Greening Minnesota ~ October
Including North St. Paul and Anoka, 12 Minnesota cities have begun installing wind turbines. Buffalo, Le Sueur and Faribault have had wind turbines installed already. Anoka, Arlington, Brownton, Chaska, East Grand Forks, Olivia, Shakopee and Winthrop are up next. If everything goes as planned, all of the Minnesota Municipal Power Association wind turbines will be up and running by mid-November.
The St. Paul Convention & Visitors Authority has rolled out the "50-50 in 2" program. It is meant to cut trash output at the RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center in half and push the recycling rate up to 50% in two years.
Three Minnesota schools took top marks on a national report card that measures colleges' sustainability efforts. The University of Minnesota, Carleton College in Northfield and Macalester College in St. Paul were three of 26 schools to score an A- on this fall's College Sustainability Report Card.
To meet federal clean water standards, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is considering ways to keep runoff and pollutants out of three west-metro lakes. Eagle Lake, a 291-acre lake popular for fishing and swimming, phosphorus would have to be reduced by 40% to meet Clean Water standards for swimming. The phosphorus levels in 81-acre Cedar Island Lake would have to be reduced by 67%. The 58-acre Pike Lake would need a 49 percent cut in phosphorus. The three lakes in Maple Grove and Plymouth are so polluted, it may take 20 years to get them off the state's impaired waters list.
In a similar move, Eden Prairie will repair two catch ponds at the base of the Minnesota River bluff to reduce storm water runoff and pollution from going into the river. The Lower Minnesota River Watershed District has also commissioned an engineering study on how storm water, groundwater and river water are interacting to erode the north bank of the river below the bluff, where Riverview Drive is located.
Land dedicated to scientific research in south Washington County has grown 120 acres. The Trust for Public Land completed the land purchase in Denmark Township. It will be added to the 200-acre Lost Valley Prairie Scientific and Natural Area. It will remain open to the public for walking, exploring, nature observation, educational use and scientific research.
Finally, if a recent vision of in Dakota County government energy comes to pass, a field of grass could be a marketable crop, and maybe even provide fuel for county vehicles or heat county buildings. A 40-acre field of prairie grasses that could be used as biomass is just one idea in the energy plan recently approved by commissioners there. Others include a wind turbine on county property and energy-efficiency goals for county buildings. Overall, the Dakota County Energy Framework aims to reduce the county's greenhouse gas emissions, shift to renewable energy sources and knit sustainable practices into everyday local government activities.