solarpollinators

Yes, Solar energy in Minnesota is a thing.

Mankato Free Press (Minnesota):

The piece of land just east of Mankato was prairie for thousands of years. A century and a half ago it was plowed into farmland. Last year it was transformed to a massive solar array.

And this spring, the parcel will become a first-of-its-kind research laboratory — studying ways to make harmonious neighbors of solar arrays, prairie plants and agriculture.

“We certainly are aiming to demonstrate this in practice as well as theory that solar developments can coexist with agriculture in a very effective way,” said Marcus Krembs, director of sustainability for Enel Green Power North America. “… This is a really exciting project.”

Enel, which constructed the array as part of its 150-megawatt Aurora solar project, recently reached a research agreement with U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The joint study will examine best practices for vegetation selection and management at three Minnesota solar arrays in the 16-array Aurora project, including the 44-acre Eastwood array midway between Mankato and Eagle Lake.

With photovoltaic panels now covering thousands of acres of land in Minnesota alone, the results of the study are expected to be used by the state Department of Natural Resources in refining requirements for plantings at solar arrays. The research will look at which plants work best for bees, butterflies and other pollinators; how different plant species impact the health of the soil; and what mix of plants can keep the air cooler within a solar array, which boosts the efficiency of solar panels.

The Mankato site was chosen, along with arrays near Atwater and in Chisago County, to provide diversity in ecological and soil characteristics, Krembs said.

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Better, more comprehensive analysis than you will hear on any network.

If you’ve ever wondered what you would do in a crisis – you’re doing it now.

Artists always push the boundaries of technology – indispensable partners giving vision and imagination to engineering.

Reposting Allan Savory’s talk on cattle and climate above.
The Weather Channel has profiled ranchers on the American plains trying to replicate his ideas – they say successfully.
Not everyone agrees.

Weather Channel:

To hear Mimi Hillenbrand tell it, American bison are more than just the majestic creatures that once graced the grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by the millions until we nearly wiped them off the face of the earth. They may very well play a role in saving us from ourselves.

“They’ve have been around for millions of years …” Hillenbrand says. “They are just so American, so us.”

Hillenbrand owns and manages 777 Bison Ranch in Hermosa, a 26,000-acre ranch that has been the site of the several movie productions, including “Dancing With Wolves” and “Wyatt Earp.”

The ranch has been in her family since the 1970s, when it was still a cattle ranch. The land, at the time, was in bad shape and overgrazed, she told weather.com.

For a time, the family grazed both cattle and bison, but a particularly brutal blizzard in the 1980s prompted her family to make the switch completely to bison and to employ different grazing methods that has made a difference in the health of the land. They now grass-feed just under 2,000 bison.

“The switch fits our goals of trying to bring back native grasses and trying to leave the land in a better state for the next generation,” she said.

One of the added benefits of making the switch, she said, is what she learns from the massive animals that at one time numbered upward of 60 million in North America but have now dwindled to some 400,000.

“They teach me something every day,” she said, adding that she admires the animals named America’s national mammal by Congress last year because “they are still wild, they are intelligent and curious, and they know the land and the weather,” perhaps even better by instinct than humans.

They may also have a role in healing the land and reducing global warming.

Vox:

Average temperatures in South Dakota have already shot up by 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, and the number of triple-digit temperature days is poised to double by 2050, Wright reports. The concern is that these rising temperatures will lead to more severe droughts, which in turn will harm the livestock this state relies on heavily for its economy.

South Dakota has about five beef cattle for every one of its 865,000 residents, and they’re worth almost $2.8 billion to the state’s economy.

The value of livestock in South Dakota.
South Dakota Department of Agriculture

And using bison as a proxy for cattle, one study found that every degree Celsius of average temperature rise would cost the livestock industry an additional $1 billion as the market weight of cattle declines.

Projections show that under a business as usual trajectory for greenhouse gas emissions, the region will see average temperature rise by 4.65 degrees Fahrenheit by 2065, which will take a big bite out of the state’s cattle industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Put down coffee.

Dude, you poison our kids, we’re going to be rude.

The Hill:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that Administrator Scott Pruitt faced profanities and confrontations while traveling after controversy surrounding his use of first-class flights.

The director of the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Henry Barnet, told Politico that Pruitt was “approached in the airport numerous times” and had profanities “yelled at him” during his travels.

Barnet told the publication that one specific incident saw a person approach Pruitt and shout “Scott Pruitt, you’re f—ing up the environment” while recording it on a cellphone.

“The team leader felt that he was being placed in a situation where he was unsafe on the flight,” Barnet told Politico.

“We felt that based on the recommendation from the team leader, the special agent in charge, that it would be better suited to have him in business or first class, away from close proximity from those individuals who were approaching him and being extremely rude, using profanities and potential for altercations and so forth,” he continued.

The EPA’s defense of the administrator’s traveling habits comes after The Washington Post reported Sunday that Pruitt frequently flies first class on official trips, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.

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“You knew I was a snake when you picked me up.”

I posted the other day on massive new cuts to the National Weather Service. Science, of course we knew, is not a priority for the Trump Administration.

Apparently, Oklahomans hadn’t given it much thought.

Raw Story:

Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump and now the Republican leader is hitting back against his most loyal supporters, KFOR news reported.

In his budget, Trump has proposed gutting the National Weather Service in an area of the country that depends on forecasters and meteorologists to protect them from extreme weather events.

“For some bizarre reason, the president is proposing to cut 248 forecasters,” National Weather Service Legislative Director Richard Hirn told KFOR.

“Should the public be concerned about these potential staff cuts? I think the answer is yes because – even though you see things coming down the pipe for days, sometimes weeks in advance – even those last few minutes or hours can make a huge difference on the outcome as to what type of severe weather in this particular case that we may receive,” KFOR meteorologist Mike Morgan explained.

The NWS could lose more than 350 staffers, the vast majority of which would be forecasters.

“The Trump administration has proposed to effectively eliminate 20 percent of the forecasters or front-line operational employees at the 122 forecast offices around the country,” Hirn said.

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