Media shines spotlight on FMR staff and creative solutions for vexing river issues

FMR staff, camelina, carp, buckthorn

FMR staff Trevor Russell, Colleen O'Connor Toberman and Alex Roth (above left to right) spoke with reporters about clean-water crops, carp and buckthorn this month. (Photo of clean-water-crop winter camelina bottom left by Dodd Demas; invasive carp photo top center by D. O'Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant)

Several FMR staff stepped into the media spotlight this month to promote solutions for vexing pollution, recreation and habitat issues facing the Mississippi River and its watershed. 

Landmark report shows path to clean water

On MPR, listen to FMR Water Program Director Trevor Russell and reporter Kirsti Marohn discuss the power of clean-water crops.

The radio segment and article — Tackling the 'big brown spot': Keeping fields in living cover could be path to reducing nitrate — was the first of many media pieces spurred by the release of the "Putting Down Roots" report.

Star Tribune, Agweek and over a dozen media outlets across the state took note of the report, a joint project of FMR, the Forever Green Partnership and Ecotone Analytics. We look forward to the first-of-its-kind, landmark report spurring coverage of innovative and profitable "continuous living cover crops" that benefit the health of our Mississippi River, our drinking water and even our climate for years to come.

Our last chance to address invasive carp?

Hear FMR Land Use & Planning Program Director Colleen O'Connor Toberman discuss the harmful invasive carp making their way up the Mississippi River on the WCCO Outdoor News Radio podcast with Rob Drieslien (16:25-28:00). (Before you tune in, please note FMR exclusively uses and supports the term "invasive carp.")

On the heels of the biggest capture of these destructive fish yet in Minnesota's stretch of the Mississippi River, Colleen talks about solutions that FMR and our Invasive Carp Coalition partners have long advocated.

You can learn more about these solutions at our upcoming public meetings (Jan. 24 and 30, and Feb. 1), during which the DNR is expected to detail its newly updated Invasive Carp Action Plan. (Colleen is currently working with reporters covering the just-released plan. We'll be sure to share an update in the February issue of Mississippi Messages.)

A new way to preserve habitat and reduce European buckthorn?

In the January-February 2024 edition of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine, FMR Conservation Director Alex Roth discusses FMR's work advancing a new way to reduce the spread of invasive buckthorn shrubs to protect wildlife habitat and preserve natural areas, especially in urban areas.

First covered in the November 2023 issue of Mississippi Messages by FMR Lead Ecoloigst Laura Domyancich-Lee — "A new tool in our toolbox for buckthorn control: Critical period cutting" — the method has also received notice in beloved local media outlets and blogs like East Metro Water by Angie Hong

Not sure what buckthorn looks like? Or why it's so important to reduce its environmental dominance? Come along on a 2-minute video "invasive species walk" with Alex or check out this identification illustration on Instagram

Thank you, volunteers and River Guardians!

A big thank you to the many volunteer advocates and habitat restorers who work on these issues throughout the year. We deeply appreciate FMR River Guardians' advocacy to reduce river pollution and the spread of invasive carp, not to mention everyone who helped test the critical cutting period approach as part of FMR habitat restoration events! (Finally, thank you volunteer photographer Dodd Demas for providing such engaging photos fto help us share the river's stories with reporters!)

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