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Watershed Protection

New fuel standards could help river

Perennial grasses for biofuels

Perennial plants can be grown to produce fuel while also protecting water quality and boosting farm profits.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency updated the nation’s renewable fuel requirements. While we were disappointed to see an increase in traditional corn-based ethanol, we’re pleased to see a raise in production goals for cellulosic biofuel in 2017.

This creates a powerful market incentive for farmers to grow perennial crops, supporting FMR’s work towards market-based solutions to reduce agricultural water pollution.

December 16

Recommended reading: 'Danger Downstream'

The greatest river in North America begins in Minnesota. But our pristine stretch of the Mississippi faces mounting environmental threats.

As this trio of Star Tribune articles shows, solving Minnesota’s water quality issues begins on the land.

The Star Tribune’s recent series on threats to Minnesota’s rivers – including our own Upper Mississippi – beautifully illustrates many of the challenges and opportunities facing our surface waters. Each article by veteran reporter Josephine Marcotty explores a different aspect of how land use and water interact, with inevitable consequences for surface water, groundwater, habitat and public health. Together, these three articles tell a powerful story of Minnesota’s water resources. They also illustrate and reinforce many of the key lessons of the FMR-National Park Service State of the River Report.

October 20

Landscape for the River Workshop: Native Plants, Raingardens, Lawn Care for Water Quality (+ Winter Tips)

Whether you're interested in a smaller native planting or want to transform your whole yard into a force for clean water, this FMR workshop can help jumpstart your spring planning. We'll also touch on practices to make your yard (and sidewalks) river-friendlier this winter.

Taught by FMR River Stewardship Coordinator Adam Flett, this presentation receives rave reviews from participants, who also appreciate the high-quality and concise take-home materials.

Minnesota's waters need a special session

Following a hectic end to the 2016 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned with some important work left undone. Legislative efforts to pass a transportation bill and a bonding bill failed, while a surprise $100 million wording error in a tax bill earned that piece of legislation a pocket-veto from Governor Dayton.

While the Governor has expressed support for a special session, the likelihood of such a session remains uncertain. FMR and our allies strongly encourage Governor Dayton and state legislators to reconvene to complete their work, which includes much-needed funding to protect Minnesota's water resources.

June 20

Conjunction dysfunction: A $100 million typo may lead to a special session

After Gov. Mark Dayton's pocket veto of the tax bill, a special session appears more likely this month. The governor chose not to sign the bill as it contained a $100 million wording error (an "or" instead of an "and"), letting the clock run out and preventing it from becoming law. A June special session will be needed to correct and re-pass the essential bill, making it likely the Minnesota Legislature will also tackle important transportation and bonding business left undone, including vital funding for state water quality improvements.

June 7

How water quality fared during the 2016 legislative session

As the 2016 legislative session came to a close, two of FMR's top legislative priorities were fully funded, the Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program and the University of Minnesota's Forever Green Initiative. Sadly, though, the bonding bill, with millions of dollars in priority funding for community drinking water and wastewater treatment upgrades, failed to pass before the clock ran out. Additionally, while the bigger-ticket items in the effort to artificially augment White Bear Lake were not approved, funds to obtain design-build proposals managed to make their way through at the last minute.
 

May 31

Funding to augment White Bear Lake pulled from Senate but lingers in House

Water levels in White Bear Lake have fallen dramatically in the last decade, leading some to call for augmentation by pumping in water from nearby lakes, each of which is in turn backfilled by the Mississippi River. FMR has long advocated against such an expensive and uncertain system, instead promoting longer-term solutions to address the north and east metro's larger groundwater supply and demand issues. Thankfully, the author of the Minnesota Senate bill agrees and has removed all funding for augmentation while calling for investments in a more sustainable water supply for this area. Yet, $2.2 million in provisions supporting augmenting linger in the House.
 

May 16

Senate budget bill approved; Fully funds FMR priorities

The Minnesota Senate voted 39 to 24 in favor of the Senate Omnibus Finance Bill on Thursday, April 28. The bill includes several of FMR's top environmental initiatives, including The Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program and funding for the Forever Green Initiative.

May 3

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