable.”

 It’s a tradition that brings together communities. In an interview Debra Topping, a member of the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe, said that she had spent the morning harvesting with family members, and said she hoped for her grandson to soon participate and learn about the tradition. Harvesters work from around 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon for roughly a month, using “knockers” made by community members to collect the grain. And wild rice isn’t solely a crop for human consumption – it feeds all of the life in the area it grows, including worms, insects, fish, and the animals and birds that prey on them – Topping has seen owl pellets containing still-intact grains of manoomin.

Because wild rice is a resource vulnerable to overharvesting and pollution, tribal communities carefully manage its use. Levi Brown, Director of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s Environmental Department and member of the Leech Lake Band, said that the harvest time and length is determined by a community rice committee based on weather and the health of the paddies. In this, he says, “It is a government by and for the people.” The Leech Lake community manages an important and enormous resource – one-tenth of all the water in Minnesota is within the reservation’s borders, and the size of the resulting wild rice crop averages around 250,000 pounds a year.

 

As expansive as the wild rice waters are today, they have fallen precipitously since white settlers arrived. Winona LaDuke says that more than 70% of the original waters no longer support the grain, and threats to the remaining waters continue to mount. This is despite the treaty rights the Ojibwe hold, allowing them to have sole harvest and regulatory control over the crop on treaty lands. Said Levi Brown, “If have the sole right to regulate the resource, doesn’t it make sense that you should have the ability to protect it from harm?”

These rights are at the core of the Ojibwe struggle against Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 oil pipeline, which would pump some of the dirtiest oil on earth directly through wild rice watersheds. According to Winona LaDuke, other Enbridge pipelines in the same area have already leaked, and no EIS has ever been conducted on the damage they have done. Previous studies of the new Line 3 indicate that there is no possible route that would not harm wild rice waters. The damage that a spill would cause would be catastrophic, and likely irreparable to the grain’s survival.

The Ojibwe have decisively said “no” to this new pipeline, but so far it has continued to move forward through the regulatory steps, and Enbridge has already begun construction on the Wisconsin segment of Line 3. Debra Topping says she is doing her best to educate people who haven’t heard about the pipeline’s consequences, so that Enbridge and the Department of Commerce will have to face public accountability. And Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth, and tribal members have promised to continue the fight against Line 3 at every stage of the process. “My family has riced for generations,” LaDuke said, “and you’re not going to take that away from us.”

To learn more about Line 3’s impacts on the Ojibwe and northern Minnesotans, and how you can be an ally in this battle, visit www.stopline3.org. For more information on pipelines, water, climate issues, and more ways to take action, you can also visit our website at www.mepartnership.org


The Energy Fair comes to St. Paul September 9-10

Join dozens of groups from the clean energy community this weekend at The Energy Fair, September 9th and 10th at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul. Admission is FREE to 80+ workshops and 60+ exhibits on sustainable living, community resilience, and clean energy. The fair will feature several speakers from MEP member groups, including keynote speaker Tara Houska of Honor the Earth, as well as Fresh Energy’s Michael Noble. There will be free rides available from Metro Transit and all-electric shuttle from Union Depot. Solar Professional Day September 8th. All access passes and information can be found at TheEnergyFair.org. We hope to see you there!

Surge in Minnesota clean-energy jobs prompts calls for tighter energy standards

(From Star Tribune) — Jobs related to clean energy in Minnesota have grown 5.3 percent over the past year, a significant uptick that prompted a bipartisan team of state lawmakers and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to call Thursday for boosting the state’s renewable energy goals in 2018. Over the last year, the state added 2,893 jobs in the clean energy industry for a total of 57,351 jobs, according to a new report from the nonprofit group Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, an industry-led nonprofit group. That’s nearly four times faster than the overall job growth rate in Minnesota — and evidence that the state should keep up the momentum, officials said in a news conference at the State Capitol. Clean energy jobs now comprise 1.9 percent of the state’s total employment, with the bulk of those jobs involved with increasing energy efficiency, in buildings for instance. >Read More.

Sustainable: Energy storage could bolster electric grid

(From Finance and Commerce) — While solar and wind continue to capture headlines and investments in the renewable energy economy, the prospect of more affordable energy storage could bring significant changes to the electric grid. Across the country, the idea of pairing solar with energy storage is taking hold, with one such project having been recently completed in Duluth and another proposed by Connexus Energy, the state’s largest electricity cooperative. For several years, Xcel Energy has had a one-megawatt battery in Luverne, a pilot project to capture wind energy in southwest Minnesota. It has also proposed to regulators a solar-storage project in Belle Plaine. >>Read More.


                

Raiding Clean Water Fund damages clean water quest

(From Morrison County Record) — In 2008, during the Great Recession, Minnesotans voted by a considerable margin to amend the state constitution to increase their taxes. The state sales tax was increased by three-eighths of 1 percent for 25 years with the increased revenue to be dedicated to four distinct purposes. One-third of the new revenue is constitutionally dedicated to “…the Clean Water Fund and may be spent only to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams and to protect groundwater from degradation….” The constitutional amendment further provides that these funds “… must supplement traditional sources of funding for these purposes and may not be used as a substitute.” >>Read More.

New findings suggest serious threat to Great Lakes fish from, yes, Prozac

(From MinnPost) — New research from the Niagara River suggests that Great Lakes fish are consuming and concentrating pharmaceutical pollution  — especially antidepressants and their breakdown products  — in amounts considerably higher than previous studies have indicated. Because these compounds have a demonstrated ability to harm fish by inducing physiological and behavioral changes, the lead scientist on the project says, the results demonstrate “a threat to biodiversity, and we should be very concerned.” Those are the words of Diana Aga, a chemistry professor at the University of Buffalo who specializes in gauging the environmental effects of new, nonindustrial “pollutants of emerging concern.” >>Read More.

Dayton’s 25 by 25 meetings head north, then to Twin Cities Metro

Governor Dayton has so far hosted five of his ten planned town hall meetings on his proposed “25 by 25” Water Quality Goal throughout Minnesota. The Governor is seeking input on how to improve the health of our state’s waters by 25% by the year 2025, and wants to hear Minnesotans’ ideas. The next several meetings will be coming to Ely and Bemidji, with events in the Twin Cities Metro to follow. For more information on how you can give your own input at a town hall, visit www.eqb.state.mn.us/25by25

   


          

Soybean Association to study dicamba herbicide complaints

(From Mankato Free Press) —  Farmers across the state and the Midwest have filed complaints of a new dicamba herbicide sprayed on neighbors’ fields that has spread onto their soybeans, causing damage to the plants. “There have been over 200 reports of damage that have come into the Department of Agriculture in nearly 50 counties. There is speculation that only 30 percent of damaged fields have been reported,” said Michael Petefish, president of the Mankato-based Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. The growing concern over dicamba and other herbicides being developed to kill weeds that have become resistant to other weed killers led the association to form a dicamba task force. They hope to learn the reasons for the damage and to find the best ways to fight resistant weeds while protecting crops. >>Read More.

           

photo credit: NASA

Emmer, Nolan add amendment to defund mining study

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Minnesota U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer and Rick Nolan late Wednesday successfully added an amendment to a House appropriations bill to defund a proposed U.S. Forest Service study of all mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The study was proposed earlier this year, along with a moratorium on mining near the BWCAW, a move that would stifle the proposed Twin Metals copper mine along the Kawishiwi River southeast of Ely. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management also denied Twin Metals permits needed to prospect or mine on federal land in the area. Amendment  No. 70 to the Interior Environment Appropriations portion of the omnibus bill prohibits the Forest Service from spending any money on the study. The full bill passed a House vote late Thursday. >>Read More.


           

Farmers, beekeepers put aside differences to aid bees

(From MPR News) — A new pilot project in North Dakota aims to get past frequent finger-pointing between beekeepers and farmers over the decline in bee populations and get them to work together with scientists to reverse the trend. “It’s an effort to help everybody realize that it is a complex issue and that solving one of the issues that causes stress for bees is not going to solve all of the problems,” said Zac Browning, a fourth-generation beekeeper at Browning’s Honey Company near Jamestown, N.D., and one of the project’s developers. The honey bee industry has struggled for years with the effects of disease, parasites, pesticides and the loss of habitat to feed bees. Those problems have often created tensions between beekeepers and agriculture over where to place blame for bee colony losses, and led to simplistic and unsuccessful fixes. >>Read More.


                

photo credit: MPR

University files lawsuit over hazardous materials detected at properties near Rosemount

(From Minnesota Daily) — The University of Minnesota is suing the federal government and DuPont over hazardous materials detected at one of its properties. The $3 million lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court of Minnesota on Aug. 11, is seeking reimbursement for investigations and potential cleanup costs at a nearly 8,000-acre University property near Rosemount, Minnesota. The land makes up the University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education (UMore) Park and Vermillion Highlands. The site was originally operated by DuPont through a government contract during World War II to make gunpowder. >>Read More.

 


Weekly Outdoor Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!            

1. What Minnesota city and county are named after the Ojibwe word for wild rice?
 

2. The two longest rivers with segments in Minnesota are the Mississippi and the Red River of the North. What is the third-longest, which flows through a city in Iowa?
 

3. On what lake on the Mississippi River did Minnesota inventor Ralph Samuelson develop the sport he created – water skiing?

Upcoming Environmental Events


Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Minnesota Organizer | Pesticide Action Network

Public Engagement Fellow | Sierra Club North Star Chapter

Conservation Director | Friends of the Mississippi River

Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

State Director | Environment Minnesota

See all job postings

Trivia Answers: 1) Mahnomen 2) Des Moines 3) Lake Pepin


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Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Copyright © 2017
546 Rice Street, Suite 100, Saint Paul, MN 55103
www.mepartnership.org
 

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.

Insider: September 1, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

   

photo credit: Freshwater Society

                                   White Bear Lake Ruling May Impact Other MN Waters

On Wednesday, August 30, Ramsey County District Judge Margaret Marrinan ruled that state officials had failed to exercise adequate stewardship of White Bear Lake and the aquifer beneath it. The lake, located among the northern suburbs of St. Paul, had reached distressingly low water levels in previous years. Judge Marrinan ruled that the DNR had not managed the water’s sustainability, in violation of state law, by allowing too much water pumping by the surrounding cities. The ruling requires the DNR to restrict expanded water use and enact policies that would cut down on water pumping in the area during dry periods. It is unclear at this time whether the DNR will seek to appeal the decision.

This case will certainly have local impacts on the White Bear Lake community. But it connects to larger questions of how the state conducts enforcement of existing environmental laws. The Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, referenced in Judge Marrinan’s decision, declares that everyone in Minnesota has the both right to protected land, air, and water and the responsibility to contribute to their protection, and it provides for mechanisms for ordinary citizens to make sure that the state is living up to its end of the bargain. Though the DNR plays a critical role in using sound science to make decisions on water protection, it does not always meet its obligation to keep our lakes sustainable. In situations like White Bear Lake, it may fall on citizens and action groups to demand that Minnesota’s resource laws be followed, not only when it is convenient, but whenever it is necessary.

At a moment when nutrient pollution and mining decisions are under debate around the state, cases like this one make us question: how can we do better? Water is Minnesota’s most precious resource, and it’s important to remember that keeping its clean is the right – and responsibility – of all of us.


The Energy Fair comes to St. Paul September 9-10

Join dozens of groups from the clean energy community at The Energy Fair, September 9th and 10th at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul. Admission is FREE to 80+ workshops and 60+ exhibits on sustainable living, community resilience, and clean energy. The fair will feature several speakers from MEP member groups, including keynote speaker Tara Houska of Honor the Earth, as well as Fresh Energy’s Michael Noble. There will be free rides available from Metro Transit and all-electric shuttle from Union Depot. Solar Professional Day September 8th. All access passes and information can be found at TheEnergyFair.org. We hope to see you there!

Tracy Schools to light up with solar arrays

(From Marshall Independent) — Tracy Area Public Schools will be lighting up savings with its own solar arrays in the near future. The Tracy School Board voted 5-1 to place the array on the west side of the high school and directly to the east of the elementary school soccer field. Board member Ben Ludeman was the sole “no”vote and refused to comment. There had been a choice of two sites for the high school array. In addition to the chosen site immediately on the west side of the school, there was a patch across the driveway to the parking lot to the northwest side of the school that was considered. “Construction will start this fall, and, dependent on weather may have to be completed in the spring ’18,” Tracy Superintendent Chad Anderson said. >>Read More.


                

Antidepressants turning up in Great Lakes Fish

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Human antidepressant drugs are showing up in the brains of fish in the Great Lakes region, an unexpected byproduct of human waste that isn’t being removed in the sewage treatment process. The University at Buffalo in New York reported Thursday that “high concentrations” of antidepressants are building up in the brains of trout, walleye, bass and several other fish sampled from the Niagara River between lakes Erie and Ontario, the downstream end of the Great Lakes system. The drugs were found in all 10 species studied, said Diana Aga, lead scientists on the study who said the discovery raises “serious environmental concerns.” >>Read More.

Dayton’s 25 by 25 meetings head north, then to Twin Cities Metro

Governor Dayton has so far hosted three of his ten planned town hall meetings on his proposed “25 by 25” Water Quality Goal throughout Minnesota. The Governor is seeking input on how we can improve the health of our state’s waters by 25% by the year 2025, and wants to hear Minnesotans’ ideas. The next several meetings will be coming to Crookston, Ely, St. Cloud, and Bemidji, with events in the Metro to follow. For more information on how you can give your own input at a town hall, visit www.eqb.state.mn.us/25by25

   


          

photo credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Fall Field Day to follow-up on cover crops; Mower SWCD offering free tours of three farms on Oct. 31

(From Austin Daily Herald) — Local producers will reopen their Mower County farms this fall to show their cover crops after harvest as well as discuss other soil-health practices. Mower Soil and Water Conservation District is planning a free Fall Field Day for Oct. 31 as a follow-up to a similar tour offered in late May on cover crops and soil health that drew about 90 people. In the spring, the event showcased cover crop fields at three area farms – Tom Cotter, Tom Finnegan and Terry and Cindy Hamilton – by busing participants to the sites. Cotter and Finnegan have been doing extensive outreach work on cover crops and soil health under a Cover Crop Champion grant this year awarded by the National Wildlife Federation to the Mower SWCD office. >>Read More.


           

Line 3 pipeline construction in Wisconsin sparks protests, arrests

(From MPR News) — Six self-described “water protectors” have now all been bailed out of a Wisconsin jail after being arrested Tuesday for protesting an oil pipeline. The protesters temporarily stopped construction of what’s known as Line 3, the oil pipeline Enbridge Energy wants to build across northern Minnesota. It would replace an existing 50-year-old line that’s still under regulatory review in Minnesota, but the company has already started work across the border. Alexander Good-Cane-Milk of the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota was among the protesters. He locked himself to a piece of heavy equipment just across the Minnesota border, south of Superior, Wis., according to his girlfriend Ta’Sina Sapa Win. >>Read More.


           

The great butterfly release

(From Le Center Leader, featuring Izaak Walton League of Minnesota) — It was a day finer than a frog haircut four ways. I enjoy going to the Steele County Fair. I had a purpose there. No, I wasn’t the guy they shot out of a cannon. I volunteered at the Friends of Rice Lake State Park (RLSP) booth located at the Izaak Walton League’s Building during the fair. It’s a fine place to be. >>Read More.


                

DOT releases new statewide bicycle map

(From Savage Pacer) — Minnesota is among the friendliest states for bicyclists, according to the League of American Bicyclists. And now it just got a little friendlier. The Minnesota Department of Transportation released the 2017 statewide bicycle map and it’s now available a ton of places.You can find a copy of the new map at the Minnesota State Fair at the Kick Gas exhibit, which is at the Eco Experience Building on Randall Avenue, MnDOT says. You can also get it at MnDOT’s booth, which is in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street. You can also get one online and you will also be able to find maps at campgrounds, rest areas and visitor centers throughout Minnesota cities. >>Read More.

Southwest LRT barrier wall raises the ire of neighbors, lawmakers

(From Star Tribune) — Lawmakers and some Minneapolis residents continue to raise questions about a proposed concrete wall that would separate freight and light-rail trains along a short stretch of the planned Southwest LRT route. News of the mile-long, 10-foot-high, 3-foot-wide wall emerged earlier this month after the Metropolitan Council reached an agreement with BNSF Railway over sharing the freight giant’s right of way just west of Target Field. The Met Council will build and operate the 14.5-mile light-rail line connecting downtown Minneapolis with Eden Prairie. >>Read More.


Weekly Outdoor Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!            

1. What is Minnesota’s official state grain?
 

2. What are the names of the two U.S. National Forests in Minnesota?
 

3. What 60-mile-long land formation in southwest Minnesota features more than 200 wind turbines?

Upcoming Environmental Events


Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Minnesota Organizer | Pesticide Action Network

Public Engagement Fellow | Sierra Club North Star Chapter

Conservation Director | Friends of the Mississippi River

Membership and Individual Giving Associate | Land Stewardship Project – Apply by September 1

Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

Executive Director, Southwest | Regional Sustainable Development Partnership University of Minnesota Extension

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

State Director | Environment Minnesota

See all job postings

Trivia Answers: 1) Wild rice 2) Chippewa and Superior 3) Buffalo Ridge


Follow Us

   

Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Copyright © 2017
546 Rice Street, Suite 100, Saint Paul, MN 55103
www.mepartnership.org
 

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.

News Watch: August 31

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August 31, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Conservation, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Austin Daily Herald: Fall Field Day to follow-up on cover crops; Mower SWCD offering free tours of three farms on Oct. 31

Clean Energy
Marshall Independent: Tracy schools to light up with solar arrays
Winona Daily News: Winona continues energy partnership with Xcel throughout fall

Climate Change
MPR News: Floods in South Asia have killed more than 1,000 people this summer
New York Times: Beyond Houston, a world awash
MPR News: What climate science says about hurricanes

Conservation
Austin Daily Herald: CREP signups open in Mower County, state; Mower SWCD seeks landowners to discuss permanent conservation
Mankato Free Press: Emerald ash borer invades Martin County
Austin Daily Herald: Hog Roast fundraiser to support environmental education in Austin

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Chippewa lawyers tell federal judge another company is trying to sabotage restart of Essar Steel Minnesota

Oil & Pipelines
Bismarck Tribune: Enbridge, local responders train for pipeline leak in Red River
The Detroit News: State demands Enbridge fix Mackinac pipe coating gaps
Duluth News Tribune: Six charged in protest at pipeline worksite in Douglas County

Parks & Trails
The Timberjay: State park campground set to open Sept. 12
Faribault Daily News: Over 500 SSM students and staff help beautify Faribault’s parks and trails
Pioneer Press: New camper cabins, $7.4 million campground opens at Whitewater State Park
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: Blazing a new trail: Mountain bike trail progress made in Fergus Falls

Pollinators
Le Center Leader: The great butterfly release

Pollution
Wisconsin State Journal: Secretary Cathy Stepp leaving DNR to join Donald Trump’s EPA

Transportation
Savage Pacer: DOT releases new statewide bicycle map
La Crosse Tribune: First Open Streets La Crosse event brings new activities to Bicycle Fest weekend

Waste & Recycling
WCCO: Got an old cell phone? Recycle it at the State Fair
Waste Dive: Rep. Ellison calls for a zero-waste revolution and industry shake-up

Water
Star Tribune: Judge rules state of Minnesota failed to protect White Bear Lake, aquifer
West Central Tribune: Yard debris is a water quality concern in Willmar
Alexandria Echo Press: No new wells in Alexandria
Minnesota Conservation Volunteer: Spreading like wildflowers
Duluth News Tribune: WLSSD sewer line fix near Esko may hit $6 million
Alexandria Echo Press: Lake Minnewaska looking for a knock out in algae fight

Wildlife & Fish
Winona Daily News: Buffalo county bird tests positive for West Nile Virus
St. Cloud Times: Stearns included in expanded ban on feeding deer
The Timberjay: Bear permits trimmed
International Falls Journal: DNR: Avoid shooting radio-collared bears
La Crosse Tribune: Army Corps adjusts Genoa dam to slow spread of invasive carp

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News Watch: August 28

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August 28, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Conservation, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Pollinators, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
West Central Tribune: Finding a market for hemp: More than 2,000 acres planted in Minnesota this year
Marshall Independent: Klobuchar touts Tru Shrimp’s possible impact on area farmers
MPR News: An odd trend in wheat country: not much wheat
Forum of Fargo-Moorhead: ND tour group gets up-close look at destructive weed Palmer amaranth

Clean Energy
Star Tribune: Leech Lake solar program is first in nation linked to energy assistance program
Pioneer Press: Developers proposing Woodbury’s first solar garden

Climate Change
MPR News: How a warmer climate helped shape Harvey

Conservation
Bemidji Pioneer: On the lookout: Bemidji training held to spot aquatic invasive species
Star Tribune: Minnesota State Fair’s green movement adds up in many ways

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: The dam debate: PolyMet tailings basin dams are key point in upcoming permits
Winona Post: LSP can’t join frac sand lawsuit (featuring MEP member group Land Stewardship Project)
Duluth News Tribune: In response: Consider copper-nickel mining with informed skepticism

Oil & Pipelines
Duluth News Tribune: Enbridge forecasts stronger legal response to protests
Star Tribune: A high-stakes dispute over Minnesota pipeline taxes

Pollinators
Mankato Free Press: ALL ABOUT BEES Moody bees stresses education, community
Rochester Post Bulletin: Harvest is the place to bee

Pollution
Star Tribune: McCollum seeks federal action against St. Paul metal plating company

Transportation
Star Tribune: The state fair is here, and here’s how to get there
Sun Current: Met Council unseals 4 bids for construction on SouthWest Light Rail Transit project

Waste & Recycling
Pioneer Press: From organized trash collection to public safety, these teens mean business
Star Tribune: Wonder what those recycled bottles are made into? State Fair display will tell you

Water
Star Tribune: Minnesota lakes holding their own against pollution
Cloquet Pine Journal: Twin Lakes residents worry about arsenic in water
Winona Daily News: Franken visits Wabasha area identified in dredging plans
MPR News: Dangerous algae found in Woodbury’s Carver Lake

Wildlife & Fish
Alexandria Echo Press: Carp removal a solution nobody wants to pay for on Lake Winona
Brainerd Dispatch: Minn. DNR clearing up errors in hunting, trapping handbook
 

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Insider: August 25, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

   

MEP Calls for Better Groundwater Pollution Solution

Today, August 25, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is closing the comment period for its draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule, which theoretically aims to protect Minnesota’s water resources from nitrate pollution as mandated under the 1989 Groundwater Protection Act. In the 28 years since the Act was passed, agricultural nitrate pollution in Minnesota’s groundwater has only become more widespread and severe. Nitrate is among the most widespread water pollutants in the state, threatening ecosystems and drinking water, so new rules on this issue are long overdue. Unfortunately, the Nitrogen Rule as proposed would do little to reverse the problem, and leave Minnesota with fewer tools to tackle pollution in the future.

Firstly, the rule falls far short of the Groundwater Protection Act’s scope. The Act applies to all groundwater, but the MDA’s rules only apply to some groundwater, leaving significant amounts of nitrate unchecked.Secondly, under the proposed rule, the MDA can’t act to regulate groundwater contamination if farm operators adopt certain farming practices, even if those practices fail to protect our drinking water, undermining the rule’s intent and results. And the ruless rely on agricultural best management practices (BMPs) that were designed to maximize farm profit. The practices weren’t intended for use in meeting water quality standards. Even the state acknowledges that those practices won’t solve the problem.

This rule is a solution for the wrong problem, so MEP and our partners have called on the MDA to go back to the drawing board and draft a rule that would help improve Minnesota’s waters. With our coalition partners, we have sent a letter to the MDA urging them to take another look at how we can solve this issue. And we thank more than 200 action takers from around Minnesota for sending emails from our system asking Governor Dayton and the MDA to prioritize fixing this problem using sound practices. With the Governor taking input on how to improve Minnesota’s water quality by 25% by 2025, now is the perfect moment to take bold steps to ensure clean drinking water for generations of Minnesotans.


The Energy Fair comes to St. Paul September 9-10

Join dozens of groups from the clean energy community at The Energy Fair, September 9th and 10th at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul. Admission is FREE to 80+ workshops and 60+ exhibits on sustainable living, community resilience, and clean energy. The fair will feature several speakers from MEP member groups, including keynote speaker Tara Houska of Honor the Earth, as well as Fresh Energy’s Michael Noble. There will be free rides available from Metro Transit and all-electric shuttle from Union Depot. Solar Professional Day September 8th. All access passes and information can be found at TheEnergyFair.org. We hope to see you there!

St. Peter pursues energy efficiency project for city buildings, street lights

(From St. Peter Herald) — The city of St. Peter will upgrade lights and fix buildings to improve energy efficiency. But all of the work will be done by an outside firm, with guaranteed utility savings. The city will pay for the work through borrowing money with the savings as the repayment. Ameresco, Eden Prairie, identified the scope of the project, which totals $2.65 million. The utility and maintenance material savings will equal the cost of the project after about 19 years. “They guarantee the energy savings,” City Administrator Todd Prafke said during Monday’s City Council work session. After the project is complete, Ameresco verifies the energy conservation. >>Read More.


                

Minnesota River makes state’s list of infested waters

(From Montevideo American-News) — The Minnesota Depart­ment of Natural Resources recently announced that the entire Minnesota River has been added to the state’s Infested Waters List. In September of 2016, the DNR confirmed reports of zebra mussels in Lac qui Parle Lake. Recent DNR surveys of the Minne­sota River have discovered adult zebra mussels attached to rocks behind the Granite Falls dam. Zebra mussel larvae, called veligers, were found at four of seven survey sites on the Minnesota River from Montevideo to New Ulm. >>Read More.

Dayton: ‘I am here to listen to you’

(From Marshall Independent) — In some ways, Gov. Mark Dayton said, his work for clean water started in southwest Minnesota. He was reading a 2014 draft report on contaminated water in the region, and was “shocked” by what he learned. On Thursday, the topic of water quality came back to southwest Minnesota at a town hall meeting in Marshall. Dayton told a crowd of area residents that it was their chance to share concerns and ideas for cleaner water in the state. “We each have a shared responsibility,” Dayton said, to see what we can do to protect our water. “I am here to listen to you,” Dayton said. >>Read More.

   


          

photo credit: NASA

Minnesota’s water war

(From MinnPost) — In Minnesota, proposed sulfide mining is a war over water. Foreign mining giants Glencore Xstrata (majority owner of PolyMet) and Antofagasta (sole owner of Twin Metals) are planning to use multibillion gallons of Minnesota’s waters to mine disseminated sulfide deposits containing less than 1 percent metals. When sulfide mining promoters speak of the Duluth Complex, their rhetoric is only in the geological context of metal sulfides.The Duluth Complex, a result of the Midcontinent Rift, is much more than metal sulfides. It is ancient magma, rock, and sediment. It is transformation by searing heat. The forces that formed the Duluth Complex also laid the foundation for Minnesota’s greatest treasure: its waters. >>Read More.

Walter Mondale: We can’t afford to get the mining-vs.-land-protection equation wrong

(From Star Tribune) — The commitment of Minnesotans to protect the land and waters that are now part of our Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness began in 1902. That year, Gen. C.C. Andrews, the Minnesota forestry commissioner, persuaded the U.S. Land Office to withdraw from homesteading 500,000 acres in what is now the Boundary Waters. From 1905 to 1908, the Land Office withdrew another 659,700 acres. This farsighted action paid off handsomely when President Theodore Roosevelt created the Superior National Forest in 1909. The Boundary Waters spreads across 1.1 million acres of this spectacular 3-million-acre National Forest. Now, our government has undertaken study of another sort of land withdrawal to protect the Boundary Waters. >>Read More.


           

Protest shuts down Line 3 construction

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Protesters identifying themselves as water protectors shut down construction for roughly two hours on a section of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement outside Superior on Monday. The event was broadcast and shared on social media, showing vehicles carrying a few dozen protesters as they arrived at around noon to what an Enbridge spokeswoman described as a 12.5-mile segment of the new line that runs along Douglas County Road W. Some protesters wore masks covering their faces and could be seen in videos locking themselves to heavy equipment. Others were overheard telling workers to “go home early,” “stop destroying our mother” and “we’re here to protect the water.” >>Read More.


           

REVOLutioning lettuce, Medford greenhouse bringing the freshest greens

(From Owatanna People’s Press) — Do you know where you lettuce is coming from? In the summer time, chances are it is being grown right in your neck of the woods. As farm-to-table continues to grow more and more popular, people are opting for the “locally grown” section in their grocery stores more often than not. But what happens when our Minnesota summer fades into the white tundra of winter? When the environment is no longer suitable for growing, nearly all the lettuce in the United States is grown in California and Arizona. Once it is harvested, it is packaged and then placed on a truck for a cross-country road trip to our local grocery stores. >>Read More.


                

BAM in Bemidji: Bicycling Around Minnesota makes a stop on tour

(From Bemidji Pioneer) — About 300 cyclists traveled from Walker to Bemidji on Thursday for the Bicycling Around Minnesota 2017 Tour. After the 64-mile trek, more than 200 of them set up camp at the Lake Bemidji waterfront and others are staying in hotels for the 12th annual event. The cyclists will travel to Park Rapids Friday, from there to Staples on Saturday and end back in Walker on Sunday. While in Bemidji, they’ll visit the Beltrami County History Center, the Headwaters Science Center, Bemidji Brewing and also have a concert at the waterfront. Bicycling Around Minnesota also donated a bike rack to the city of Bemidji. “Cycling in North Central Minnesota is one of the most popular tours we do,” said BAM Tour Director Mary Derks in a press release. >>Read More.


Weekly Outdoor Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!            

1. Which state park is Minnesota’s largest?
 

2. What state park, known for its namesake lake, is our oldest and second-largest?
 

3. What mammal forms part of the Ojibwe name for that lake?


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Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

Executive Director, Southwest | Regional Sustainable Development Partnership University of Minnesota Extension

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

State Director | Environment Minnesota

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Trivia Answers: 1) St. Croix State Park. 2) Itasca State Park. 3) Elk


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Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Copyright © 2017
546 Rice Street, Suite 100, Saint Paul, MN 55103
www.mepartnership.org
 

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.

MEP Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule Letter

Posted by

August 25th, 2017

VIA EMAIL

Larry Gunderson
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155
larry.gunderson@mn.state.us

Dear Mr. Gunderson, 

We, the undersigned organizations, thank you for the opportunity to provide written comment on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s proposed two-part Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule.

About MEP
The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.

Groundwater Protection Act of 1989

The 1989 Groundwater Protection Act established the state goal that “groundwater be maintained in its natural condition, free from any degradation caused by human activities.[1] For agricultural chemicals including nitrogen fertilizer, implementation is led by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

Despite comprehensive promotion of nitrogen fertilizer BMPs throughout the state since the Act’s passage, voluntary BMPs have proven insufficient to prevent surface water and groundwater contamination from agricultural sources across the state.  

Nitrate pollution in Minnesota

Groundwater contamination is a serious concern in Minnesota, and contamination of public and private wells represents an imminent public health threat. The MDA notes that nearly 10% of MDA tested private wells in vulnerable areas are already above the Health Risk Limit (HRL), including some townships with 30-40% of private wells unsafe to drink.

Results from comprehensive state groundwater monitoring from 1985-2010 indicate that the rate of detection of nitrate in groundwater is between 50% – 99% of samples in all groundwater regions. Rates of detection and the share of samples in excess of the HRL have increased in 6 of the 7 tested groundwater regions of the state.[2]

 

% Detection

% Above HRL

Groundwater Region

1985- 1999

2000- 2010

% Increase

1985- 1999

2000- 2010

% Increase

Region 1 (Northwest)

6

50

44

0

8

+8

Region 4 (Central)

73

97

24

38

62

+24

Region 5 (East Central)

74

93

19

44

50

+6

Region 6 (West Central)

25

56

31

8

17

+9

Region 7 (Southwest)

34

56

22

6

29

+23

Region 8 (South Central)

18

62

44

7

19

+12

Region 9 (Southeast)

83

99

16

35

22

-13

The Groundwater Protection Act clearly states that if voluntary BMP adoption proves insufficient to achieve the goals of the Act, the MDA has authority to adopt mandatory requirements.”[3]

Given the state of groundwater contamination in Minnesota, we conclude that voluntary BMP adoption has proven ineffective. We strongly support the MDA’s decision to establish enhanced regulatory protections against nitrate contamination via the proposed rules.  

Comments on the Proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule
The MDA is proposing a two-part Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule: 

  • Part 1: The first part of the rule will apply to areas of the state overlying vulnerable groundwater. In these vulnerable groundwater areas, nitrogen fertilizer applications either in the fall or to frozen soils will have restrictions. We strongly support this portion of the draft rule.
  • Part 2: The second part of the rule will apply to areas where measured nitrate levels in drinking water are elevated and it has been determined that the nitrogen fertilizer Best Management Practices (BMPs) are not being adopted.

We respectfully submit the following comments detailing our concerns with Part 2 of the proposed rule, including the following:

  • Failure to protect all groundwater as required by the 1989 Groundwater Protection Act
  • Inappropriate mitigation level criteria
  • Reliance on profit-based nitrogen fertilizer best management practices (BMPs)
  • Slow pace of intervention

Failure to protect all groundwater resources
The MDA’s proposed rule fails to achieve the clearly stated non-degradation goal of the Groundwater Protect Act, and unreasonably limits application of the Groundwater Protection Act to drinking water resources instead of applying the law to protect all groundwater as directed by the Act.

  1. The MDA’s proposed rule fails to achieve the clearly stated non-degradation goal of the Groundwater Protect Act. The intent of the Act is to prevent groundwater degradation. Reducing pollution is simply not synonymous with preventing degradation. However, the MDA’s stated goal for the draft rule is to “…reduce nitrate in groundwater…”,[4] and proposes only to deploy Part 2 of the rule once groundwater has become contaminated. This approach is incompatible with the clearly stated goals of the Act.
  2. The MDA’s proposed rule unreasonably limits application of the Groundwater Protection Act to drinking water resources instead of applying the law to protect all groundwater as directed by the Act. Instead of applying the Act to all groundwater, the MDA’s approach appears to eliminate application of the Act in areas with significant groundwater contamination where shallow groundwater wells are not a source of public or private drinking water. The MDA has a responsibility to apply the law based on clearly established legislative intent, and must apply its authority to prevent groundwater contamination regardless of whether or not groundwater is used as a drinking water source.

Inappropriate mitigation level criteria

The thresholds for Level 3 & Level 4 mitigation level criteria for private wells are excessively lenient to the detriment of public health, economic growth, and the basic principles of fairness and accountability.

The draft rule, as written, limits the State’s ability to deploy regulatory mitigation criteria when profit-derived BMPs are being adopted, even if drinking water contamination levels continue to exceed the Health Risk Limit. The MDA is proposing to hamstring its own ability to deploy regulatory measures in the event of a public health crisis simply because a given percentage of farm operations have adopted BMPs that were never intended to prevent drinking water contamination in the first place[5], and which the MDA acknowledges are not sufficient to meet the goals of the Act.[6]

Reliance on profit-based nitrogen fertilizer best management practices (BMPs)

The MDA is proposing to use adoption rates of profit-based nitrogen fertilizer use recommendations as a substitute for actually achieving the goals of the Groundwater Protection Act and securing safe drinking water for all Minnesotans. 

The MDA is proposing to prohibit Level 3 & Level 4 regulatory intervention based on adoption rates of nutrient BMPs that were simply never intended to prevent drinking water contamination in the first place. The proposed BMPs were instead created to maximize farm profit even at application rates the state acknowledges lead to extremely high concentrations of nitrate in farm runoff.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s 2015 Nutrient Fertilizer Management Plan (NRMP) states that “…in areas with highly vulnerable groundwater, the use of nitrogen fertilizer at the recommended rate, timing, source and placement…may not be enough to decrease the amount of nitrate leaching into groundwater to meet water quality goals.”[7]

The MDA has yet to provide any reasonable explanation as to how nitrogen fertilization rates that yield pollution concentrations in excess of the Health Risk Limit can possibly comply with the goals of the Groundwater Protection Act, let alone adequately protect public health.                           

Slow pace of intervention
The rule makes it clear that under the increasingly remote scenario where the MDA would choose to intervene with Level 3 & Level 4 mitigation, it plans to do so at an alarmingly slow pace. The rule prescribes a lengthy mitigation level evaluation process that takes at least 3 years if not far longer to implement. Requiring such a time-consuming and expensive multi-step process simply to further encourage farm operations to apply fertilizer at their economically optimal rate poses an unfair risk to public health and drinking water quality throughout Minnesota.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the MDA’s proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule.

We look forward to working with the MDA and all water quality stakeholders to revise the current draft to better protect groundwater resources for all Minnesotans as required by the 1989 Groundwater Protection Act.

Sincerely,

Steve Morse
Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Sierra Club, North Star Chapter
League of Women Voters Minnesota
Izaak Walton League of America – Minnesota Division
Mankato Area Environmentalists
Save Our Blue Sky Waters
Clean up the River Environment
Minnesota Conservation Federation

[1] Min. Stat. 103H.001 Degradation Protection Goal. Available at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=103H.001

[2] Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 2015. Nutrient Fertilizer Management Plan. Page 131.

[3] Minn. Stat. §§ 103H. 275, subd. 1 (b) and 103H.005, subd.14

[4] Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 2017. Draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule Presentation. Slide 7. http://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/fertilizers/nutrient-mgmt/nitrogenplan/mitigation/wrpr/wrprprocess/~/media/Files/chemicals/nfmp/nfrpresentation.pdf

[5] Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 2015. Nutrient Fertilizer Management Plan. Page 41. Available at: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/~/media/Files/chemicals/nfmp/nfmp2015.pdf

[6] Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 2015. Nutrient Fertilizer Management Plan. Page 57. Available at: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/~/media/Files/chemicals/nfmp/nfmp2015.pdf

[7] Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 2015. Nutrient Fertilizer Management Plan. Page 57. Available at: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/~/media/Files/chemicals/nfmp/nfmp2015.pdf

News Watch: August 24

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August 24, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Conservation, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Transportation, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Star Tribune: Farmers across U.S. come to aid of drought-stricken North Dakota
Owatanna People’s Press: REVOLutionizing lettuce, Medford greenhouse bringing the freshest greens
Star Tribune: Retiring Andover farmers struggle to find someone to continue their work
Pioneer Press: Cargill takes state in non-traditional meat producer

Clean Energy
Winona Daily News: Winona City Council further exploring solar energy
St Peter Herald: St. Peter pursues energy efficiency project for city buildings, streetlights

Climate Change
MPR News: Trump disbands climate change panel, but its work may continue

Conservation
Star Tribune: Minneapolis Convention Center earns environmental certification
MinnPost: Ashpocalypse now: New report says all of Minneapolis’ ash trees will eventually need to be removed
MPR News: Zinke won’t remove any national monuments

Mining
MinnPost: Minnesota’s water war
Star Tribune: Walter Mondale: We can’t afford to get the mining-vs.-land-protection equation wrong
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota proposes new rule to protect wild rice
The Timberjay: Nolan’s talk is cheap

Oil & Pipelines
Duluth News Tribune: Protest shuts down Line 3 construction
Bismarck Tribune: Company behind Dakota Access oil pipeline sues Greenpeace
Duluth News Tribune: Enbridge CEO: ‘No assumptions’ on Line 3 approval

Parks & Trails
Pioneer Press: Inver Grove Heights pulls back plan to sell neighborhood park
St. Cloud Times: Lake Wobegon trail extension starts, expected to be done by spring
La Crosse Tribune: MVA plans guided tour of Onalaska Canoe Trail

Pollinators
Bemidji Pioneer: Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly Festival on Saturday
ABC Newspapers: Solar Honey Swirl ice cream at the State Fair

Transportation
Rochester Post Bulletin: Stewartville to start sharing Rolling Hills Transit bus with Chatfield
Winona Post: Tracks, bikes, and guard rails on Riverview Drive
 
Water
Star Tribune: Dangerous algae levels put Edina lake off limits to people, pets
Forum of Fargo-Moorhead: ND Water Commission approves funds for water supply, Grand Forks treatment plant projects

Wildlife & Fish
St. Cloud Times: Catch me if you can: Divers hope to clear Grand Lake of starry stonewort before it spreads
MPR News: Invasive plant found in Big Axe Lake in Hubbard County

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News Watch: August 21

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August 21, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Conservation, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Rochester Post Bulletin: Interest in soil health field days on the rise
MPR News: A new generation of farmers faces mounting challenges

Clean Energy
MinnPost: Minnesota has the best community solar program – here’s why
West Central Tribune: Chippewa County approves road agreement for wind farm
Marshall Independent: Wind turbines in Lincoln County to be refurbished
Star Tribune: Hiccups are weighing on Arden Hills’ Rice Creek Commons project
Pioneer Press: A solar farm for 100 homes: A first for St. Paul, and the state

Conservation
St. Cloud Times: A recycling bin here, a geothermal system there: St. Cloud VA gets greener

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota changes wild rice rules from sulfate to sulfide
St. Cloud Times: Emmer can’t ignore those who his bills impact

Oil & Pipelines
Bemidji Pioneer: Twin Cities teens paddle against pipelines
City Pages: Enbridge pipeline in Minnesota brings protest, and a tribal liaison’s “abrupt” resignation
MPR News: Line 3 oil pipeline environmental review released

Parks & Trails
Winona Daily News: Camping in Minnesota on the rise, Winona-area parks see same trend
Star Tribune: Minnesota zoo envisions itself as a gateway to state parks

Pollinators
Cloquet Pine Journal: Make the world a better place for pollinators
Mankato Free Press: Hummingbird admirers flock to Henderson for annual festival
Park Rapids Enterprise: ‘Operation Pollinator’ is good, but RDO can do more

Pollution
Aitkin Independent Age: Pesticide drift is a large problem
Star Tribune: Mercury regulations putting Grand Marais in awkward spot
Mankato Free Press: Our View: Little particles could become big problem
Star Tribune: Minneapolis City Council backs off plastic bag fee

Transportation
Star Tribune: Chaska considers a pedestrian-friendly vision for downtown block

Waste & Recycling
Sun Focus: Ramsey County seeks public input on solid waste management master plan
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: Single stream recycling arrives soon in FF
 
Water
Star Tribune: Dangerous toxic algae levels put Edina lake off limits to people, pets
Marshall Independent: Dayton: “I am here to listen”
Alexandria Echo Press: Weekend rain strains sewer plant’s capacity
West Central Tribune: Renville SWCD ready to assist homeowners in meeting buffer law

Wildlife & Fish
Duluth News Tribune: Researchers finding ample elk habitat in areas near Duluth
 

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