Sign the Petition:
Search OCA:
Get Local!

Find Local News, Events & Green Businesses on OCA's State Pages:

OCA News Sections

Organic Consumers Association

Perfect Storm Threatens Minnesota's Natural Resources and Heritage

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Minnesota News page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

Call it a perfect storm -- an unprecedented confluence of myriad environmental threats facing Minnesota and those charged with protecting its natural resources.

The barrage threatens fish, wildlife and a way of life for many residents.

The threats are so large, complex and widespread, often involving multiple states, government agencies and jurisdictions, that it's fair to ask whether Minnesota can effectively tackle them -- never mind solve them.

And some wonder if residents care enough to support the fight.

"It's frustrating that citizens aren't more engaged and pounding on the doors of our elected leaders on these issues,'' said Steve Morse, executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, a legislative umbrella organization for state environmental groups.

A look back underscores the scope of today's threats.

Thirty years ago, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Alexander wrestled with wetland conservation, creating a new state park on the North Shore, building public accesses on Lake Minnetonka, managing the fledgling elk herd in northwestern Minnesota, and reducing the then-record whitetail deer harvest.

Current DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr faces numerous fish and wildlife issues, including controversial wolf, deer and fish management issues, as well as:

• The spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp into state waters, potentially changing entire ecosystems and perhaps fisheries.

• The continued loss of hundreds of thousands of acres of grasslands and wildlife habitat that had been enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program, losses driven by global agricultural and economic factors that will impact pheasants, ducks and other wildlife.

• Potential landscape-changing mining of copper, nickel and other minerals in northeastern Minnesota near the BWCA, and "frac sand'' mining in southeastern Minnesota, which could affect that area's trout streams.

• The depletion of ground-water aquifers being tapped by industry, agriculture and residents, highlighted by a lawsuit filed recently against the DNR over low water levels in White Bear Lake.

• Climate change, which appears to be affecting not only survival of the state's iconic moose, but such coldwater fish as tullibees, which have seen more midsummer dieoffs, as well as forests.


>>> Read the Full Article

For more information on this topic or related issues you can search the thousands of archived articles on the OCA website using keywords: