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DULUTH, Minn.—Even as zebra mussels, starry stonewort weed and giant Asian carp invade more of Minnesota's waterways, the state Department of Natural Resources is eliminating aquatic invasive-species grants to local groups due to a budget shortfall. In a recent email sent to local government agencies and nonprofit groups like lake associations that conduct invasive-species education and control efforts, the DNR announced it will not offer the grants for the summer 2018 or 2019 seasons.
DULUTH — Friday night's newfallen snow put a damper on beach cleanup efforts along Duluth's waterfront Sunday, Nov. 12, but volunteers still turned out to help. "It's really hard to see most of it under the snow, but we got some," said Lee Johnson who was cleaning up the beach near the Endion Station along the lake. He said the morning's haul included a pair of jeans and a car muffler. Johnson lives in Duluth's Piedmont neighborhood but came down Sunday morning, volunteering to clean up the beach that remains strewn with refuse after the Oct. 27 windstorm.
DULUTH — It took eight years, 700 volunteers and thousands of hours in the field but Minnesota has its first new breeding bird atlas since 1936. The new, interactive online atlas is considered the bible of Minnesota's native birds, documenting species that nest and raise their young in the state's forests, prairies, suburbs and cities. Volunteers joined researchers from the University of Minnesota Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute and Audubon Minnesota, fanning out across 2,353 townships — some 99.5 percent of the state.
DULUTH — If state administrative law Judge LauraSue Schlatter agrees that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency proposal to protect wild rice from sulfate is officially "reasonable," she will be among the few people to publicly say so. Schlatter's job in coming months will be to pore over testimony about the PCA sulfate standard and determine whether the proposal is legal, follows state rules and is needed and reasonable. So far, after multiple public hearings, it seems almost everyone is saying it's not.
ELY, Minn. — The chief executive of Chilean mining giant Antofagasta said his company is preparing an environmental impact assessment for its proposed Twin Metals copper mine near Ely despite federal roadblocks still in place. Ivan Arriagada told Reuters in London earlier this week that he's hopeful the Trump administration will reverse the Obama administration's decision to rescind the company's mining exploration permits for the project proposed for Superior National Forest land.
MINNEAPOLIS—When U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and former Vice President Walter Mondale spoke at the University of Minnesota on Sunday, an event timed to the 15th anniversary of the death of Minnesota political icon Paul Wellstone, the subject was how Democrats could regain their lost mojo. The party is at a crossroads, promoters of the event noted, with Republicans controlling the White House, Congress and two-thirds of governorships and state legislatures nationwide.
VIRGINIA, Minn. — James Larson says he drives past a lake near his home in Aurora, Minnesota, and, if the rainfall has been right, sees a flourishing stand of wild rice. "Every year it gets thicker and thicker and thicker," said Larson, a union employee at United Taconite. Larson's comments joined a chorus of Iron Range residents, business and civic leaders who asked state Administrative Law Judge LauraSue Schlatter to reject the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's proposed rule to limit sulfate and sulfides in waters where wild rice grows.
DULUTH—Two Duluth-area conservation officers chased down two suspected poachers Saturday night, Oct. 21, in what became a haunting tale of paranormal behavior. Conservation officers Andy Schmidt and Kipp Duncan, who patrol the Duluth area for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, were staking out a cemetery near where there had been recent complaints of people "shining" deer.
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.—With a rising population of wolves and more of them attacking livestock and pets, a federal program to trap and kill problem wolves in northern Minnesota has run out of money. While Great Lakes-region wolves are currently protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, they are listed as officially "threatened" in Minnesota — a step below endangered that allows U.S. Department of Agriculture trappers to kill wolves where livestock and pets have been killed.
DULUTH, Minn.—One week before public hearings begin on Minnesota's proposed new rules for protecting wild rice from sulfate pollution, the state's mining industry, Steelworkers and Iron Range officials and activists are restating their fervent opposition. Critics say the new rule could cause increased regulation for taconite iron ore processing operations and some municipal sewage treatment plants. If the new rules are applied and enforced, critics say it could cost millions of dollars for the mining companies to comply, spurring mine shutdowns and layoffs.