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DULUTH, Minn.—Invasive earthworms from Europe that came over with early settlers and have been moving across North America ever since are causing sugar maple trees to decline in northern Minnesota forests. That was the conclusion of a research project published in the latest issue of the journal Biological Invasions — the second major project in as many years pointing to earthworms as the culprit in northern Minnesota forest problems.
EVELETH — Fires broke out at the former Days Inn hotel here on Wednesday, Aug. 9, and again on Thursday, Aug. 10, and will again all weekend. Arson investigators at the scene, dozens of them, are 100 percent sure that the fires were intentionally set. That's because they started them. Fire investigator school is in session at the abandoned, dilapidated and tax-forfeited hotel that's destined for the wrecking ball later this year. Investigators from across Minnesota, the Midwest and as far away as South Africa are in town to set fires in dozens of the hotel's 144 rooms.
DULUTH — The future of golden-winged warblers in northern Minnesota forests, ringneck pheasants in farm country and sage grouse in the mountainous west are tied to the massive farm bill that's starting to wind through the Washington labyrinth, a coalition of wildlife and government agencies said Wednesday.
DULUTH, Minn.—Wolves in Minnesota, the region and Wyoming won another reprieve Tuesday when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the animals must remain under federal Endangered Species Act protection. The appellate court backed a 2014 district court decision that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still hasn't shown that it properly followed federal laws when it declared wolves partially "recovered" across just a portion of the animal's historical range.
DULUTH, Minn.—Northern Minnesota's crop of wild rice appears to be in good shape as the annual harvest season approaches. That was the report Tuesday from Ducks Unlimited, the wetland conservation group that monitors and manages wild-rice stands for waterfowl habitat. Wild rice requires optimal water conditions: Too much rain and deep water floods the crop; not enough rain and shallow waters can dry rice plants out.
DULUTH — Scientists have been studying emerald ash borers since the Chinese insects started killing ash trees near Detroit 15 years ago. They've been following the imported insects' march east, then north and now west and watching the bugs kill nearly every ash tree in their path. But those were mostly green ash, with some white and blue ash, too — the kind of trees that once lined urban avenues, wooded parks and farm woodlots across much of the country.
DULUTH — Jay Austin and his University of Minnesota Duluth research team were trying to study drifting ice sheets on Lake Superior when they ran into a problem. Data from the underwater Doppler recording devices was so polluted by background noise that they couldn't determine any results. Bummer for the ice research. But like any good, inquisitive scientist, Austin was intrigued. What the heck was making all that racket underwater in Lake Superior?
DULUTH, Minn. — It's been a landmark in Duluth since 1892, but the historic Union Depot is showing its age with a leaking front balcony and crumbling bricks. Officially called the St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center, the Depot is in need of $8 million in repairs, deferred upkeep and upgrades, a private engineering firm reported to county officials. St. Louis County, which owns the building, is willing to pony-up about $2.25 million of that total and is ready to ask the state for the other $5.75 million in upcoming state construction/bonding bills.
DULUTH. Minn. — Wolves, parasites, infections and other health problems continue to be the largest killers of moose in northeastern Minnesota, according to the most recent data from the state Department of Natural Resources. DNR researchers have compiled an updated assessment of data from a four-year-old study of GPS-collared moose in northeastern Minnesota. The collars, when they work properly, allow researchers to find dead moose within hours so an accurate cause of death can be made in most cases.
DULUTH — Starting sometime soon, anyone selling a home or business property in the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District service area will need to certify that their sump pumps and foundation drains aren't contributing to sewage overflows into Lake Superior. Local governments also will need to make sure the property's lateral line — the sewer pipe that leads from the house to the street — isn't letting clean water leak into the sewer system.