Through heat, rain and mosquitos, eight dedicated FMR volunteers surveyed a patch of milkweed plants throughout the summer, hunting for the eggs and larvae of monarch butterflies. Their efforts, combined with hundreds of others', help researchers better understand the complex ecological needs of our iconic, declining monarchs. >>
Monarchs face a complex array of threats, but volunteers are acquiring much-needed data to help the embattled species survive.
FMR worked closely with neighborhood groups and local artist Gustavo Lira to design St. Paul's first storm-drain mural. The koi fish represents Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, the music notes Como Dockside and the snapping turtle Como Lake.
When you think of a storm drain, what do you see? The concrete of the street, perhaps a metal grate. How about a pathway to our local lakes or the Mighty Mississippi? Or a large beautiful painting that helps illustrate this connection with our local waters?
Now you can check out such a work of art along Como Lake in St. Paul. The result of an 18-month collaborative partnership, the new mural is the first of its kind in St. Paul, possibly in the metro. >>
Annual crops planted in rows, like corn and soybeans, are treated with nitrate fertilizers that are increasingly ending up in Minnesotan's drinking water. (Photo by Weekly Grist, Joe Dempsey.)
We can all agree that clean, safe drinking water should be accessible and affordable for everyone regardless of geography or income. Sadly, that’s not the case for many Minnesotans.
Nitrate used in cropland fertilizer is a leading source of drinking water contamination in Minnesota. Although essential for plant growth and health, excess nitrate harms aquatic life and human health and drives the formation of the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. It's also extremely costly to Greater Minnesota communities.
That’s why FMR is working with our conservation allies to strengthen a new Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule – one of the few places in state law where regulators can require row-crop farming operations, the biggest source of nitrates, to reduce pollution to our waters. >>
After spending millions to demolish city and county-owned buildings built into and atop the bluff just west of where Wabasha bridge meets downtown, St. Paul and Ramsey County are once again looking for a developer to return the site to the tax rolls and strengthen St. Paul's riverfront.
The redevelopment of the former West Publishing and county jail site on the bluffs of the Mississippi in downtown St. Paul hit another snag recently when the landowner, Ramsey County, and the prospective developer, Cardon Development Group, decided to part ways. The county is now considering plans that call for less parking.
FMR has been closely following efforts to redevelop the site and recently served on a task force formed by the county and the city to provide guidance. >>
Many FMR supporters recognized this spot and the ruins of the first and northernmost lock and dam on the Mississippi River where St. Paul meets Minneapolis. >>
The paired, bright red berries of bush honeysuckles are easy to spot in the fall. Unfortunately, their beauty belies some serious negative effects on our feathered friends.
Each fall, two common invasive plants produce starkly colored berries: European buckthorn bears shiny jet-black fruit while bush honeysuckle produces brilliant red to yellow berries. Unfortunately, birds that dine on the fruit not only spread the invasives' seed but are negatively impacted by the berries themselves — they can even disrupt some birds' mating patterns! >>
Water levels in White Bear Lake have fallen due to excessive pumping from the aquifer underneath the lake.
In a sweeping order, Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan faulted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for authorizing unsustainable groundwater pumping; depleting the aquifer and artificially lowering water levels in White Bear Lake. The ruling could have widespread implications for groundwater management in Minnesota.
We asked readers what inspires them to reflect upon the river and received a wide range of thoughtful and beautifully written responses. May you enjoy their poems and stories as much as we did!
This issue features works by Ellen Fee, Chelsi Kahl, Jim Larson, Christine Bronk, Linda Moua, Margie O'Laughlin, Sarah Degner Riveros, Willow Thompson and Justin Florey. >>
Looking for a place to direct friends or family interested in advocating for the river, check out our new River Guardians page. You can take action, check out previous action alerts and FMR's advocacy letters on behalf of members, and see a map (soon to be interactive!) of FMR's current advocacy projects.
And, of course, if you haven't already, you can sign up to be an FMR River Guardian.
Ever wonder what keeps FMR ecologists up at night? Buckthorn and crown vetch may have pretty glossy leaves or flowers, but for anyone who cares about wildlife, they're a serious threat to forest and prairie habitat in the metro river corridor.
Join FMR ecologist Alex Roth for a walk through our most common invasives: buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, garlic mustard, burdock, spotted knapweed and crown vetch. Along the way, you'll learn why they matter and how to identify and remove them in your own back yard. All in two minutes!
Thank you Tom Reiter and Will Stock for creating this wonderful video!