Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017

$500 million deal

Minn. governor signs agreement to protect rural waters

Gov. Mark Dayton signs a deal in St. Paul Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will provide $350 million in compensation for farmers who voluntarily put land important to improving water quality into conservation easements.  CHRISTOPHER MAGAN

Pioneer Press

Star Tribune

Thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive land in southwest Minnesota will be converted to native plants and grasses in an ambitious effort to protect local waters from polluted runoff, thanks to a major new infusion of cash for rural conservation. A highly anticipated state-federal deal, announced by Gov. Mark Dayton, will provide $350 million from the USDA and $150 million in state funds to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

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Great Lakes need more work, IJC report says

Duluth News Tribune

The joint Canadian-U.S. commission that oversees border water disputes and Great Lakes environmental health says the lakes are doing better but still need more work from both governments. That's the latest assessment of the International Joint Commission's Great Lakes progress report issued every three years. The report praised the governments for their work so far but said big problems remain.

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Aging septic systems fouling Michigan waters

Detroit Free Press

Hundreds of thousands of septic systems in Michigan may be worn out, failed or failing, experts say. And research has shown they are polluting waters across the state. Up to 1.4 million septic systems — individual waste disposal systems for homes or businesses that aren't connected to a municipal sewer line — still remain in Michigan. More than 21 million homes in the U.S. still use them.

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