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June 28, 2007

Yay! The Bald Eagle!

Every newspaper Web site i went to had a headline for this story. The Interior Department removed the Bald Eagle from the list of endangered species. Yay! This comes after forty years of the bird (with help from its fellow patriots) struggling for survival. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne had a ceremony for this outside of the Jefferson Memorial in D.C.There are about 10,000 of the birds on the continent. compare that to 417, which was how many there were in 1963. Kempthorne is promising it'll never happen again.
The birds' numbers dropped so low because they were targeted by hunters, and were susceptible to DDT. but get this, since 1940 it's been federal law that it's illegal to kill a bald eagle. Wisconsin has a similar thing, it's illegal to kill a badger.

Algae blooms causing harm to people, pets

The Star Tribune had a story today online headlined "Did algae that killed dog also sicken child?" i know there's a certain consensus on the use of questions on headlines, but that's a different story.
There's this weird form of algae called blue-green algae that blooms in shallow lakes that get a lot of runoff, which puts more phosphorus and nitrogen in these lakes. It apparently smells awful (of course. it's got runoff from dairy farms. cows. methane. you get the picture.) swimming in this stuff can irritate your skin and eyes, make you vomit severely, or sometimes die, like the little yellow lab in Wright County that died a couple weeks ago.
Now, The Minneapolis Pollution Control Agency is wondering if this boy in Blue Earth County swam in similar stuff. He's not dead, but he did get sick. Star Tribune reporter Tim Harlow said "Health officials have not specified the nature of the illness or whether there is a direct link between the child's illness and the toxic algae."
but, even so, the MPCA has started closing little lakes they think are at risk. Wright, Blue Earth, McLoed, Kandiyohi, and Douglas counties are the singled-out counties by the MPCA.
Unfortunately, The Pioneer Press had nothing about this story on its Web site.
The St. Cloud Times ran a story on this two weeks ago when the dog died.
I found out there that the dog was swimming in and drinking from Fountain Lake near Montrose. Apparently blue-green algae typically becomes more of a problem later in the summer, when the temps are higher.

Algae blooms causing harm to people, pets

The Star Tribune had a story today online headlined "Did algae that killed dog also sicken child?" i know there's a certain consensus on the use of questions on headlines, but that's a different story.
There's this weird form of algae called blue-green algae that blooms in shallow lakes that get a lot of runoff, which puts more phosphorus and nitrogen in these lakes. It apparently smells awful (of course. it's got runoff from dairy farms. cows. methane. you get the picture.) swimming in this stuff can irritate your skin and eyes, make you vomit severely, or sometimes die, like the little yellow lab in Wright County that died a couple weeks ago.
Now, The Minneapolis Pollution Control Agency is wondering if this boy in Blue Earth County swam in similar stuff. He's not dead, but he did get sick. Star Tribune reporter Tim Harlow said "Health officials have not specified the nature of the illness or whether there is a direct link between the child's illness and the toxic algae."
but, even so, the MPCA has started closing little lakes they think are at risk. Wright, Blue Earth, McLoed, Kandiyohi, and Douglas counties are the singled-out counties by the MPCA.
Unfortunately, The Pioneer Press had nothing about this story on its Web site.
The St. Cloud Times ran a story on this two weeks ago when the dog died.
I found out there that the dog was swimming in and drinking from Fountain Lake near Montrose. Apparently blue-green algae typically becomes more of a problem later in the summer, when the temps are higher.

June 14, 2007

Air advisory issued

The Star Tribune reported that this afternoon and tomorrow, the Twin Cities area, along with St. Cloud and Brainerd, are "under attack" from pollution that may compromise the air quality for "sensitive groups" like people with allergies (me) and old folks or people with respiratory problems.
The pollution is known as ground-level ozone. Apparently, this is just all the crud that comes out of cars and exhaust and stuff mixing with other crud and being baked by the hot sun. It must have something to do with the brief period we've been having of no rain; maybe all the dryness makes for better crud-cooking conditions. I only speculate this because a Pollution Control supervisor said the advisory will last until late Thursday or Friday when showers are expected.
Meanwhile, The Pioneer Press reports that people who like to run and play outside, in addition to those who suffer from allergies and respiratory ailments, should take it easy for the next couple of days, to cut down on the risk of being irritated. They also say that this air pollution advisory falls just short of a full-on pollution alert.
The P.P. also says that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is asking people to drive less, not cut the grass, and not have bonfires. These ground-level ozone things build up during the morning.
The Pioneer Press points you in the direction of where to track pollution levels.
Neither story really has any sources. Strib had one - these might just be briefs for now. Maybe we'll hear more on it tomorrow.
Some sites that may be useful
www.weather.com