Roughly 10,000 years ago raging glacial meltwaters created the broad valley of the Upper Mississippi River that we know today. They also helped form one of the river’s most famous and significant landmarks, Barn Bluff.
The Beltrami Island Project was a pioneering land program of the New Deal enacted across hundreds of thousands of acres in northern Minnesota. Federal and state governments worked side by side to move residents off of poor farmland as well as to restore forest across areas of the cutover region.
Since 1952, the Citizens League has had a major impact on public policies in Minnesota. A group of civic leaders had the idea of inviting leaders from different parts of the community to the table to solve big policy issues. This meant bringing together lawmakers, union leaders, heads of Minnesota companies, and experts from universities and industries. As a group, these experts and leaders would study an issue and then write a research paper they could all agree on. Then they would do the political work required to make their conclusions a reality.
Between 1913 and 1914 the Coon Rapids hydroelectric dam was constructed with the intent to provide power to Anoka County. The dam was shut down in 1966 after becoming too expensive to operate. It later became part of Minnesota’s environmental control program.
Expert Essay: Associate professor of history Michael J. Lansing, published in Environmental History as well as Ethics, Place, and Environment, highlights the many ways people have made use of Minnesota's flora and fauna over time and reviews the state's more recent efforts at conservation.
On June 12, 1873, farmers in southwestern Minnesota saw what looked like a snowstorm coming towards their fields from the west. What seemed to be snowflakes were in fact grasshoppers. In a matter of hours, knee-high fields of grass and wheat were eaten to the ground by hungry hoppers.
Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, and Pokegama Falls Dams were built in the Mississippi Headwaters during the late 19th century. These structures preceded the construction of the Headwaters reservoir system and played key roles in flood prevention and river control during the 20th century.
In 1962 and 1963, industrial accidents spilled 3.5 million gallons of oil into the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. The oil covered the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Lake Pepin, creating an ecological disaster and a demand to control water pollution.
A devastating cyclone hit Rochester on August 21, 1883. It killed dozens of people and injured many more, but emergency health services in the tornado's aftermath also led to the eventual creation of the Mayo Clinic.
On October 5, 1869, water seeped and then gushed into a tunnel underneath St. Anthony Falls creating an enormous whirlpool. The falls were nearly destroyed. It was years before the area was fully stabilized and the falls were again safe from collapse.
The Headwaters Dams were built between 1881 and 1912 in the Mississippi headwaters. The dams served to regulate river flow and assist navigation until 1938, when they were relegated to a flood control role.
When Congress enacted the Timber Culture Act of 1873, many hoped that giving settlers deed to public lands in return for growing trees would reshape the environment of the West. However, legal loopholes meant that most of the tree claims filed under the Timber Culture Act were never planted with trees. Fraudulent claims and wild speculation meant that the act was repealed less than twenty years after it was enacted.
After the discovery of taconite in the late nineteenth century, scientists struggled to find ways to extract iron ore from this sedimentary rock, which contains 25 to 30 percent iron. The process that was eventually developed involves crushing the hard rock into a powder-like consistency. The iron ore is then removed with magnets and turned into pellets.
The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is the state's largest, most diverse and complete horticultural site. The grounds have more than five thousand types of plants, including fruits, vegetables, bushes and flowers. Located about twenty miles west of the Twin Cities, it is a significant horticultural resource.
Count William Rudolph Martinovich von Rovigno was born a European nobleman but became a big-game hunter, worldwide traveler, bronco-buster, wilderness guide, and friend of "Buffalo Bill" Cody. After falling in love with Minnesota's north woods, he settled and worked in the state as a game warden, forest guard, and wilderness advocate.