Statewide: December 1, 2011 Archive
The havoc that aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels have wreaked on the Great Lakes and beyond has been well documented. They reproduce faster than rabbits, suck up plankton off lake floors, starving native species, and clog water intake pipes.
Zebra mussels, along with nasty critters like sea lamprey and those great flopping river acrobats Asian carp, have given invasive species a bad rap -- often very deservedly so. But new research suggests that the most recent Great Lakes invader may actually help their new home.
The "bloody red shrimp" was discovered in Lake Michigan in 2006. They've spread to all of the Great Lakes except Lake Superior. Like zebra mussels, they likely hitched a ride from the Black and Caspian seas in eastern Europe in the ballast tanks of ocean-going freighters. Requirements for ships to exchange ballast water at sea have since slowed the introduction of non-native species to the Great Lakes.
New research shows that the little crustacean, so named for its bright red spots, has become food for native species like yellow perch and alewife.
Mike Yuille, a graduate student at Ontario's Queens University, tells UPI that "forecasting how an invader will affect the growth and production of a specific native fish species is very relevant to conservation groups and government agencies hoping to conserve those fish." Yuille's findings will be published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.
But the relationships among native and non-native species are complex. Yuille's research also suggests that round gobies have incorporated the shrimp into their diet. Gobies are another aquatic invasive species, also brought over to the Great Lakes from far eastern Europe in ballast water.
Posted at 8:00 AM on December 1, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
County places bounty on coyotes; breaks 45-year hiatus
Starting today, Chippewa County will pay $10 for every coyote killed in the county. It's the first time in 45 years a bounty will be offered on the animals in Minnesota. But county officials say it's necessary to curb a population that's grown out of control (MPR News).
Table set for budget battle round two
Thursday the state's economic forecast will be released. It's expected to show Minnesota is facing a nearly $1 billion deficit. That's lower than last session's $5 billion deficit, but either way, many agree it's still bad news as the economy is slowly recovering (KAAL).
Op-Ed: It's no-win for cities in Minnesota
No matter how they try to spin it, Republican lawmakers in the Minnesota Legislature are responsible for coming tax increases and/or deep cuts in the budgets of Minnesota cities (Forum of Fargo Moorhead).
More on the state budget all day on The Big Story Blog.
Ramsey County explores new stadium funding, including local tax on liquor, entertainment, others
As Minneapolis makes a move on a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, Ramsey County officials are quietly looking at new funding options - such as taxes on booze and hotels - to keep their Arden Hills location competitive (Pioneer Press).
Duluth casino on the rocks
"Last week's ruling from a Federal judge, that stopped payments to the city from the Fond du Luth Casino, could have serious consequences for the future of gambling in downtown Duluth. Lawyers are going over the contract with a fine tooth comb and the result could be the closure of the Fond du Luth casino," reports the Northland News Center.
Congressman Chip Cravaack: a look back at his first year in office
"As Congress struggles to overcome gridlock after gridlock, the freshman Republican's stance remains the same: jobs are best created by the private sector, not the government," reports Northland News.
Stick a fork in Cravaack?
National Journal casts a gloomy forecast for Rep. Chip Cravaack re-election prospects. "His largely party-line voting record is at odds with the prairie populism of Minnesota's Iron Range, a region that has traditionally seen a role for an active government. Cravaack already is facing a field of credible Democratic challengers, and if his district isn't dramatically altered, he would be running in one of the most Democratic seats held by a Republican."
Frank Moe backs Fanning in MN-08
Former state Rep. Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji, is backing Daniel Fanning's campaign for Congress in Minnesota's 8th District. Moe, who served in the house between 2003 and 2009. He is currently an outdoor guide in Grand Marais (Capitol View).
Five DFLers on ballot in free-for-all SD 59 primary (Politics in Minnesota)
Perfect Duluth Day posted Trampled by Turtles' video covering the Pixies. They do the song justice, but the striking part of the video is how they incorporated fan photos of the lyrics.
Bemidji has a new police chief. Mike Mastin, 36, replaces former chief Gerald Johnson, who retired in September after 32 years with the department.
Mastin, who's been with the Bemidji Police Department for a decade, was sworn into the top spot on Thursday. He's been serving as interim chief since Johnson's retirement.
Mastin tells The Bemidji Pioneer he's been listening to officers and staff about ways to improve the department. He says a string of recent retirements have left a very "youthful" department.
Mastin says he's open to integrating more new technology into the department. He also wants to see more community based policing, and he says he'll encourage officers to become more involved in the community.
Mastin is originally from Detroit Lakes. He has a degree in criminal justice from Bemidji State University.