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DULUTH—"Brady" looks like any other law enforcement officer of his rank — an eager, aggressive disposition, a long snout and wagging tail. But unlike most of his fellow K-9 officers, Brady doesn't search for illegal narcotics or bombs. The 6-year-old golden retriever mix sniffs for zebra mussels. Brady's partner, Minnesota Conservation Officer Julie Siems, was showing off Brady's skills Thursday at the Pike Lake boat landing outside Duluth. Siems hid a rock encrusted with zebra mussels in the splashwell of a fishing boat.
DULUTH, Minn.—The rusty patched bumblebee, a native of Minnesota and Wisconsin that was once common across the Midwest but which has declined rapidly in recent years, was officially declared endangered Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It's the first species of native bee in the continental U.S. to be placed on the endangered species list.
DULUTH, Minn. — A new study by Rochester Institute of Technology estimates that nearly 22 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year. Scientists at the university worked to track and inventory where and how much plastic enters the lakes and where it goes then, with their results now published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. "This study is the first picture of the true scale of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes," said Matthew Hoffman, assistant professor in RIT's School of Mathematical Sciences and an author of the report.
Fueled by the cheapest November gas prices in years, Americans are expected to travel more for Thanksgiving this year than any year since before the Great Recession. AAA last week forecasted that 48.7 million Americans will travel for the holiday, the busiest Thanksgiving period on U.S. roads and in the skies since 2007. AAA said that between Nov. 23 and 27, a full million more Americans will travel at least 50 miles from their home compared to last year's Thanksgiving holiday.
DULUTH, Minn.—Minnesota drivers are slightly more likely to hit a deer on state roadways this year compared to last year, and Wisconsin drivers face about the same odds of a deer collision. That's the report from State Farm Insurance, which complies an annual list of the states where drivers are most likely to hit a deer, moose or elk. Minnesota again placed seventh out of the 50 states, with Wisconsin sixth, South Dakota fifth and North Dakota 11th.
The amount of toxic mercury in Minnesota walleye and northern pike has been going up since the mid 1990s, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported Tuesday. The unexpected increase in mercury was found in an analysis of 25 years of fish from 825 Minnesota lakes by the PCA and published last week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The increase surprised scientists because mercury levels in fish had been slowly but steadily declining in recent decades. "It's surprising.
Cutting small trees and brush for energy can be done without harming Minnesota's northern forests, but the cost to do the work may be more than the profit. That's the finding of the first comprehensive study of the environmental effects and economics of cutting so-called woody biomass. Researchers looked at nine plots on the Superior National Forest before and after loggers cut the wood -- brush and small trees ignored by paper or boards.