Archive | Environment

With SE Minn. silica sand mining on pause, groups organize

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Winona, Minn. — Silica sand mining is a hot topic in southeastern Minnesota. Local officials have helps town hall meetings with residents, met with environmentalists and industry leaders, and passed moratoriums to study the issue that has already swept parts of Wisconsin.

This is the story of how these local moratoriums — 9 in all — have given rise to a public movement.

Red Wing area could be a hotbed for ‘frac sand’

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More and more companies are looking at Minnesota for valuable sand that can be used in the oil and natural gas exploration industry.

Geologists say there are virtually unlimited amounts of this kind of sand sitting deep beneath the bluffs that straddle the Mississippi River in southern Minnesota.

One energy company has taken notice and recently purchased a tract of land near Red Wing for sand mining. But residents and environmentalists want to stop the project.

Hunters take deer to test for wasting disease

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Oronoco, Minn. – Officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are issuing special hunting permits to some southeastern Minnesota landowners. The permits allow them to shoot whitetail deer as part of a special hunt to test for chronic wasting disease.

The fatal brain disease – also called CWD – was found in one deer last fall, and can also affect elk and moose. A deer-feeding ban begins Monday to reduce the spread from deer to deer.

Many area landowners are taking full advantage of this special harvest.

Scientists hope wasps can contain emerald ash borer

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Victory, Wis. — Several thousand new insects burrowed into trees in southeastern Minnesota on Wednesday as scientists released stingless wasps along the Mississippi River.

Their target: the emerald ash borer, an invasive pest that feeds on ash trees and kills them. Borers have been found from the Twin Cities metropolitan area to Houston County in the far southeastern tip of Minnesota.

State and federal officials delivered the wasps to a forested island just east of Houston County, a control site for the first release. The wasps are a natural predator of the emerald ash borer.

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