It’s finally (or already!) November and the leaves have fallen from the trees. Well, not quite all of them. If you take a close look at a nearby forest, you’ll likely notice a dense layer of green still present in the shrub layer. What are these shrubs and why are they still green when other species have all dropped their leaves? In and around the Twin Cities, it’s a good bet that these shrubs are either common buckthorn or one of a few species of bush honeysuckles, and their “distinctive phenology” actually plays a large part in their success in Minnesota’s forest ecosystems.
A layer of green on an otherwise gray and brown backdrop is evidence of buckthorn’s distinctive phenology.
Milkweed seeds ready to be scattered by the wind. Photo by Tom Lewanski
A plant must move for its kind to survive.
Buffers of perennial vegetation help protect Minnesota's land, water, and wildlife
One of FMR's top priorities during this year's legislative session was passage of Governor Dayton's much-discussed Buffer Initiative. While a substantially revised (and watered-down) version of Governor Dayton's proposal did become law, implementation of the law will be critical to its success.
A rendering of the proposed Saint Paul River Balcony from the Great River Passage Plan.
On September 24, St. Paul Mayor Coleman presented the city's latest vision to improve the connections between the Mississippi River and downtown Saint Paul while improving the parkland and connections along the river between the Science Museum and the Union Depot.
We received several correct responses this month, and a couple of them provided some history about this special place on the river.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, FMR is making a documentary about our very own national park, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. The film tells the story of the effort to get Congress to designate the park, explores the meaning of this legacy, and stresses the need for continued stewardship and advocacy on the park's behalf. Check it out!
The U.S. EPA’s Clean Water Rule, an update to the Clean Water Act of 1972, went into effect on August 28, 2015. Before the rule was finalized, North Dakota led 13 states in challenging the legality of the rule, exempting them from the rule until the courts make a decision. Now others are questioning whether enforcement of the rule in all states should halt while the courts decide its legality.
In spite of numerous yet unsuccessful attempts to build a hydroelectric power plant at St. Anthony Falls, Crown Hydro LLC is giving it another try. Their most recent proposal is not garnering much support, however, and many folks—including the City of Minneapolis and the National Park Service are saying it’s time for Crown to go back to the drawing board.
An adult lacewing
Who knew creatures of night are fascinated by dishwashing?
Earlier this month, Governor Mark Dayton signed an executive order creating a Governor's Committee to Advise the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). While the new group, which will consist of eight members plus the MPCA Commissioner, won't have the same authority as the recently abolished MPCA Citizens Board, the committee creates an important a forum for public input on environmental decision-making by the agency.