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DULUTH, Minn.—Law enforcement officials in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota say there's been a recent rash of illegal cutting of small birch trees that are smuggled out and sold as decorations in stores and online. It's not just a few trees, but thousands of small birch cut, bundled and carted away off public and private forests without any payment or permits.
DULUTH, Minn.—Three environmental groups filed suit in federal court Monday to overturn the U.S. Forest Service decision to trade land to PolyMet Mining Inc. for the land where the company wants to dig Minnesota's first-ever copper mine. It's the second lawsuit that names unfair appraisal of the land. A third lawsuit, which focuses on the Endangered Species Act, was promised in January and could be filed as early as this week.
ST. PAUL — White-nose syndrome has now killed bats in six counties in Minnesota, up from two last year, and probably has spread to virtually everywhere in Minnesota where bats spend their winters. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed the expansion of the fatal disease on Thursday. The disease is being blamed for a more than 70 percent decline in bats at the Soudan Underground Mine during this winter's annual survey of the state's largest bat wintering area, called a hibernaculum, where white-nose syndrome was first confirmed in 2013.
NASHWAUK, Minn. — A federal bankruptcy judge has given Mesabi Metallics authority to renew labor agreements with construction workers and eventual employees of the proposed new taconite mine and processing center in Nashwauk. The company, which is trying to salvage the former Essar Steel Minnesota project, now can renew the project labor agreement with the Iron Range Building and Construction Trades for future construction work on the project.
DULUTH — The federal agencies responsible for a proposed mining ban near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness got an earful Thursday from supporters and opponents gathered at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management heard more than two hours of public input on the plan to stop Twin Metals and other companies from exploring or mining on 235,000 acres just outside the federal wilderness.
ST. PAUL—Bacteria and viruses that could make people sick have been discovered in small public drinking water wells across the state, according to a report released Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health. The study, ordered by the state Legislature in 2014, found that, while the overall presence of microbial indicators in samples was low, a high percentage of wells had at least one detection.
DULUTH, Minn.—Many trees common in forests across the eastern U.S., including Minnesota and Wisconsin, won't be able to keep up with the current pace of climate change, according to a new study by the Woods Hole Research Center. The study echoes the findings of other, recent scientific research that shows some northern tree species simply won't adapt fast enough to climate change that scientists say already is occurring.
DULUTH, Minn.—The number of bats counted in the Soudan Underground Mine has dropped 70 percent due to white-nose syndrome, according to the annual survey of the state's largest bat wintering area. Researchers have known since 2013 that the deadly fungus was present on some bats that spend their winter deep underground in the former iron ore mine near Tower. Last winter was the first time they had seen hundreds of dead bats outside the mine during winter months, a sure sign of white-nose syndrome. This winter, the deaths have mounted to catastrophic levels.
DULUTH, Minn.—It's been known for years that forests with lots of different tree species grow better and faster than forests with just one kind of tree. Now, for the first time, scientists say they know why. It's shapes. It turns out trees of different species find a way to get along with their neighbors by spreading branches out to fill in gaps where sunlight is available — they play off each other's shape. And that maximizes their combined ability to soak up the sun falling on a particular plot of land.
Mike Schrage / Special to Forum News Service A large bull moose runs through the snow near Swamp River in Cook County in northeast Minnesota during January's aerial moose survey of northeastern Minnesota. Moose numbers have remained relatively stable in recent years but are still far below numbers of a decade ago and show no signs of improving.