For the Army Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi River was usually seen as a navigation channel, not as an ecosytem. That may be changing as the government acknowledges its practices have harmed wildlife and damaged the river. But change for the Army Corps of Engineers doesn't come easily.
Some places are called landfills. Pig's Eye was a dump. Beginning in the 1950s, it was the unofficial drop-off point for more than a half-million tons of household junk, city garbage, lead acid batteries, barrels of toxic waste, and more. It's leaked pollution into nearby Pig's Eye Lake and the Mississippi River ever since. Now, the state is finally moving to try to contain the problem.
Residents of the Phalen neighborhood on the east side of Saint Paul are celebrating a redevelopment project believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. They're dedicating what used to be a shopping mall. Now, it's being restored as a wetland.
For years, Midwest environmentalists have fought to stop an Army Corps of Engineers' plan for the upper Mississippi River. The Corps wants to spend $1 billion expanding the river's lock-and-dam system, so barges can move more freely. Environmentalists worry increased barge traffic would hurt the Mississippi's rich backwaters, which are critical habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife. But in recent months, the Corps' plan has been tainted by scandal. Now, environmental groups say for the first time in years, they have a good shot at defeating it.
Governor Jesse Ventura has signed Minnesota's controversial wolf-management bill into law. The legislation could ease the way for wolves in Minnesota to be taken off the federal endangered species list. But it faces strong opposition from some environmental groups, who may take the issue to court.
The debate over biotechnology seems to get louder with each passing month.Critics of bioengineered crops say they're a threat to consumers and the environment. Most scientists dismiss fears about the health risks of genetically-altered crops. But there is no scientific consensus when it comes to their environmental impact.
A study of X-rays taken of deformed frogs lends new support to the idea that there are many different causes for the frog deformities found in Minnesota and many other states.
Big factory-style hog farming first came to Minnesota in the early 1990s. Farmers in Renville County were among the pioneers of the new technology. They built two of the biggest and most controversial hog farms in the state. The farms stored millions of gallons of manure in open lagoons the size of football fields. Now both farms are in financial trouble. If they go under, Renville County taxpayers could be stuck with the cleanup.
The four oak trees that protesters of the Highway 55 reroute in south Minneapolis quite literally rallied around are gone; removed by state crews over the weekend. Members of the Mendota Medwakanton Dakota Community claimed the trees were sacred. But even with the trees gone, reroute opponents say they'll fight on.
Saint Paul city planners want to make a stretch of highway, known as Ayd Mill Road, into a connection to the regional freeway system. A group called Neighborhoods First! wants to dig up the road and turn it into a park.
Seed companies first introduced genetically-engineered corn and soybeans to the Midwest just four years ago. Farmers welcomed the new technology. This year, around half the soybean crop and a third of the corn crop came from genetically-altered seed. But now, some Midwest farmers are having second thoughts about the high-tech seed, and biotechnology companies are scrambling to contain a backlash in what was once a stronghold of bioengineering.
Perham, Minnesota may be the french-fry capital of the world. It also may be an environmental disaster in the making, and some of its residents say politicians, local officials, and agriculture interests are using them as human guinea pigs. Second of two parts.
Ron Offutt grows more potatoes than anyone else in the world. He grows potatoes that are perfect for french fries. Press reports call him the Sultan of Spuds and the Lord of the Fries, but his success has a price. Growing the perfect french fry has an environmental downside, as people in small towns near Offutt's potato farms have learned to their dismay.
The July 4th storms haven't dampened the enthusiasm for the nation's most popular wilderness area. But decidings its future includes asking ourselves how much wilderness should a wilderness have?