Too Much Water, Too Much Sediment

Lake Superior and all lakes are precious, protect them!

This summer I wished I could have given some of our rain to drought stricken North or South Dakota. Everyday on Lake Superior seemed to sprout a rain shower.  When I read the water quality of Lake Superior wasn’t superior to other Great Lakes anymore, my first thought was of this summer’s rain. Because of the rainy summer, the lake level became very high, and this high water caused some of the soft lake banks to erode into the lake causing lake sediment.  The streams running into the lake bring more sediment into the lake.

An unusual fact about Lake Superior: Many streams and rivers drain into the big lake, but only one river drains out of the lake, the St. Mary’s River, and that is regulated at Sault Ste. Marie. I know the water that flows out through the St. Mary’s River is complicated with many factors, but releasing more water from the lake could probably help water quality of Lake Superior. Read at St. Mary’s River.

We can all do better to protect the water quality this magnificent lake, and other lakes also.

Buffer strips along lakes protect water quality.

Slowing down the water flow can help. Buffer strips of deep-rooted plants along streams and along the lake can reduce sediment run-off, and putting in rain gardens and rain barrels can also slow the water.

The below ideas for protecting our lakes is from the Superiorforum.org , Sigurd Olson Institute, Northland college, the EPA, and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:
1 .Be conservative with your water use.
2. Recycle as much as you can with the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and repair. And….NEVER burn trash.
3. Curb Yard Pollution. Put your lawn on a chemical-free diet!!
4. Stop aquatic invasives by cleaning plants and animals off your boat.
5. Plant native plants, and reduce turf grass.
6. Plant native trees According to Audubon, oak trees are the best for attracting insects and birds.
7. Install a rain barrel
8. Create an energy-efficient home.
9. Bring hazardous waste to waste collection sites.
10. Love our lakes!

I would add a few more:

  1. Plastics have become a big problem for our waterways.  Reduce plastic use and be sure any plastic-use is recycled. Also remember to say, “No straw please!”
  2. Micro-fibers in our clothes also are polluting our waterways. As of yet there isn’t a good solution. Read about micro-fibers here.
  3. Always pick up litter.

The water we have on earth is the only water we will ever have, we must take care of it!

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Chemical Weapons

We have an administration in this country that has shown it doesn’t care about the health of the American people.  It is working hard to take away health care from our nation’s most vulnerable, allows industry to pollute our precious air and water, and has left the Paris Agreement which is a teamwork agreement with 175 other countries to work on climate change.  But when this administration  speaks out, it speaks out about the Syrian people which they have banned from entering The United States?  All this is impossible to make sense of, but the below letter to the editor had a lot to say:

CHEMICAL WEAPONS from Startribune.com

There are two kinds: Syria’s, and those sprayed on food

The hypocritical attitudes of the current administration in Washington were clearly depicted on Page A4 of Wednesday’s Star Tribune with the juxtaposition of two news stories.

One article notes the White House’s warning that the Syrian regime would “pay a heavy price” if it used chemical weapons against its own people. The next article describes the EPA’s reversal of the ban on spraying chlorpyrifos on food in our country.

The EPA’s own studies have proved that chlorpyrifos harms children’s brains and that pregnant mothers “ingesting even minuscule amounts” can interfere with babies’ brain development. Is there a connection between this chemical and the 78 percent rise in autism in the last decade?

Why would EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt side with Dow Chemical rather than the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose 66,000 members are deeply alarmed with the decision? Could it be that the $13.6 million Dow spent lobbying last year or the $1 million donated to President Donald Trump’s inaugural influenced Pruitt’s decision?

The big question to be answered: Why is the White House outraged by the Syrian children being sprayed with chemicals while allowing chemicals to harm American children? Just whom is the Environmental Protection Agency protecting?

Kathleen Ziegler, Lino Lakes

Information from Earth Justice on chlorpyrifos

Celebrating Butterflies

Hobomok skipper on Canadian anemone

I love butterflies, and National Pollinator Week gives me an excuse to concentrate on what brings butterflies to my yard and to my walking routes. This week I learned two new skipper butterflies: the hobomok skipper and Arctic skipper.  Both are crazy for wild geranium, The yellow swallow-tail, painted lady and admirals are plentiful now also, and a few monarchs are checking out the milkweed.  Also, this week I saw one pearl crescent and a silvery blue.

Arctic skipper on wild geranium
Favorite butterfly books

Below are two books that help me identify butterflies, and here is an on-line butterfly guide.

Have fun land I hope you enjoy butterflies as much as I do!  Get out for a walk and look!

 

An American painted lady

Turn Your Banana Peel into Good!

 

Backyard Compost Collection

How can you amend your soil and garden without chemicals? This is from the Compost Foundation, and see their video below:

Have you ever looked at a banana peel and thought, “Is that it?” Does life go on? Could this humble peel serve a greater purpose?
We’re telling the new story of compost as the regenerating, probiotic solution for restoring land and balancing the climate.
60 billion pounds of food material go to landfill every year, creating methane gas that is poisoning us and destroying our home. Meanwhile, we’re throwing away the building blocks of life. We’re INSANE! JUST STOP IT!! So what’s the solution?”

See the video on composting:  Composting Story
My tips on composting. Read here

Give Your Yard a Dose of Happy

Deep-rooted plants absorb more water than turf grass. Cone flowers, bee balm, and black-eyed Susan

Just making a few adjustments to your yard can make big difference for our climate. If everyone does a little bit, it adds up to a lot! Some amazing statistics on our lawns from “greener lawn” below:

*Grass covers more land in the US than any other crop.

*It’s estimated that there’s up to three times more acres of lawns than corn, according to NASA

Fritillary butterfly on bee balm.

*Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their yards compared to what farmers use on their crops, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some other ideas to slow climate change and help pollinators:

**plant a rain garden

** Add diversity

** Love pollinators

** More on bees an butterflies

Minnesota Public Radio on a “greener” lawn:

Grass isn’t greener

Adding new pollinator plants is not easy if you are a hosta gardener or a new gardener.

I would start small by adding a few of these: purple cone flowers, black-eyed Susan, bee balm, a few asters, and columbine.  I suggest these because many garden stores sell them, they are easy to grow, add diversity, and are loved by pollinators.