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The last few Lake Superior woodland caribou may be on the brink of extirpation thanks to the freakishly cold winter of 2014 and hungry wolves decimating caribou herds in their last two holdouts. While wildlife enthusiasts mourn the loss of the last remaining wolves on Isle Royale, the opposite problem is happening on Ontario's Lake Superior islands just 100 miles or so away: Too many wolves for caribou to survive.
A proposal to allow motorized wheelchairs as well as bikes, carts and wheelbarrows in federal wilderness areas — potentially including the Boundary Waters and Isle Royale — is advancing in Washington. The U.S. House Subcommittee on Federal Lands is scheduled to hold hearing Thursday on H.R 1349 that could open 110 million acres of U.S. wilderness to mountain bikes and other wheeled devices.
The level of Lake Superior dropped in November after brushing with near-record highs in previous months. The International Lake Superior Board of Control on Monday said Lake Superior dropped 3.5 inches in November, more than the usual 2-inch drop for the month. The decline is thanks to a drier-than-normal November that saw less rain and snow, and less inflow from rivers. The lake level had increased in September and October, two months it usually goes down some.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it won't require mining companies to prove they have the cash available to clean up future pollution problems, often called financial assurance, despite government reports that show huge legacy cleanup costs to taxpayers. The move, announced late Friday, would undo a requirement set in place under the Obama administration to require companies set aside money for future Superfund cleanup costs from unexpected toxic releases long after mines close.
The National Park Service is getting closer to announcing its final decision on reintroducing wolves to Isle Royale National Park, and it couldn't come a minute too soon. Wolf researchers for Michigan Technological University say the island may be down to its very last wolf based on analysis of trail camera data gathered over the summer and through September. "We were able to document only one on a trail camera," said Michigan Tech researcher Rolf Peterson. "It's still possible that there are two."
DULUTH, Minn.—Scientists have been saying for years that Minnesota winters are getting warmer, but a new report from the nonprofit group Climate Central shows the region in the bull's-eye for climate change in the U.S. The report, released this week, found winters warming faster in the Great Lakes and Great Plains than anywhere else in the U.S., with winters in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and northern New England warming at an average rate of more than 1 degree per decade since 1970 — more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit total.
The move will keep 800,000 bags out of the Northland environment.
Scientists have been saying for years that Northland winters are getting warmer, but a new report from the nonprofit group Climate Central shows the region in the bull's-eye for climate change in the U.S. The report, released this week, found winters warming faster in the Great Lakes and Great Plains than anywhere else in the U.S., with winters in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and northern New England warming at an average rate of more than 1 degree per decade since 1970 — more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit total.
Legislation that would reopen areas near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to copper nickel exploration and potential mining cleared the U.S. House on Thursday. The bill, which passed 216 to 204 and still must clear the Senate and be signed by President Trump before taking effect, would end an Obama-administration ban on exploration and mining near the federal wilderness. The bill is aimed at Twin Metals, the Chilean-owned company that wants to build a massive underground copper mine near the Kawishiwi River southeast of Ely.
Two Minnesota anglers learned the hard way that Ontario doesn't mess around when it comes to fish and game law violations and big fines. Russell R. Sikkila Jr. of Chisholm was fined $800 (Canadian dollars) for trying to sneak a dozen leeches into Sand Point Lake, while Carl W. Brandt of Forest Lake was fined $1,500 for hiding bags of leeches in a worm cooler as he crossed the border at Fort Frances. Both men pleaded guilty to smuggling leeches into Ontario in violation of the import ban on most live bait. The cases were heard last week in court in Fort Frances.