Archive | Science

Stingless wasps: How much do they help in the fight to save ash trees?

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Great River Bluffs State Park, Minn. — It’s been three years since state and federal officials first released thousands of tiny stingless wasps on an island in the Mississippi River to combat the destructive emerald ash borer.

Now, researchers are using a new technique at one state park in southeastern Minnesota to measure the effectiveness of the wasps.

Millions of acres of alfalfa lost to drought, winterkill

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Mantorville, Minn. — It’s been a difficult spring for thousands of dairy farmers across the Midwest who rely on protein-rich alfalfa to feed their cows.

Farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin have lost nearly two million acres of alfalfa this year.

It’s a perennial crop that normally regrows after winter. But the punishing effects of last year’s drought weakened the plants, and the long, icy winter killed many of them off.

Frac sand mining controversy moves to state Capitol

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Winona, Minn. — State lawmakers will hold hearings beginning this week to address the fast-growing frac sand industry and its effect on Minnesota.

Made of silica, the sand is used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas and oil from the ground.

Although local lawmakers are grappling with how to zone and regulate the industry, rules differ widely throughout the state. Many local officials would welcome streamlined state regulations.

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