Green Visions

A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m.  Green Visions is brought to you by All Energy Solar, Minnesota Power Energy Conservation Program, and Energy Plus.

Fresh Energy

And now for a little good news:

Minnesota has reached the public eomment phase of its draft Clean Cars Standard.

Winona LaDuke

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has no fewer than three requests to stay the Line 3 construction project, pending further consideration of what Frank Bibeau calls "the substantive issues."

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Need a new hobby? A reason to get some fresh air in the woods? Want to help Minnesota’s forests grow healthy and strong? The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has an opportunity for you. The DNR needs hundreds of bushels of black spruce cones within the next few weeks to meet state and county spruce seed orders for spring 2021 reforestation efforts. Seeds from the nursery are used to reforest about 6,000 acres of black spruce in Minnesota each year.

International Maritime Organization/Flickr

Invasive species are particularly hard on Minnesota, wreaking havoc on outdoor recreation, pumping stations and other infrastructure, and costing the Great Lakes $200 million a year.

But the EPA's proposed new ballast water standards, intended to limit the damage of invasive species but released in October to a mere 30 day public comment period, give lakers a free pass from having to treat ballast water.

Copyright Dr. Donn Branstrator. Used with permission.

Behold the spiny water flea: a single black eye, a barbed tail, and it reproduces asexually.  Small fish, like young walleyes and yellow perch, can't eat it because of the spiny tail.

Then to add insult to injury, it turns around and eats the very things those same young fish eat - and out-competes them -  leading to slower-growing bigger fish. Plus it's decimating populations of the zooplankton that help keep algae in check and lake systems in balance.

Taji Joseph from "Eyewitness: Minnesota Voices on Climate Change"

Climate Generation - and apparently a lot of Minnesotans - want the state legislature to be able to hit the ground running when they reconvene January 5.

Honor the Earth

Winona LaDuke is angry, and she's not pulling any punches.

Enbridge is prepared to begin construction on the controversial Line 3 project next Tuesday, and LaDuke, a longtime environmental activist and the executive director of Honor the Earth, is fed up.

"This is a disaster for the environment, civil rights and the government," she says.  "The least the governor could do is issue a stay.

"We would like the dogs called off. Enbridge wants to push this through before the pandemic is over and in the middle of winter. And that's wrong."

Michael Joyce/NRRI

When studies started showing that fishers (think big weasel) were declining in northern Minnesota, the DNR and wildlife biologists got concerned.

Michael Joyce, wildlife biologist with the NRRI got a team together, built 100 den boxes out of wood, strapped the 52-lb. boxes to frame packs and schlepped them out into the wilderness in hopes that with safe places to raise their families, fisher populations could start making a comeback.

Kate Likes to Draw/Facebook

Kate Young is a huge fan of native plants.  And people.  And turning people into native plants - or native plants into people - through her art.

Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

UMD's Jennifer Kreps Frisch is pretty excited about teaching teachers how to get their students outside.

And that was before she knew it was due to hit 70°F today.

You would think teachers - college professors or those who hope to become teachers when they graduate - would be the last people to have anything good to say about the effects of the pandemic on their profession, but Frisch says this is a chance to allow teachers to do what they do best: think on their feet and build on the relationships they've created with their students.

If you mention "natural gas" to Melissa Partin, she's likely as not to correct you.

Michigan Sea Grant/Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative


You say "frag-MITE-eez," not "FRAG-mites."

But the most important thing to know about phragmites is that it's an invasive, non-native species, not to be confused with native phragmites.

The invasives came to America originally from central and eastern Europe, and they've been marching steadily - if slowly - across the continent from New England.

Now the Community Action Duluth Stream Corps, headed by Brandon Van Tassel, is tasked with getting rid of the plants, which are a perfect topic of conversation this close to Halloween.

Brandon Knott

Dr. Brandon Knott and the other members of the international team working on a better way to recycle plastics are excited about their work.

For one thing, they're trying to solve a problem that everyone "gets," more or less.

Here's the deal: when you recycle plastics these days, it's done with machines that grind them up, melt them down, and make new stuff out of them.

St. Louis River Alliance

For decades, the St. Louis River Alliance has been leading the charge to heal the badly polluted St. Louis River.

Spurred by the enthusiasm of more and more people drawn every year to the water to volunteer, recreate or just sit and watch the water flow by, the St. Louis River has continued its comeback story.

From cleaning up the pollution left by decades of dumping in the river, to fostering habitat for wild rice, sturgeons and piping plovers, people have been working hard to heal the St. Louis River.