Presentation on theme: "Est. 1858 ENVIRONMENT Population ~ 5,266,214 Katrina Gerold."— Presentation transcript:
Est ENVIRONMENT Population ~ 5,266,214 Katrina Gerold
Sealcoat comes in two basic varieties: coal tar-based and asphalt- based. The coal tar variety is more resilient, but it contains much higher levels of a class of chemicals called PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that harm fish, and with prolonged exposure, pose a risk of cancer in humans. Figure 1: Relative amounts of PAHs in sealcoat products An Austin, Texas, study determined that sealcoat products based on coal tar contained up to 1,000 times more PAHs than asphalt- based products. Consider asphalt-based sealcoat if you choose to coat your driveway. Figure 1
Sealcoat continued: Figure 2: Concentrations of PAHs in runoff Asphalt-based sealcoat runoff (B) can contain 10 times more PAHs than an uncoated driveway (A) and runoff from a coal-tar sealcoated driveway (C) may have concentrations of PAH 65 times higher than an uncoated driveway. (see figure-right) FIGURE 2 Environmental problems Coal tar is a waste material generated in the conversion of coal to coke. Manufacturers choose coal tar for sealcoat because of its resistance to petroleum products like gasoline and oil, which drip from cars and deteriorate asphalt surfaces. In time, sunlight and vehicle traffic wears down sealcoat and sealcoat flakes are washed away by rain or carried away by wind, contaminating stormwater ponds, streams and lakes with PAHs.
Ecosystems of MN Prairie Grasslands- The most notable characteristic of the prairie grassland biome is the absence of trees. It is one of three major biomes (types of associations of plants and animals) found in Minnesota. Prairie Grasslands Deciduous Forests - It runs in a band from the northwest to the southeastern corner of the state, sandwiched between the coniferous forest biome to the northeast and the prairie to the west and south. This forest once contained many hardwood trees, such as oak, maple, and basswood. Although much of the region has been dramatically changed by farming and development, patches of forest remain. This biome gets its name from deciduous trees, which are trees that drop their leaves each year. Deciduous Forests Coniferous Forests- Also known as the boreal forest, the coniferous forest is one of three biomes (types of associations of plants and animals) in Minnesota, This biome is located in the northeastern part of the state. It is named after conifers, which are trees (mainly evergreens) that grow their seeds in cones. Coniferous Forests Bogs and Fens - Bogs and fens are wetlands that form upon layers of dead and decaying plant material called peat. Water in these "peatlands" is at or near the surface. Bogs and Fens
Prairie Grasslands Physical features: The prairie grasslands formed on soils left behind by the most recent glaciers. The northern parts of the biome were primarily influenced by Glacial Lake Agassiz, which left behind a massive, flat lakebed of fertile silt. The south and southwestern parts of this biome feature a high plateau of quartz bedrock topped with glacial debris. Prairie grasslands are the driest biome in the state. The average annual temperatures range from 37 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Biological features: A sea of grass without a tree in sight is the image that comes to mind when most people think of prairie grasslands. In Minnesota these grasslands range from sparsely vegetated sand dunes to fields of big bluestem up to eight feet tall, from wet meadows to dry short grass prairies high on the bluffs of the Minnesota River. A wide variety of grasses and wildflowers can be found here. Some common examples of the variety of grasses and wildflowers found on Minnesota's prairies are blazing star, purple prairie clover, leadplant, big bluestem, little bluestem, and prairie dropseed. Animals typical of prairie grasslands include monarch butterflies, Great Plains toads, prairie skinks, greater prairie chickens, meadowlarks, upland sandpipers, meadow voles, white-tailed jackrabbits, pocket gophers, and badgers.
Prairie Grassland con’t Location A line that connects Lake Bronson State Park in the northwest to Myre-Big Island State Park in the southeast roughly marks the eastern edge of the prairie grassland biome. The four prairie subsections that make up Minnesota's prairie grasslands are found west of this line. The subsections are Red River Prairie, Minnesota River Prairie, Inner Coteau and Coteau Moraines. Fun facts Three major forces have combined to create and sustain the prairie grasslands. First, fire suppressed trees and shrubs while stimulating the growth of prairie wildflowers and grasses. Second, prairie plants adapted to grazing by bison and other large herbivores (plant eaters). Many prairie plants have underground growing points that quickly sprout after being eaten. Finally, prairie plants are adapted to drought. Many become dormant during a drought and begin growing again after the drought ends. Others have deep, thick roots that absorb nearly all available water. Some roots may be three times longer than the plants above them!
Deciduous Forest Physical Features The land once covered by deciduous forest in Minnesota is at or southeast of the line of hills, ridges, and other features created by the edge of the most recent glacier. The unglaciated portion has thick soils. Defining features for this region include cold winters, though not as cold as those in the coniferous forest; sunny, warm summers; and plenty of moisture throughout the year. The deciduous forest has more precipitation than most of the rest of the United States. In general, deciduous trees can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and moisture levels; in Minnesota, the average annual temperature of the deciduous forest ranges from 37 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit and precipitation ranges from 20 to more than 32 inches per year. Biological Features The deciduous forest is made up largely of trees that drop their leaves in the autumn. In many areas, maples are common. Along the prairie edge, oaks may predominate. Where rivers run through, water loving deciduous trees such as cottonwoods abound. Animals found in Minnesota's deciduous forests include deer, skunks, opossums, mice, shrews, turkeys, vireos, warblers, garter snakes, gray treefrogs, and mosquitoes.
Deciduous Forest con’t Location The location of the deciduous forest is determined by annual temperature and moisture patterns and existence of fire. In Minnesota, the deciduous forest biome runs in a thick band from the northwestern corner of the state, west of Warroad, to the southeastern corner, roughly east of Albert Lea. This forest can be broken down into seven types: lowland hardwood, northern hardwood, oak, paper-birch, aspen-birch, aspen, and maple-basswood. Which grows where depends on history of disturbance, soil traits, and other factors. Fun Facts Before European Americans arrived here, the land we now know as Minnesota was home to a 2- million-acre maple-basswood forest. Known to early settlers as the Big Woods, that immense forest has almost completely been replaced by farms and cities.
Coniferous Forest Physical Features The coniferous forest tends to have thin mineral soils, thanks to the scouring action of the glaciers that passed through Minnesota thousands of years ago. Many areas within the biome, however, are covered by organic soil or peat. The soils tend to have substantial moisture. The climate is typically cool and moist. Average temperatures are around 36 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and average precipitation is 21 to 28 inches per year. Lakes abound. Biological Features This biome contains many bogs, created where plants have filled in former lakes and wetlands. Before European settlement, pines, spruce, fir, and tamarack predominated. After many of these trees were cut, aspen and other hardwoods became a bigger part of the ecosystem. Birch and lichens are common. Animals found in the coniferous forest biome include moose, black bears, black flies, gray jays, northern pike, wolves, beavers, pine siskins, crossbills, chipmunks, ruffed grouse, bald eagles, spruce budworms, American toads, redbelly snakes, and crossbills.
Coniferous Forest con’t Location In Minnesota, the coniferous forest biome predominates in the part of the state that is north and east of a line running roughly from Pine City to Warroad. Fun Facts Conifers are well-adapted to the conditions found in northern Minnesota. Their needles have a relatively small surface area and have a special protective surface, both features that help prevent them from drying out in winter when there is little moisture in the air.
Bogs & Fens Physical features Rain and snow are the only sources of water for bogs. They are low in nutrients and acidic. These conditions make it difficult for many plants to grow. Fens receive water from both precipitation and groundwater. They typically have more nutrients than bogs and are only slightly acidic. Minnesota has 20 percent of the world's calcareous fens, an extremely rare kind of fen that is rich in calcium. Biological features Bogs are carpeted with sphagnum moss. Usually they also have stunted black spruce and tamarack trees, and low shrubs of the heath family, which retain their leaves throughout the year. Bogs are famous for their oddities such as insect eating plants and ground that bounces when you walk upon it. Most fens are treeless, but they may be covered by shrubs. The most common plant types in fens include reeds, sedges and grasses.
Bogs & Fens con’t Location Bogs and fens are found primarily in the northern half of Minnesota. However, fens also occur in the prairie regions of the state. Fun facts With more than 6 million acres, Minnesota has more peatlands than any other state except Alaska. Because Minnesota's peatlands are rare, relatively undisturbed, and important for scientific research, more than 170,000 acres across the northern half of the state were permanently protected in 1991.
Invasive Aquatic Species Zebra mussel Species and Origin : Zebra mussels and a related species, the Quagga mussel, are small, fingernail-sized animals that attach to solid surfaces in water. Adults are 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long and have D-shaped shells with alternating yellow and brownish colored stripes. Female zebra mussels can produce 100, ,000 eggs per year. These develop into microscopic, free-living larvae (called veligers) that begin to form shells. After two-three weeks, the microscopic veligers start to settle and attach to any firm surface using "byssal threads". It is the only freshwater mussel that can attach to objects. They are native to Eastern Europe and Western Russia and were brought over to the Great Lakes in ballast water of freighters. Impacts: Zebra mussels can cause problems for lakeshore residents and recreationists. Homeowners that take lake water to water lawns can have their intakes clogged. Mussels may attach to motors and possibly clog cooling water areas. Shells can cause cuts and scrapes if they grow large enough on rocks, swim rafts and ladders. Anglers may lose tackle as the shells can cut fishing line. Zebra mussels can also attach to native mussels, killing them. Zebra mussels filter plankton from the surrounding water. This filtering can increase water clarity, which might cause more aquatic vegetation to grow at deeper depths and more dense stands. If a lake has high numbers of mussels over large areas, this filter feeding could impact the food chain, reducing food for larval fish. Status: They have spread throughout the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River from Brainerd downstream, and are now in other rivers and inland lakes. They are established in Minnesota and were first found in the Duluth/Superior Harbor in The Infested Waters list provides details of current infestations. Diving ducks, freshwater drum (sheepshead), and other fish eat zebra mussels, but will not significantly control them.Infested Waters Means of spread: Mussels attach to boats, nets, docks, swim platforms, boat lifts, and can be moved on any of these objects. They also can attach to aquatic plants, making it critical to remove all aquatic vegetation before leaving a lake. Microscopic larvae may be carried in water contained in bait buckets, bilges or any other water moved from an infested lake or river. Where to look: Examine boat hulls, swimming platforms, docks, aquatic plants, wood and other objects along shorelines of lakes and rivers. Regulatory Classification: It is a prohibited invasive species (DNR), which means import, possession, transport, and introduction into the wild is prohibited.prohibited invasive species
Invasive Aquatic Species con’t White perch Species and Origin: The white perch is a fish in the temperate basses family (Moronidae). The adults range between 7 to 12 inches in length. White perch are native to Atlantic coastal region of the United States and invaded the Great Lakes through the Erie and Welland canals. Impacts: White perch are competitors of native fish species and have the potential to cause declines of fish populations because they eat the eggs of walleye and other fish species. Status: They are found in all the Great Lakes and in inland waters in Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Ohio. The first observation of white perch in Lake Superior waters was in Duluth Harbor in They are not known to be present in inland waters in Minnesota. Means of spread: Unauthorized stocking has been source of spread to inland waters in other states. Where to look : White perch spawn in tributaries along the Great Lakes in April and May. Regulatory Classification: It is a prohibited invasive species (DNR), which means import, possession, transport, and introduction into the wild is prohibited. prohibited invasive species
Invasive Aquatic Species con’t Rusty crayfish Species and Origin : Rusty crayfish are crustaceans that grow up to 5 inches long. They are native to the Ohio River basin. Their carapace usually has a pair of rusty-colored spots and claws often have black bands at their tips. Impacts: Rusty crayfish are aggressive invaders. They can harm native fish communities by feeding on their eggs and young, drive out or hybridize with native crayfish, and eliminate aquatic vegetation. Status: Rusty crayfish have spread to several states and Ontario. They were discovered in Minnesota around 1960 and are confirmed in about 50 Minnesota waters, mostly in central and northern counties. Where to look: They can infest lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. Means of spread: They likely spread through dumping of bait buckets and aquariums, and activities of commercial aquaculture. Regulatory classification (agency): Rusty crayfish is a regulated invasive species (DNR), which means release into the wild is illegal. Licensed anglers may collect any crayfish for use as bait on the same water body. They can also harvest up to 25 pounds of any crayfish for personal consumption. Selling live crayfish for bait or aquarium use is illegal.regulated invasive species
Invasive Terrestrial Animals Gypsy moth The gypsy moth is an invasive forest pest from Europe that is one of the most damaging tree defoliators currently in the U.S. Aspen and oak top the list of over 500 preferred host species. Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on leaves of deciduous trees and are present in early-mid summer. Why are gypsy moths such a problem? They are voracious eaters and can completely defoliate entire trees. Outdoor recreation might be reduced as a result of bare trees, caterpillar presence on trees and roads, and feces falling from trees. Repeated defoliation can lead to the death of many trees, changing the mix of tree species and affecting dependent wildlife. Tree losses can impact forest and related industries. Because gypsy moths are non-native, there are few natural enemies to keep them in check. Gypsy Moth in Minnesota The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been monitoring (trapping) gypsy moth since 1970 and has successfully eradicated a number of small isolated infestations. In 2004, four Minnesota counties were added the Slow- The-spread Program because of high trap counts. MDA has found very high numbers of male moths were found along the north shore of Lake Superior.Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)
Invasive Terrestrial Animals Mute swan Species and Origin : Mute swans are a large species of white waterfowl. Adult mute swans have all white plumage, vibrant orange bills, and black knobs above the bill. Young birds have grayish bills. Native swans have entirely black bills. Mute swans are native to Europe and Asia. They were brought to the United States from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s. Impacts: Mute swans are very aggressive even toward people. They chase water birds including loons, and can keep those birds from nesting. One bird can uproot about 20 pounds of submersed aquatic vegetation daily, reducing important native aquatic plants. Status: Several states east of Minnesota have populations ranging from hundreds to several thousand birds. The population in the Great Lakes states is increasing about 10 to 20 percent annually. Where to look: They live on lakes and wetlands. Regulatory classification (agency): Mute swans are a regulated invasive species, which means introduction into the wild is prohibited (DNR). Possession of captive birds requires a state game farm license and fencing to contain them. regulated invasive species Means of spread: Mute swans have escaped from captivity or were intentionally released on ponds for ornamental purposes. They have sometimes been used as ineffective and illegal means to deter geese from an area.
MINNESOTA BIODIVERSITY VERTEBRATE STATISTICS Total (includes extirpated) Species of Greatest Conservation Need Mammals Birds Amphibians Reptiles Fish Total
This tiny island, noted for its old growth red pine forest and scenic beauty, was transferred to the state from the Federal Bureau of Land Management. A kettle block lake and lichen-encrusted granitic outcrops characterize this site, which resembles the Boundary Waters. It provides habitat for waterfowl and loons, and it is highly sensitive to damage by visitors. Just one of many islands in the lake, Island No. 4 is located near Bearhead Lake State Park. Visit it in winter to view the trees and topography, and again in spring and summer to watch waterfowl.
Groundwater in Minnesota What is Groundwater? "Groundwater" is a term used to refer to water beneath the land surface. Groundwater may reside in the spaces between earth materials such as sand, silt or clay particles. Where there is rock, groundwater can reside in rock openings such as fractures in granite. Groundwater provides drinking water to more than two-thirds of Minnesota households. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) monitors the quality of our ground water and protects it from contamination.
Did You Know......? More than 70% of Minnesotans rely on groundwater for drinking water. As of 1990, an estimated 483,000 Minnesota residences used private wells to obtain water for their homes. As of 1990, there were 2,388 active community public water supply wells in Minnesota. In 1995, an estimated 700 million gallons of groundwater per day were withdrawn from Minnesota's aquifers (550 million gallons per day were permitted). As of 1989, contaminated groundwater cost 17 Minnesota cities and 18 Minnesota companies a total of $67,072,000. As of 1994, there were an estimated 700,000 to million unsealed, abandoned wells in Minnesota that could potentially serve as contamination pathways to harm Minnesota groundwater. As of May 1998, 100,000 unused wells have been sealed to protect Minnesota groundwater About Groundwater
What is the Source of Groundwater? Where Does it Go? The Hydrologic Cycle For the most part, ground water comes directly from precipitation or surface water that infiltrates into the subsurface (below the land surface). In turn, groundwater flows into many streams and lakes. Groundwater can be seen exiting from the subsurface as springs. But most commonly, we obtain groundwater from wells.
How Fast Does Groundwater Move? Groundwater can move rapidly through some of the fractures and openings seen in this rock Groundwater can move fairly rapidly through coarser, uncemented sediments composed of gravel and sand. The ability to transmit groundwater is reduced where the sediments are made up of finer materials, such as silt and clay. Most groundwater is constantly moving, but it normally moves very slowly as it winds its way through tiny pathways around grains of sediment or through small openings in rock. Some rock materials have large enough fractures or openings that groundwater can move faster; however, often, the openings do not continue very far. In certain restricted areas, such as portions of southeastern Minnesota, carbonate rock formations have developed cave-like openings that allow groundwater to move much faster like an underground river. Caves allow water to move quickly
What Is All the Concern About Groundwater Contamination? Although most Minnesota ground water is naturally potable (suitable for human consumption), nature does produce groundwater with a chemical make up that is not potable in some areas. In addition, many human activities such as urban development, industrial processing, agriculture, chemical spills and even individual household septic systems have caused significant groundwater contamination in areas that previously had clean, potable groundwater. Groundwater contamination can disperse over a wide area or migrate very deep underground. Often, many tons of overlying soil, sediment or rock hide the exact location of the contamination and present a substantial physical barrier to clean up efforts. As the groundwater moves, it often contaminates the earth materials it passes through which increases the volume of material that needs to be cleaned. The cost and technical difficulty of removing the contamination often multiplies over time as the contamination spreads out or migrates deeper. Under favorable conditions, certain contaminants tend to degrade or clean up naturally in a reasonable amount of time in ground water. However, in other cases, contamination can persist for long times because groundwater typically moves very slowly and often lacks the range of purifying organisms and processes that tend to cleanse streams and lakes much quicker. As a matter of fact, some of Minnesota's groundwater entered the subsurface more than 30,000 years ago and is still slowly traveling deep underground.
Stormwater Program The surest way to improve water quality in Minnesota is to better manage stormwater. Unmanaged stormwater can have devastating consequences on the quality of lakes, streams and rivers we enjoy. Stormwater often contains oil, chemicals, excess phosphorous, toxic metals, litter, and disease- causing organisms. In addition, stormwater frequently overwhelms streams and rivers, scours streambanks and river bottoms and hurts or eliminates fish and other aquatic organisms. To better manage stormwater across the state, the MPCA administers the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act in addition to its own State Disposal System requirements.Clean Water Act At the MPCA, the Stormwater Program includes three general stormwater permits: the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Permit, the Construction Stormwater Permit and the Industrial Stormwater Permit.Municipal Separate Storm Sewer PermitConstruction Stormwater Permit Industrial Stormwater Permit Each program administers a general permit that incorporates federal and state requirements for Minnesota stormwater management.
Stormwater Program for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems Stormwater runoff is a leading source of water pollution….can harm surface waters such as rivers, lakes, and streams which in turn cause or contribute to water quality standards being exceeded. Stormwater runoff can change natural hydrologic patterns, accelerate stream flows, destroy aquatic habitats, and elevate pollutant concentrations and loadings. Development increases impervious surfaces; increases runoff from city streets, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks, on which pollutants from human activities settle. Common pollutants in runoff include pesticides, fertilizers, oils, metals, pathogens, salt, sediment, litter and other debris are transported via stormwater and discharged - untreated - to water resources through storm sewer systems.
Stormwater Program for Industrial Activity The Industrial Stormwater Program's goal is to reduce the amount of pollution that enters surface and ground water from industrial facilities in the form of stormwater runoff. This goal is accomplished by requiring permitted facilities to: Develop an effective Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) which contains your Stormwater Control Measures, described as Best Management Practices (BMPs). Manage stormwater runoff by meeting the permit requirements or certify condition of No Exposure.
Stormwater Program for Construction Activity When stormwater drains off a construction site, it carries sediment and other pollutants that harm lakes, streams and wetlands. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 20 to 150 tons of soil per acre is lost every year to stormwater runoff from construction sites. Many studies indicate that controlling erosion can significantly reduce the amount of sedimentation and other pollutants transported by runoff from construction sites. To keep Minnesota’s valuable water resources clean the MPCA issues permits to construction site owners and their operators to prevent stormwater pollution during and after construction.
Energy Sources Minnesota is a leading producer of ethanol and has over a dozen ethanol production plants primarily in the southern half of the State. Minnesota is one of the few States that require the statewide use of oxygenated motor gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol. Minnesota is a major producer of wind power. Over two-thirds of Minnesota households use natural gas as their primary heating fuel during the State’s long, cold winters. Two nuclear power plants near the Twin Cities generate nearly one-fourth of the electricity produced in the State
Energy Issues Energy efficiency and less-polluting technologies for generating electricity further the mission of pollution prevention. Annual chemical-release data collected from Minnesota industry show that significant pollution results from the production and use of energy, including release of nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen fluoride, barium, chromium, and mercury. The MPCA partners with industry, universities, non-profits, and other units of government to decrease pollution resulting from our production and use of energy through two primary approaches: energy efficiency and P2 energy generation technologies. Buy green power: "Green power" is electricity generated from renewable, high-efficiency, or low-pollution energy sources such as wind or solar. Your purchase of green power will replace electricity that would otherwise come primarily from burning coal—one of the dirtiest fuels for producing electricity. Less than 1% of the energy we consume in Minnesota currently comes from wind, but your purchase of green power can help change that. Alternative fuels in Minnesota: Ethanol, biodiesel, and biomass Minnesota is part of the national movement to create combustion fuels from sources besides petroleum, natural gas or coal. The state of Minnesota has made it a priority to have a leading role in the development of the biofuels industry, including key legislation and ongoing workgroups. The MPCA is particularly involved in the regulation and permitting of biofuels facilities in the state.
Natural Hazards Wind/Tornadoes Flooding Fire Snow/Ice Minnesota is fortunate in that its inland location removes us from the threat of hurricanes or tidal waves. We are also fortunate to be located in the lowest risk seismic category which virtually eliminates the threat of earthquakes. The FEMA map that is included in the plan indicates the most recent natural disasters that have occurred in Minnesota.FEMA map
Natural Hazards – Wind/Tornadoes Both tornadoes and straight line winds can cause major damage to historic buildings. Tornadoes generally have fairly narrow paths and can move erratically. The 1998 St. Peter tornado was an exception to this pattern; there the path was approximately a mile wide. Straight line winds often impact a wider area than tornadoes, as illustrated by the July 4, 1999 storm along the Gunflint Trail which affected portions of three counties. Since Minnesota is not a coastal state, wind storms are usually of fairly short duration, very intense and hard to predict. The primary effect on buildings is structural damage due to the lifting or suction force of the wind from the exterior, as well as the blow-out force of the wind if it penetrates the interior. The results can be loss of roofs, walls, porches, lifting the building off the foundation, or complete destruction. Other sources of wind damage are from trees and wind-born objects and debris. Rain during or after a wind storm is also a threat. If the damaged building is left unprotected, water infiltration can cause additional damage.
Natural Hazards – Flooding Flooding from spring snow melt and rain is a major cause of damage in the river valleys. Snow and rain amounts are closely monitored, and the potential effect on rivers can be projected days or weeks in advance, which provides time for property owners and communities to prepare for floods. The areas most likely to be flooded are defined on Corps of Engineers maps by 100 year or 500 year flood plain elevations. The areas at or below these elevations are the most likely to be affected by flood. Past flood records also show the areas most likely to be affected by flooding. Flash flooding from intense rain storms can occur quickly without much advance warning. Flash flooding can occur in much smaller areas, and often affects small streams and storm drainage systems. The flooding generally only lasts as long as the heavy rain continues to overtax storm drainage systems. The primary damage to historic buildings in a flood disaster is from immersion of building materials in flood waters. The force of the moving water can cause structural collapse of structures. In addition, storm and sanitary sewer back-up during flooding is a major cause of damage to buildings. Fire due to ruptured utility lines, growth of mold and mildew, and swelling, warping, and disintegration of materials due to prolonged presence of moisture are also threats in a flood disaster.
Natural Hazards – Fire Wildfires or forest fires affect buildings on prairies or in forests, and could encompass large land areas. This type of disaster is generally the result of dry, windy conditions which are monitored by the National Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, who usually can provide adequate warning. The threat of fire can last for an extended period of time although the serious exposure to an individual property could be much shorter. Lightning related fire would usually be limited to a single building per strike. The threat of lightning is present during severe storms which can also produce high winds and tornadoes. The threat of lightning during a storm is hard to predict. Arson and building fault fires are not natural disasters, but the results are the same. Building fault fires are generally preventable with routine inspection and maintenance programs. The primary damage is caused by consumption of combustibles by fire and collapse of portions or all of the building. Smoke produced by the fire can penetrate and damage portions of the building unaffected by actual burning. Water damage during fire fighting to burned and undamaged portions of the building is also a threat; during freezing weather, this can also result in ice damage to the structure. If the damaged building is left unprotected, moisture infiltration from snow and rain can produce additional damage
Natural Hazards – Snow/Ice Heavy accumulation of snow and ice during winter storms can cause damage to historic buildings. Minnesotans are accustomed to snow, and weather forecasts can generally provide adequate warnings of heavy snow or ice storms. Proper building insulation, vapor barriers, and building maintenance can greatly reduce the build- up of ice that could cause building damage. Roof and building collapse can result from snow build-up that exceeds the load capacity of the roof. Collapse due to overloading can usually be prevented by removing excess snow as it accumulates. If damaged buildings are left unprotected, later storms can cause additional damage. Prolonged ice and snow buildup on roofs can cause ice dams which will allow moisture to penetrate the building and damage both interior materials and structural members. Fallen trees and limbs can cause further damage to historic buildings. In addition, the loss of electricity for extended time periods can result in additional damage from frozen pipes and stress on building finishes due to temperature extremes.
General Air Quality Minnesota’s air quality is generally good and has been improving for most pollutants. Minnesota has been in compliance with all national ambient air quality standards since Also, concentrations of most toxic air pollutants of concern have gradually decreased until, individually, they are below levels of health concern. Much of this decline can be attributed to lowered emissions from major facilities and cleaner cars and fuels due to enforcement of the Clean Air Act and Clean Air Act Amendments, as well as voluntary reductions undertaken at some facilities However, even as air programs have contributed to the decrease in emissions and concentrations of many air pollutants, increased understanding of serious health effects has resulted in stricter national ambient air quality standards. In 2006, the daily fine particle national standard was lowered by nearly half. In early 2008, the ozone standard was lowered from 0.08 parts per million (ppm) to ppm. In October 2008, the quarterly lead standard was made 10 times stricter than the previous standard. As a result, even as emissions and concentrations of key pollutants have decreased, the number of poor air quality days has increased. Air Pollution Health Alerts are called when the air is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups or higher according to the air quality index (AQI). These days are almost always the result of high levels of fine particles or ozone. Since the AQI is a main communication tool for Minnesota air quality, the increase in alert days leads to a dichotomy in public perception, with many Minnesotans believing that air quality is worsening, when in fact improvements are being made.
Climate Change The issue of climate change is currently the subject of intense political controversy and debate. Foremost in this debate is the question of whether and how to go about reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. Intertwined are the issues of whether the climate is changing at all, the degree to which human activity is responsible, and what the future climate will be. In Minnesota, extensive weather observations recorded over decades have led scientists to conclude that the climate in this region is changing. Minnesota is already experiencing impacts from climate change, and will continue to experience impacts to our ecosystems, natural resources, and infrastructure. Key Impacts in the Midwest: During the summer, public health and quality of life, especially in cities, will be negatively affected by increasing heat waves, reduced air quality, and increasing insect and waterborne diseases. In the winter, warming will have mixed impacts. The likely increase in precipitation in winter and spring, more heavy downpours, and greater evaporation in summer would lead to more periods of both floods and water deficits. While the longer growing season provides the potential for increased crop yields, increases in heat waves, floods, droughts, insects, and weeds will present increasing challenges to managing crops, livestock, and forests. Native species are very likely to face increasing threats from rapidly changing climate conditions, pests, diseases, and invasive species moving in from warmer regions.
Climate Change – Energy Most greenhouse gases emitted in Minnesota are related to energy use, consistently accounting for about 85% of statewide emissions. These emissions come from combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity, transportation fuels, and the production and transportation of finished fuels. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Minnesota by Major Activity
Landfills/Dumps Minnesota disposes of some if its waste or garbage in landfills, which may be called "dumps" by some. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) distinguishes between landfills and dumps by regulating the ongoing operations of open landfills and the closure and maintenance of closed landfills. However, the MPCA does not permit or regulate the use of dumps. See the information and links below to learn more about landfills in Minnesota Open Landfills Open landfills are regulated by MN Rules 7001 and They actively accept, under the terms and conditions of a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) permit, certain types of wastes for disposal. They are part of a larger and integrated collection of open solid waste management facilities that process, transfer and receive waste for disposal in Minnesota. Open landfills fall into several categories, which include: demolition, industrial, mixed municipal and municipal waste combustor ash. More information about open landfills in Minnesota is available from the link below. The term "dumps" is also used sometimes by the public to refer to landfills. If you're looking for information about dumps, you may find it under open landfills.
Landfills/Dumps – Con’t Closed Landfill Program The MPCA Closed Landfill Program (CLP) was created in 1994 by the passage of the Landfill Cleanup Act (LCA) as an alternative to the Superfund Program, which remediated qualified closed landfills throughout Minnesota. The MPCA is authorized and mandated under the LCA to initiate cleanup actions, complete closures, take over long-term operation and maintenance, and reimburse eligible parties for past cleanup costs at up to 112 qualified closed state- permitted landfills throughout Minnesota. Dumps "Dump" is a common term used by the public that could mean a landfill in either the MPCA Open Landfill or Closed Landfill Programs, or a landfill in neither program. The MPCA defines "dumps" as those landfills that never held a valid permit from the MPCA. Generally, dumps existed prior to the permitting program established with the creation of the MPCA in Dumps are not restricted to any type of waste. For more information about "dumps" is available from the link below.