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Mississippi River News

Endangered species recovery at FMR restoration sites

A trio of endangered species recently found at FMR conservation and restoration sites.

A trio of endangered species recently found at FMR conservation and restoration sites. Left to right: Loggerhead shrike, Blanchard's cricket frog and Henslow's sparrow. Photos by Terry Ross, Greg Schecter and Scott Krych.

Plant and animal populations decline for many reasons — habitat loss, climate change, pollution and other factors. The Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973 to prevent the decline and extinction of at-risk species and aid their recovery. At FMR, one of the ways we can best benefit endangered species is through the enhancement or restoration of native habitat. FMR’s many restoration sites do just that, providing much-needed habitat for both common and endangered plants and animals.

While the Endangered Species Act has benefitted countless species, we’d like to think our restorations have as well. We've spotted three endangered species — loggerhead shrike, Blanchard's cricket frog and Henslow's sparrow — at our sites so far this year! 

August 8

Conjunction dysfunction: A $100 million typo may lead to a special session

After Gov. Mark Dayton's pocket veto of the tax bill, a special session appears more likely this month. The governor chose not to sign the bill as it contained a $100 million wording error (an "or" instead of an "and"), letting the clock run out and preventing it from becoming law. A June special session will be needed to correct and re-pass the essential bill, making it likely the Minnesota Legislature will also tackle important transportation and bonding business left undone, including vital funding for state water quality improvements.

June 7

(Video) 'Rebirth: The Mississippi's National Park'

Produced for FMR by award-winning local filmmakers John Kaul and Tom Reiter, and narrated by Minnesota Public Radio's Steve Seel, this 30-minute documentary tells the story of how one man’s vision — combined with smart citizen advocacy and effective political leadership — created the Mississippi River's first and only national park right here in the Twin Cities. Enjoy the film online, request a copy for your local library, school or organization. 

May 27

Senate budget bill approved; Fully funds FMR priorities

The Minnesota Senate voted 39 to 24 in favor of the Senate Omnibus Finance Bill on Thursday, April 28. The bill includes several of FMR's top environmental initiatives, including The Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program and funding for the Forever Green Initiative.

May 3

Dayton's water quality summit a go. Help set the agenda!

Mid-January, Governor Dayton announced that his administration will host the Governor's Water Summit in St. Paul on Saturday, Feb. 27th. FMR and our conservation partners are working with the administration to help shape the summit and provide a much-needed focus on ideas that can help address agricultural water pollution, the largest source of pollution to the Mississippi River. Summit registration has closed, but you can still play a role and help set its agenda by taking the Governor's Clean Water Summit Survey.

January 17

New report highlights major flaws in state's agricultural water quality certification program

The MAWQCP may declare farm fields to be meeting water quality goals when limited data suggests that farm pollution levels may greatly exceed state standards.

In January 2012, the state announced plans to launch the newly created Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). While the concept of a farm certification program has promise, FMR has serious concerns the state implementation of the program.

These concerns are validated in a new report from our friends at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA).

December 14

New visitor center is centerpiece of Fort Snelling’s 2020 vision

Picture of Fort Snelling

As Fort Snelling approaches it’s bicentennial in 2020, the Minnesota Historical Society is gearing up for exciting changes to the site, including a new visitor center, improved trails and wayfinding, less surface parking, and a renewed focus on the historical significance of this special place perched high above the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.

December 9