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Greg Stanley

Reporter | Environment
Phone: 612-673-4882

Greg Stanley is an environmental reporter for the Star Tribune. He has previously covered water issues, development and politics in Florida’s Everglades and in northern Illinois.

Stanley is a native of Milwaukee and loves the outdoors. He graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in English.
Recent content from Greg Stanley
A worker sweeps up silica sand around casting molds at Smith Foundry Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023 Minneapolis, Minn. For years, residents have been complain

Environmental groups say Minnesota failed to stop polluters, should hold statehouse hearings on enforcement

From industrial plants to farm country pollution, the MPCA, DNR, MDH and MDA have lapsed in environmental enforcement, a coalition of environmental groups claims.
Thousands of fireflies light up the Spring Peeper Meadow at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on a July evening in 2020.

Biologists: To save fireflies, turn off backyard lights this summer

A critical mating season for fireflies is about to begin. It could be upset by too much light.
Sara Lofgren filled a bathtub in December with gray water that poured out of her faucets while the city of Elko New Market ran an aquifer test. Lofgre

Water turned dark and dirty after Elko New Market tested aquifer

Water polluted with manganese destroyed appliances and ruined clothes after the suburb ran an aquifer test.
Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune White Earth, MN;9/28/05;left to right:At the White Earth Land Recovery Project facility, brothers Wayne(sitting) a

Potato grower asks court to stop Minnesota tribe from regulating its water use

The White Earth Band of Chippewa wants its own permits for major irrigation on and near its reservation. R.D. Offutt Farms is suing to stop it.
A male pup from the Windsong pack ventures outside its den on May 6 near Kabetogama, Minn.

Video shows wolf fishing for spawning suckers in northern Minnesota

A trail camera set up by the Voyageurs Wolf Project shows that Minnesota's wolves are taking advantage of the spring spawning run, in this case on the Ash River.
Dana Franzen-Klein, medical director at the Minnesota Raptor Center applied anesthesia to young barred owl. The young owl was found on a local golf co

As bird flu spreads to dairy cows, Minnesota's raptors show signs of building remarkable immunity

High numbers of eagles, owls, condors and other raptors have beaten the H5N1 strain.
Crews have contained the wildfire in the Superior National Forest.

Forest Service: Superior wildfire that started with prescribed burn contained

Rain and clouds have helped subdue the 209-acre blaze.
Devin Lamm pulls a golden redhorse, his first catch of the derby, out of the water during the Root River Roundup Saturday in Lanesboro.

Anglers hope to unlock the mysteries of Minnesota's oddest, oldest fish

The state's redhorse, bigmouth buffalo, gar and other rough fish have been misunderstood for more than a century.
A boat goes north on the Mississippi River as heavy smoke from wildfire blankets downtown St. Paul last June.

Expect clearer air this summer in Minnesota, thanks to a milder wildfire season

Wildfires may still bring some smoke, but not nearly as much as 2023, forecasters said.
Corn fields in Fergus Falls, Minn., on Nov. 2, 2023. In a move aimed at lowering the greenhouse gas emissions of air travel, the Biden administration

Biden opens door for tax credits so corn farmers can grow jet fuel

Corn growers can qualify for the lucrative credits if they use cover crops and avoid tilling the soil.
Aitkin, MN 9/9/2002 Just two hours before a special hunt by the DNR in the Aitkin area to test for CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), this doe and her faw

Rare and fatal brain disease in two deer hunters raises concerns about CWD

A team of researchers said the cases hint at a potential contamination from infected venison. CDC says link is unlikely.
Katrina Kessler, the commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said Monday that the state will monitor pollution problems along Minnesot

Minnesota to take the pulse of the Mississippi River, from the headwaters to Iowa border

State regulators will study the health of Minnesota's entire 650-mile stretch of the river this year.
Vance Haugen and Bonnie Haugen are among many residents of southeastern Minnesota concerned about nitrate pollution in their drinking water. Minnesota

Minnesota House lawmakers push forward fertilizer tax to clean up contaminated wells

The tax on farmers, smaller than earlier proposals, cleared a key House committee.
The state plans to shutter Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet on the Iron Range to turn the site back into an active mine.

Minnesota to close state park on Iron Range, turn it back into a mine

A reclamation company wants to find usable iron in the waste pilings at Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet, Minn.
To lower your transportation carbon footprint, one good option is taking the bus or train.

Big and small ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Eat less beef. Ride the bus. Turn down the thermostat. For Earth Day, we bring you ideas on how to do your part and reduce your carbon footprint.
Members of the Peterson family, who operate Far-Gaze Farms, worked harvesting corn on one of their fields, this one 142 acres, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015,ne

White House yet to release sustainable jet fuel tax credit rules; corn farmers eager to mix in ethanol

The lucrative federal tax credit created by the Inflation Reduction Act could be a boon for corn farmers, if it's ever released.
Upper Red Lake is one of Minnesota's hottest walleye fisheries and it attracts anglers from all over the Upper Midwest.

Legislation would give state land to Red Lake Nation

Local residents say they were blindsided by the Upper Red Lake proposal; DNR said it was not consulted about bills.
"Everyone in this room is here to lead the revolt," said DFL Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein, co-chair of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force

Bill would transfer vast tract of Minnesota-owned woodlands back to White Earth tribe

The proposal would change ownership of portions of the White Earth State Forest within the band's reservation boundaries.
A gray wolf with a padded research trap on its foot peered out from the woods at the crew from the Voyageurs Wolf Project in 2021.

Video of wolf killing Minnesota deer becomes political fodder

The video was publicized by U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, who wants gray wolves off the endangered species list.
This photo provided by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency shows raw cream from Plainview Milk Products Cooperative in Wabasha County draining into

Dairy processor fined for overwhelming southeastern Minnesota sewer plant by dumping raw milk

Plainview Milk Products Cooperative has been cited for four spills in the last two years.
A deformed frog with two extra hind legs is shown in this photo from the mid-1990s.

What caused the 'horrific' deformities of Minnesota frogs in the 1990s?

The discovery by Minnesota middle schoolers became national news, leading to similar finds elsewhere in the country.
Minnesota regulators sued the city of Minneapolis to try to stop a homeowner from building on this protected bluff of the Mississippi River.

Minnesota DNR goes to court to stop Minneapolis man from building riverfront house

The Minneapolis City Council approved Andy Wattenhofer's plan, but the DNR says it encroaches on a protected bluff.
Scientists deployed an Argo float to measure ocean temperatures in 2018.

Record ocean temps likely cause of Minnesota's weird non-winter

Ocean temperatures, which reached record highs for the sixth straight year, are supercharging weather around the globe.
The Minnesota DNR teamed up with Wisconsin and federal agencies and commercial fishermen in September 2022 to try to net and tag invasive silver carp.

Minnesota DNR calls for stepping up battle against carp, but postpones decision on barrier

The state's invasive carp strategy was updated Thursday for the first time in a decade.
The high level of nitrate in its drinking water is forcing Utica, a small town in Winona County, to drill a much deeper new well. It’s a $2 million

State says it will provide clean drinking water in southeast Minnesota, but offers no new curbs on farm pollution

State Rep. Rick Hansen, chair of the House environment committee, called the state's response "embarrassing" and said the EPA should reject it.
Volkswagen will pay Minnesota $14 million in the final round of a settlement owed to the state after the company was caught cheating federal emission

Minnesota will build charging stations, replace trucks with VW settlement cash

The final round of settlement money from the company's emission scandal will be used to get dozens of old diesel engines off the state's roads.
The Upper Sioux Agency State Park in Granite Falls was created on a notorious site of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The Upper Sioux Community was force

Minnesota to close Upper Sioux Agency State Park in February

As directed by the Legislature last year, the state will transfer ownership of the land to the Upper Sioux Community.

Lynx recovery plan aims to keep Minnesota population stable, even as winters warm

The plan calls for $31 million in studies and support to halt the endangered animal's decline.
Under Minnesota law, anyone responsible for starting a wildfire through carelessness or negligence is on the hook for paying the cost of putting it ou

Minnesota man faces a $15,000 bill after his blown tire started a wildfire

The Minnesota DNR says the man is responsible for the cost of putting out a 32-acre wildfire.
A proposed patio at the Ambiance on Albion Taphouse and Grille would have hung over the shoreline of Hall Lake in Fairmont, Minn. The city dropped its

Fairmont drops bid to allow shoreline patio after Minnesota regulators sue

The city agreed to disallow the construction rather than fight the state in court.
A moose is seen in Isle Royale, Mich., in an undated file photo.

State's record warm December will leave mark on landscape

Without a deep snowpack, deer likely will flourish. It will cause havoc for moose, however, and likely lead to more summertime algal blooms on lakes.
Tyler Winter, a spokesman for the Izaak Walton League of America, with a bigmouth buffalo he caught last year in the Twin Cities.

Minnesota poised to protect 23 species of native fish once seen as throwaways

Such species as bowfin, gar, redhorses and buffalo fish perform valuable functions in aquatic ecosystems.
Loons and their chicks congregate on Cross Lake, near Pequot Lakes, one of the areas in the state where they gather in large numbers to feed before be

Loons are Minnesota's new icon, but they're wintering in Florida

The loon population is estimated at a stable 12,000, but there are some warning signs for the species.

Lawmaker: Tax fertilizer to clean up farm pollution in southeastern Minnesota

Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, wants to revive a plan to have farmers pay more to help reduce nitrate.
Dairy cows waited outside the milking parlor at Daley Farms of Lewiston, Minn., in 2020.

Farm seeking to expand its dairy operation loses legal fight to Winona County

Daley Farm had sued the county, saying officials had stacked an expansion vote against the large feedlot.
The Smith Foundry Co. in the East Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis was found by EPA investigators to have been regularly violating its air permit.

MPCA: We have no evidence Smith Foundry polluted Minneapolis neighborhood

The Environmental Protection Agency made a surprise visit to the iron foundry in May, and said it found a raft of problems. But Minnesota regulators insist they don't have the data to show Smith released excess soot.
MPCA staff install air monitors

St. Paul foundry fined $41K for air pollution permit violations

The MPCA's enforcement record at a different foundry in Minneapolis has come under scrutiny.
The Environmental Protection Agency Building

EPA to Minnesota: Take action to protect people from polluted wells in eight counties

A coalition of groups had asked the EPA to declare a public health emergency.
The Smith Foundry Co. pictured Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in the East Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. EPA investigators found the foundry has been r

EPA: Foundry has been polluting Minneapolis air since 2018

Surprise inspection in May leads to order for Smith Foundry to come into compliance.
New clarifiers were under construction in September at the St. Paul Regional Water Services McCarrons water treatment plant in Maplewood.

In remarkable turnaround, Minnesota cities consume much less water than decades ago

The conservation success is credited to upgrades in appliances, plumbing fixtures and garden sprinklers.
Siblings Silus, 6, left, and Meverick Yang, 10, fished from the Hinckley Dam on the Grindstone River in Hinckley, Minn., on Tuesday. They were there w

Minnesota plans to demolish dam in Hinckley over local objections

Removing the dam would bring back fish and mussels that have been gone from this stretch of the Grindstone River.

Woman killed in hit-and-run on Lake Street in south Minneapolis

Police are looking for a white pickup truck that fled on 13th Avenue S. after striking the woman.

Fridley man charged in March death of infant son

The criminal complaint says Aaron Michael Orlando Rathke, 23, would abuse the child until he passed, then try to resuscitate him.
Officials start to take down infrastructure for the 10-mile race in Minneapolis on Oct. 1, 2023. The Twin Cities Marathon and 10-mile race were cancel

Climate change spiked heat that canceled Twin Cities Marathon, climatologist says

The muggy 92-degree weather was more than 40 degrees hotter than ideal for running, race officials said.
A healthy ball cactus, planted last year on a granite outcropping, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 at Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge outside Ortonville,

In a rocky corner of Minnesota, botanists race to save imperiled cactus

The future of Minnesota's ball cactuses relies on the survival of a young group near an active granite quarry.
Blaine’s Water Tower No. 1 in Aquatore Park.

After more than 40 years, Blaine seeks split from Lexington's water system

Lexington's water is too dirty, Blaine argues, but it faces counter-accusations of covert actions.
Loons and their chicks congregate on Cross Lake on Aug. 31, 2023, near Pequot Lakes, Minn.

Normally loners, loons are converging on Minnesota lakes to fuel up for migration

The birds are feeding on cisco, a little fish that's a crucial food source.
A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources crew transplanted 3,506 mussels native to Minnesota in spring 2020 in the St. Croix River. The stretch of

Minnesota mussel decline blamed in part on the plight of the mudpuppy

The salamander mussel, which hangs on only in a stretch of the St. Croix River, is proposed for endangered status.
A rendering of Ambiance on Albion Taphouse and Grille’s proposed patio in Fairmont obtained through court records. The Minnesota Department of Natur

Minnesota DNR sues city of Fairmont, restaurant owner to stop lakefront patio

The City Council approved the plan 3-2 over the objection of its planners.
Wildfire smoke fills the air over Yellowknife, Canada, on Thursday. Smoke from fires in the Northwest Territories is polluting the air south of the bo

Air quality threat downgraded as gusty winds spare Minnesota from worst of wildfire smoke

Wildfire smoke from Canada will linger across the state Friday, but it won't be as thick as feared.
Much of eastern and southern Minnesota remains in severe drought levels, according to data from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Scattered August storms have helped, but drought persists across Minnesota

Much more rain is needed to break the dry spell. Time may be running out this year.
A smoky haze enveloped Minneapolis in June. Forecasters say smoke from continuing Canadian wildfires has the potential to make air in the Twin Cities

Canadian fires will blanket state with smoke the next two days

For a record 10th time this summer, state meteorologists issued a red category air quality alert.

Excessive heat warning for Twin Cities, Mankato areas; heat index could reach 105

A heat advisory remains in effect across the southern half of Minnesota. Much-needed rain has done little to moderate the high temps and humidity.
Wild Rice Monitor Katie Marsaa gently paddled towards a flock of geese to scare them away and out of the St. Louis River estuary.

Wild rice is growing in once-polluted St. Louis River. But geese keep eating it up.

Canada geese are gorging themselves on the once-polluted river's environmental success story.
This moose on Lake Superior’s Isle Royale has destroyed almost all of its fur trying to remove winter ticks from its body, exposing the animal’s b

Beset by engorged winter ticks, Minnesota moose suffer a ghastly fate

Though they're native parasites, the ticks have been aided by a changing climate.

State vows to replace amenities of state park after it's closed and returned to tribe

At a public meeting in late June, residents bemoaned the loss of a recreational and tourist attraction.

State vows to replace amenities of state park after it's closed and returned to tribe

The state suspended Blaine’s plans for a $30 million water system upgrade after learning the city failed to obtain permits to operate three of four

Dozens of wells ran dry after Blaine pumped water without permit, DNR says

The city pumped 380 million gallons of water from wells without a permit, causing at least 47 nearby homes to run dry.
Voyageurs Wolf Project lead Tom Gable and field biologist Austin Homkes carry a sedated male yearling wolf, O6C, from the Half-Moon pack to be fitted

Minnesota's wolves are far better at catching fish than previously known

The Voyageurs Wolf Project has tracked wolves teaching themselves to hunt spawning white suckers.
Beth Holbrook, a fish researcher, untangled a cisco that was caught in one of the nets set by biologists researching the fish in a northern Minnesota

Historic boom in Lake Superior's crucial herring population could be best in 40 years

A stunning turnaround for the popular fish could sustain Minnesota's commercial fisheries and North Shore restaurants for years.
In this Star Tribune file photo from 2003, a state-licensed commercial trapper of turtles held a small painted turtle caught in the wild. Fewer than 3

Minnesota bans commercial turtle trapping after 20-year effort

About 20 commercial trappers took 10,000 wild turtles a year.
Jeff Whitty, University of Minnesota researcher in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, transfers a temporarily stunned common carp from the

Minnesota voters will decide whether to keep using lottery dollars for environmental restoration

A constitutional amendment will be on the ballot in 2024 to use 40% of lottery dollars on the environment.
Kayakers paddled along a smoky Lake Nokomis, with a glimpse of downtown Minneapolis.

Air quality alert issued for Minnesota as smoke from dozens of wildfires covers state

Air pollution will reach dangerous levels until Friday morning
Sens. Kari Dziedzic and Foung Hawj talk on the Senate floor.

Lawmakers reach historic deal on environment, climate, energy

The bill features a broad ban on PFAS and $1 billion in new spending for environment and energy projects.
Wildflowers bloomed around the tipis on the prairie at Upper Sioux Agency State Park in 2013.

Minnesota set to close state park, return land to Dakota tribe

A bill at the Legislature aims to return historic homelands that now make up Upper Sioux Agency State Park.
A sample was taken from a great horned owl to test for bird flu.

Minnesota leads U.S. in wild bird deaths caused by avian flu

This year, the number of cases has fallen significantly in the state and across the U.S.
Gray petroleum-contaminated soil is excavated at the site of a Cenex gas station leak on Oct. 25, 2022.

Minn. gas station owners ignored leak for more than a month, MPCA says

A resident near the gas station in Elgin, Minn., smelled gasoline from his faucet. A trout stream was also polluted.
A black bear approached the car of wildlife biologist Alexander Aman in Redby, Minn.

Hungry Minnesota bear gets a little too close with wildlife biologist

Alexander Aman captured the encounter on video.

Flooding begins as record-setting snowfall melts into state's rivers

Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill Monday moving $40 million into a disaster assistance fund for immediate use.
'Astonishingly large' swings between floods, droughts common in Minnesota

'Astonishingly large' swings between floods, droughts common in Minnesota

Climate change has made rain and snowfall more intense.
Stillwater has built a wall of sand that’s 2,000 feet long and 6 feet high to keep its downtown safe from the St. Croix River.

How bad will spring flooding be in Minnesota? 5 key questions answered — and a silver lining

After a winter of record-setting snow, a predicted warmup next week will send water into every river basin.
Overpumping of an aquifer is blamed for White Bear Lake’s receding shorelines. In 2021, the lake fell by more than foot as drought conditions exacer

Compromise deal aims to keep White Bear Lake from drying up

The study could help save an overpumped aquifer that has been draining the lake.
A 2015 aerial photo shows an agricultural field in Sebeka, Minn. The mixed pine forests of central Minnesota are rapidly being replaced to grow irriga

Minnesota lawmakers consider steeper fines for violating limits on water use

The proposals follow revelations of excessive water use by farmers and others during the 2021 drought.
Commercial fishermen caught the highest number of silver carp ever found so far upstream the Mississippi River this week.

Record number of invasive silver carp caught in upper Mississippi

Commercial fishermen pulled up the carp this week near Winona. The catch shows that the invasive fish are on the cusp of becoming intractable in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
A walkway was under water along the St. Croix River during spring flooding March 31, 2020, in downtown Stillwater.

Chances of major flooding still high in Stillwater, Red Wing, forecast says

Slow melting in the next 7-10 days could ease the flood threat, the National Weather Service outlook said.