Large deposits of copper, nickel, cobalt, and other minerals in northeastern Minnesota could provide huge economic and employment benefits to the state while becoming an important source of important metals for the country. However, the mining required to extract them could have significant water quality impacts in a region that includes the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness and other environmentally sensitive watersheds.
This project will support a civic engagement cohort that will be offered in southwest Minnesota to foster partnering and build capacity of local government, organizations, and residents for effective civic engagement in water protection and restoration. This project will also build networks and the skill set of local resource professionals to do effective civic engagement work for water restoration and protection. The cohort will be administered through the Minnesota River Board (MRB), established in 1995 with a goal of focusing water management efforts on the local level.
Minnesota has 9.5 million acres of public forest lands that play an important role in sustaining Minnesota’s environment and economy. The policies and programs used by public timber sale programs can impact post-harvest ecological conditions and have pronounced effects on the composition, structure, and productivity of the forest in the future. Additionally, timber harvesting revenues play an important role in economic activity, employment, and tax revenue.
Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area, is amongst Minnesota’s greatest natural resources providing drinking water, shipping, recreation, and tourism. Recently the lake has been undergoing significant changes including increasing water temperatures, decreasing ice cover, increasing nutrient loads, decreasing biological productivity, increasing invasive species, and changes in species abundance and distribution. The reasons behind these changes and the interactions amongst them are not well understood.
Minnesota has 15.9 million acres of forest land managed by a variety of county, state and federal agencies, and private landowners for timber production, wildlife habitat, and ecological considerations. Forest managers rely on inventory data to make effective planning and management decisions. Because forests are continually changing through natural and human processes, forest inventory data is periodically updated. However, doing so is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor and, as a result, much of Minnesota’s forest inventory data is currently out of date.
Woody biomass energy systems have shown themselves to offer more locally-based, stable energy supplies for some communities. Itasca Community College is using this appropriation to design a renewable energy system based on woody biomass that will serve as a demonstration and educational tool in the region.
This project will dentify critical pathways and areas on the landscape that contribute a disproportionate amount of sediment stressors to selected streams located in LS South and/or LS North HUC 8 watersheds. Unlike other HUC 8 watersheds with one mainstem stream and nested tributaries to the mainstem, LS South and North consist of numerous individual streams flowing to Lake Superior. Each of these streams has a mainstem, tributaries flowing to the mainstem and a surrounding watershed.
Native to the western United States and Canada, mountain pine beetle is considered the most devastating forest insect in North America. Trees usually die as a result of infestation and an unprecedented outbreak in the west is currently decimating pine forests there. While mountain pine beetle is not presently believed to reside in Minnesota, there are risks posed by an expanding species range resulting from warming climate and the potential for accidental introduction via lumber imports from infested areas.
The project goal is to assist the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) with meeting the objectives of the Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG) to conduct field and water chemistry monitoring at MPCA specified lake sampling locations and stream locations. This will be accomplished by collecting water samples at seven lake sites and eight streams in the Kettle and Upper St. Croix Watersheds, as well as compiling and submitting the required data, information and reports.
The Seven Mile Creek Condition Monitoring project will maintain and build on the continuous flow and water quality data base at three stream sites and one county tile in the Seven Mile Creek watershed through the collection of approximately eighty five water samples per monitoring season in preparation for the Middle Minnesota Intensive Watershed Monitoring scheduled to begin in 2013.
This project will generate water quality data for 10 stream locations MPCA designated for their 2012 and 2013 open-water sampling seasons (8 by NRRI-UMD and 2 via subcontract to the North St. Louis SWCD). The overall project goal is to collect event-based physical and chemical data sets for 10 agency-prioritized stream sampling sites in NE Minnesota for calculating pollutant loads and for incorporation into the overall State database for MPCA assessment purposes.
This project will provide complementary (same year) physical and chemical data sets for three MPCA prioritized lakes in NE Minnesota to incorporate into the overall State database for MPCA assessment purposes as well as research purposes.