We are proud to announce Friends of the Mississippi River's 2014 Annual Report, "Working Together to Protect Our River." We hope you enjoy reading about our many advocacy, conservation and stewardship victories. From the triclosan ban to increased urban access, to the protection of important natural areas and iconic river valley views, none of this work would be possible without the support of our generous donors, volunteers and friends. Thank you all for actively caring for the Mighty Mississippi, a national treasure within our midst.
Following the chaotic end of the 2015 regular legislative session, the conservation community rallied to build public support for a veto of a highly controversial environmental bill: the Omnibus Environment and Agriculture Bill.
While Governor Dayton is to be commended for his veto of the original bill, a renegotiated bill surfaced during the recent legislative special session and was passed with many of the same dirty water provisions that were in the original bill.
Overall, the Omnibus Environment and Agriculture Bill remains one of the most anti-clean-water measures to come out of the state legislature in recent memory, and includes an especially egregious repeal of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens' Board.
Last month, FMR appealed the Saint Paul Planning Commission decision to grant a height variance in the confluence area because we believed it would greatly impact this significant portion of the river corridor. We are pleased that the Saint Paul City Council decreased the building height variance to allow a 60 foot building instead of a 73.5 foot building — a 13.5 foot decrease.
On May 27, 2015, the Obama Administration released an update to the Clean Water Act called the Clean Water Rule or the Waters of the U.S. Rule. The rule will better protect water quality, aquatic life and clean drinking water for 1 in 5 Minnesotans by more clearly outlining which streams, lakes and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act.
The closing of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock is good news for Minnesotans. It will help ensure that invasive carp are not able to migrate upstream of downtown Minneapolis. Unfortunately, last week’s good news for the Mississippi was mired by the bad news about Bighead carp arriving in bigger numbers in the St. Croix River as far north as Stillwater.
Thanks to those who have stenciled with FMR so far this year! New photos have been posted on our Flickr page.
There are plenty of clues to help you identify this month’s photo. Send us your response and tell us what this special place means to you!
Get ready, the day with the shortest night is approaching.
Following a disappointing and chaotic end to the 2015 legislative session, the conservation community is asking Governor Dayton to veto a highly controversial environmental bill. The bill makes deep cuts to environmental spending (24.3%), contains numerous rollbacks to environmental policies, and includes last-minute language violating a universal agreement on biofuels policy.
While the legislature's compromise on a modest stream buffer proposal was among several positive outcomes this year, funding for both the buffer initiative and UofM Forever Green cover crop research failed to pass before the clock ran out. As a result, a special session is almost certain to be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Minnesota's recently released report, "Swimmable, fishable, fixable? What we’ve learned so far about Minnesota waters", highlights Minnesota's watersheds at the halfway point of our 10-year monitoring cycle. The results show that about half of Minnesota's waters are unfit for safe swimming and fishing.