Around Cook County
Minnesota will give the owners of Great Lakes vessels an extra two years to install ballast treatment technology, but the state remains the only government moving to regulate the freshwater boats.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Monday unveiled its new five year water quality permit regulations for ships that enter Minnesota waters of Lake Superior, giving supporters and opponents until Sept. 11 to comment.
The draft rules delay the previous requirement that existing lakers install ballast treatment technology on Jan. 1, 2016, for at least two years and likely until each vessel goes in for major service dry dock after Jan. 1, 2018.
Jeff Udd, the PCA’s director of industrial water quality permits, told the Duluth News Tribune the delay acknowledges that the technology does not yet exist for lakers to meet the ballast treatment guidelines, but it will by 2018.
In 2008 Minnesota became one of the first states to issue its own ballast water regulations, and the only one to target lakers as well as saltwater ships. The permits must be renewed every five years. Each ship that enters state waters must have a ballast plan on file under the rules.
Earlier this year, Grand Marais City Council authorized a public works space need study in an effort to learn the details of what it will take to build a public works facility to house the city’s fleet of vehicles and maintenance equipment.
On July 25, representatives of the engineering firm that did the survey were on hand to present the results, specifically to provide a preliminary budget and location recommendation.
Dave Bjerkness and C.J. Fernandez of LHB Architects explained the process they used to examine and summarize the pros and cons of each of three sites proposed for the storage facility. Among the prerequisites were that an area of about 4.5 acres would be needed, the site would have to be close to city utilities and the city itself, and the building(s) would have to be large enough to accommodate the city’s two dozen vehicles and large pieces of equipment—roughly 15,000 square feet of heated space plus 2,500 square feet of cold storage.
“None of the sites really fit exactly,” said Fernandez, who did some of the site inspection work. However, he said judging by proximity to utilities, topography and amount of grading needed to prepare the site, one site “rose to the top.” That site is located in the Cedar Grove Business Park. The two other sites that were looked at were a city-owned parcel near the former burn pile near the water tower off the Gunflint Trail, and a city-owned lot just north of the hospital, also off the Gunflint Trail.
Bjerkness noted that there are still “challenges” to the preferred site, namely grading and working around wetlands. Use of a site in the business park would also take a sellable lot off the market, another consideration that needs to be factored into any decision, Bjerkness said.
Invasive species – plants not natural to this area that aggressively displace indigenous plants – affect human health, economics, and forest ecology, according to Angelique Edgerton, invasive species coordinator with the Cook County Invasive Team. Invasive plants are present in Cook County, and to help people learn how to control them, several workshops are being held in August.
The workshops will be held Tuesday, August 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Beaver Bay Community Center; Wednesday, August 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais; and Thursday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hovland Town Hall. Participation is free of charge and refreshments and snacks will be provided.
Canada thistle, common tansy, and spotted knapweed are three invasive species plaguing this area. The workshops will help people learn how to identify these and other invasive species and what kinds of treatment methods will control them. Different treatments are recommended for different species and range from pulling or cutting to spraying or wiping with herbicides.
The workshops will also cover what to do with an area once invasive plants have been removed. “Planting trees and shrubs can help reclaim the site,” Edgerton said. “One way to improve tree root growth and increase tree survival, as well as successfully extend the planting season into late summer and early fall, is through the use of gravel beds. We will explain how to create gravel beds and discuss their benefits and applications.”
More information on the workshops can be found online at sugarloafnorthshore.org. For further information or to register, contact Angelique Edgerton with the Cook County Invasive Team at (218)387-3772 or Mike Reichenbach with University of Minnesota Extension at (218)726-6470.
The search for Paul Brandt, 82, Grand Marais, is over. Searchers who determinedly continued searching for the man who went missing while berry picking on Thursday, August 1 discovered his body today. Nor’Wester Lodge & Outfitters posted the sad news on its facebook page at about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 11.
The search began at 9:40 p.m. on August 1. Assisting in the search efforts were personnel from search and rescue teams from Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties as well as Central Lakes Search & Rescue in Minnesota and Sawyer County Search & Rescue of Wisconsin; Minnesota State Patrol; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Border Patrol; and the Gunflint, Hovland, Colvill, Maple Hill, Lutsen, and Grand Marais fire departments. Numerous civilians assisted in the search as well.
When official ground search efforts were suspended on August 6, volunteers continued the search, something that Cook County Law Enforcement endorsed. Cook County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Leif Lunde explained that the ground search had been suspended because “all reasonable locations have been searched without success.”
Due to a shift in the markets the Cook County Recycling program will not be able to accept mixed plastics until further notice. This according to Cook County Planning and Zoning director Tim Nelson.
Only plastic containers with the numbers 1 and 2 will be accepted.
Nelson announced the change Friday, August 9th.
Number 1 and 2 plastics are typically the milk and beverage containers.
For more information, contact the Recycling Center, or the Cook County Solid Waste Department at 387-3630.