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FOND DU LAC RESERVATION, Minn. — On a sunny, mid-August afternoon, Drew Erickson took a quick GPS reading and then bolted into the woods just off Moorehead Road, mosquitoes and swamps be damned. Erickson, of Grand Rapids, is part of a crew of four wildlife technicians hired by the University of Minnesota who bushwhacked in to survey more than 100 forest plots in Carlton and St. Louis counties this summer to see what food might be available for elk.
DULUTH, Minn.—Invasive earthworms from Europe that came over with early settlers and have been moving across North America ever since are causing sugar maple trees to decline in northern Minnesota forests. That was the conclusion of a research project published in the latest issue of the journal Biological Invasions — the second major project in as many years pointing to earthworms as the culprit in northern Minnesota forest problems.
EVELETH — Fires broke out at the former Days Inn hotel here on Wednesday, Aug. 9, and again on Thursday, Aug. 10, and will again all weekend. Arson investigators at the scene, dozens of them, are 100 percent sure that the fires were intentionally set. That's because they started them. Fire investigator school is in session at the abandoned, dilapidated and tax-forfeited hotel that's destined for the wrecking ball later this year. Investigators from across Minnesota, the Midwest and as far away as South Africa are in town to set fires in dozens of the hotel's 144 rooms.
DULUTH — The future of golden-winged warblers in northern Minnesota forests, ringneck pheasants in farm country and sage grouse in the mountainous west are tied to the massive farm bill that's starting to wind through the Washington labyrinth, a coalition of wildlife and government agencies said Wednesday.
DULUTH, Minn.—Wolves in Minnesota, the region and Wyoming won another reprieve Tuesday when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the animals must remain under federal Endangered Species Act protection. The appellate court backed a 2014 district court decision that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still hasn't shown that it properly followed federal laws when it declared wolves partially "recovered" across just a portion of the animal's historical range.
DULUTH, Minn.—Northern Minnesota's crop of wild rice appears to be in good shape as the annual harvest season approaches. That was the report Tuesday from Ducks Unlimited, the wetland conservation group that monitors and manages wild-rice stands for waterfowl habitat. Wild rice requires optimal water conditions: Too much rain and deep water floods the crop; not enough rain and shallow waters can dry rice plants out.
DULUTH — Scientists have been studying emerald ash borers since the Chinese insects started killing ash trees near Detroit 15 years ago. They've been following the imported insects' march east, then north and now west and watching the bugs kill nearly every ash tree in their path. But those were mostly green ash, with some white and blue ash, too — the kind of trees that once lined urban avenues, wooded parks and farm woodlots across much of the country.
ELY, Minn.—Far from being a boon for regional job growth and economic development, allowing copper mining in Northeastern Minnesota would hurt the existing economy that relies on tourism and development based on unspoiled woods and water. That was the finding of a report released Thursday by opponents of the Twin Metals copper mining project proposed near Ely.
DULUTH — Jay Austin and his University of Minnesota Duluth research team were trying to study drifting ice sheets on Lake Superior when they ran into a problem. Data from the underwater Doppler recording devices was so polluted by background noise that they couldn't determine any results. Bummer for the ice research. But like any good, inquisitive scientist, Austin was intrigued. What the heck was making all that racket underwater in Lake Superior?