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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
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, during summer 2021.

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

Air pollution will reach dangerous levels until Friday morning
Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, talked with Sen. Foung Hawj, DFL-St. Paul, chair of the Environment Conference Committee, befor

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. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency sued th

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.
A dike is in place along the St. Croix River on Monday, April 17, 2023, in Stillwater. Many area rivers are going to crest this week, as Minnesota bra

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.
Sandbags were prepared and stacked on pallets last week, ready for use if the water in the St. Croix River should rise and flood.

'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.
Bud Grant posed for a photo during his annual garage sale in 2017.

An 'uncommon common man': Minnesotans mourn Bud Grant

To those who knew him and those who didn't, Bud Grant was a quintessential Minnesotan.
Barker’s Island beach in Superior, Wis., was closed in 2021 due to a toxic algae bloom at the Lake Superior beach.

Lakes vulnerable to toxic algae blooms can be seen from space, EPA scientists say

A pigment in dangerous bacteria can help forecast outbreaks before they start.
Retired state lawmaker Jean Wagenius, pictured while serving in the House in 2015, says the MPCA is flouting a legislative directive to regulate nitra

The MPCA was supposed to limit nitrates a decade ago. Officials say they can't

Studies have found that more than 70% of Minnesota's nitrate pollution comes from agriculture. Less than 10% comes from point sources such as wastewater treatment plants, that MPCA could regulate, leaders say.
Derek Cavanaugh, an Elko New Market public works maintenance employee, monitored the pipe gallery in the city’s water treatment facility in December

DNR: Bottled water plant proposed for Elko New Market poses no threat to environment

The agency doesn't believe a California-based company's plans to bottle and sell up to 310 million gallons a year will have a significant impact.
Luis Lara cleared snow off of sidewalks Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis.

Minnesota's drought is finally easing under deep snow cover

The state is off to one of the snowiest starts to a year in decades.
A lone pine tree survived the plowing of this field south of Park Rapids, Minn., seen in a Jan. 28, 2015 photo. The mixed pine forests of central Minn

Fighting drought, potato farmers in northern Minnesota overdrew their water permits by tens of millions of gallons

They likely face few consequences, because of laws that one regulator says are inadequate.
This 27-inch brown trout was one of 2,500 that died in Rush Creek on July 23.

Rush Creek fish kill likely caused by manure, pesticide runoff, MPCA says

No single culprit was found in a seven-month investigation into what killed more than 2,500 fish.
Ben Daley oversees an afternoon milking session at his family’s dairy farm in 2020. The farm’s expansion plan has run into opposition, and multipl

Winona County feedlot sues nonprofit members, public officials over expansion denial

Daley Farm says the process wasn't fair. Opponents say the lawsuit is an intimidation tactic.
The new standard would push utilities in Minnesota to ditch coal, natural gas and other energy sources that release planet-warming gases by 2040.

2040 carbon-free energy bill advances to Walz for signature

The state Senate narrowly approved a requirement along party lines that utilities meet escalating carbon cuts over the next 17 years. The House passed the bill last week.
A skidder moved logging debris at a Marty Johnson Logging operation Thursday on an Aitkin County land tract that is contracted for 40 acres of harvest

Minnesota counties are changing logging rules to protect endangered bats

Aitkin and Carlton counties are the first in Minnesota to update logging plans with northern long-eared bats in mind.
Stebbins, a gray wolf in the exhibit pack at the Minnesota Zoo, walks through a patch of light in their enclosure Tuesday, March 15, 2022 in Apple Val

When humans kill a single wolf, it can decimate an entire wolf pack

The ripple effect from the killing of wolves by humans was less apparent when they die of natural causes.
The city of Blaine’s newest water treatment plant is served by four wells. The city used three of those wells without a permit in the summers of 202

DNR: Blaine operated wells without a permit, leaving some homeowners dry

The city says it thought it had permits for four wells, not just one.
A gray wolf was fitted with a GPS camera collar by the Voyageurs Wolf Project in May 2021.

Minnesota finalizes plan to keep wolf population stable

The state aims to keep the population at 2,200 to 3,000 wolves.
A Poweshiek skipperling butterfly sits on a black-eyed Susan after being released in a Central Michigan wetland. The once common prairie butterflies a

What the U.N.'s biodiversity agreement means for Minnesota

The U.S. did not sign the agreement, but the Biden administration supports the goals.
A boat navigated the waters of Namakan Lake near Kettle Falls in Voyageurs National Park in 2016.

Why does Minnesota have so many lakes?

Minnesota's landscape has been transformed much more than its neighbors, even those once covered by glaciers.
A look inside the pipe gallery in the Elko New Market water treatment facility Wednesday. The city is seeking an increase from the 135 million gallons

Bottled water plant planned for south metro would triple water usage

Elko New Market residents have raised concerns about the plant, which would draw water from the Prairie Du Chien-Jordan aquifer.
Tamarack trees are among the toughest things to ever grow in Minnesota. But now the eastern larch beetle is threatening their survival.

After coexisting for millennia, beetles now eating away Minnesota's tamarack trees

Tamaracks were once the most common trees across Minnesota, but climate change has made them vulnerable to the eastern larch beetle's voracious appetite.
Cale Nordmeyer, butterfly conservation specialist at the Minnesota Zoo, used a tweezers to move a Poweshiek skipperling butterfly after giving it a un

Mass extinctions are happening. Can they be stopped?

Three years after a U.N. report found that more than 1 million species are at risk of extinction, scientists conservationists and government representatives will gather this week in Montreal to decide on a plan to stop a stunning loss of plant and animal life around the globe.
The federal government is declaring the northern long-eared bat, one of North America’s most widely distributed bats, an endangered species because

Minnesota's northern long-eared bats added to endangered species list

Two other hibernating bat species are likely not far behind.
A wild turkey home invasion and other strange encounters: Readers tell their own stories

A wild turkey home invasion and other strange encounters: Readers tell their own stories

Readers responded to the Star Tribune's account of the recovery of the once threatened species.
Dozens of ducks and geese, like those pictured here, died recently in Waseca, Minn.

Fungus likely cause of goose and duck die-off in southern Minnesota

The DNR ruled out viral causes, including bird flu, after the birds were found dead in Waseca.
The wild turkey population hasn’t just recovered — it’s exploded. They’ve done so well that now some question whether there’s still enough s

From nearly extinct to occasional nuisance, the fall and rise of Minnesota's wild turkeys

Once nearly extinct, the wild turkey has become one of the United States' biggest conservation success stories. Flocks in Minnesota are now so comfortable that they verge on becoming a nuisance.
The outlandish-looking paddlefish once ranged across much of the U.S. The gentle river giants now exist only around the Mississippi and a handful of t

This otherworldly fish in Minn. survived the fall of the dinosaurs — but is struggling now

Paddlefish have survived in Minnesota for 125 million years, but dams and pollution threaten the silent, toothless river giants of the Mississippi and its tributaries.
Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in northern Minnesota is one of the few major breeding grounds for the golden-winged warblers, which migrate thousand

The fate of a rare songbird depends on Minnesota's forests

Minnesota's forests are one of the few significant breeding grounds left for the golden-winged warbler. Now the question is whether conservationists can manage trees and shrubs in a way that will allow the birds' population to grow.
Lena, a 14-year-old Canada lynx, at her enclosure Feb. 15 at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. As the northern boreal forest goes, so goes the lynx.

How you can help Minnesota's most endangered animals and plants

Across the state, people are taking measures to save vulnerable species at risk of extinction. Here's what you can do.
A Poweshiek skipperling butterfly sits on a black-eyed Susan after being released in a central Michigan wetland. The once common prairie butterflies a

This butterfly disappeared from Minnesota. Biologists now fight to save the last few in the world

Beginning in the early 2000s, the Poweshiek skipperling population suddenly cratered in Minnesota, for reasons that aren't yet fully clear. Researchers at the Minnesota Zoo are part of a last-ditch effort to stop the species from dying out.
A loon near Akeley, Minn. A proposal in Congress with bipartisan support aims to halt the alarming decline in many wildlife species with an unpreceden

A bipartisan bill in Congress could mark a new chapter in the fight to preserve wildlife

The plan would spend $1.4B a year to save species.
The Minnesota DNR teamed up with other Wisconsin and federal agencies and commercial fisherman this week to try and net and tag invasive silver carp.

Coordinated hunt for silver carp in Minnesota and Wisconsin comes up empty

But the invasive fish are still out there.
Downtown Fort Myers businesses on Thursday took stock of damage from Hurricane Ian.

Destruction in southwest Florida hits home for many Minnesotans

Minnesota has deep ties to the region, and volunteers were poised to help.
Prairie chickens used to roam widely across Minnesota but were decimated by development and farming. Here, prairie chickens perform their spring matin

Its habitat decimated, this charismatic Minnesota bird is dancing on the edge of oblivion

Minnesota's prairie chickens were once so abundant their flocks cast shadows on the ground. But like so many other species, they're dying out.
Minnesota state biologists have found neonicotinoids in deer spleens collected from road kill and hunters last fall.

Nearly all Minn. deer exposed to pesticides tied to pollinator die-off

The pesticides, called neonicotinoids, were found in deer spleens collected from across the state.
Members of the St. Paul Police Department’s Forensics Services Unit investigated the scene Sunday night, Sept. 4, 2022, on Case Avenue E. near Fores

Three dead, two wounded in shooting on St. Paul's East Side

Three people were shot and killed and two more wounded Sunday on St. Paul's East Side, and police were searching for suspects.
Hunter Poffinbarger, a student intern with the Minnesota DNR, looked over a black sandshell mussel in the Cedar River near Austin, Minn.

Endangered mussels reproducing in Minnesota's Cedar River for first time in decades

The black sandshell and mucket mussels have been thriving since being reintroduced by the DNR in 2019.
More than 2,500 fish, mostly brown trout, were found dead on Rush Creek near Lewiston on July 25.

Minnesota investigators talk to more than 100 landowners about Rush Creek fish kill

More than 2,500 fish, mostly prized brown trout, may have been killed by contaminated runoff.
Sheep grazed on native prairie and flowers planted at a solar farm run by Enel Green Power in Shafer, Minn., that supplies Xcel Energy.

5 changes Minnesotans will likely see from the historic climate bill

The Inflation Reduction Act has the potential to transform the way we drive, heat our homes and grow our food.
This 27-inch brown trout was one of 2,500 that died in Rush Creek on July 23.

At least 2,500 fish killed in southeastern Minnesota's Rush Creek

The die-off marks the third massive fish kill in the area in recent years.
Authorities combed the Apple River with metal detectors after five people were stabbed while tubing down the river Saturday near Somerset, Wis.

Prior Lake man held in Apple River stabbings that killed Stillwater teen

St. Croix County Sheriff's Office says suspect is in custody after stabbing five people, one of whom died. The other four were in critical condition.
A drought-damaged field near Cannon Falls, Minn., in summer 2021.

Parts of Minnesota slip back into severe drought

Minneapolis and St. Paul had one of their driest Junes on record.
Former wrestling coach found not guilty of two sexual assault charges

Former wrestling coach found not guilty of two sexual assault charges

Mustafa Shabazz, 45, was acquitted by two juries — one in Hennepin County, which wrapped up in June, and the other verdict this week in Scott County.
The dam at Little Rock Creek, pictured in August 2021, will be removed.

Minnesota DNR to remove dam on troubled trout stream

The state will remove its gates to correct an error of the past and, perhaps, inch toward a resolution to a decade-old fight pitting the water needs of agricultural irrigation against fishing and aquatic life.
Monika Dipert keeps water bottles for brushing her teeth on her bathroom vanity in her home in Andover. She was shocked to learn last summer that her

A year later, some Andover residents still waiting for solution to polluted drinking wells

There are no signs that more than 50 Anoka County homeowners will be able to use their faucets anytime soon.
Lia, a gray wolf in the exhibit pack at the Minnesota Zoo, wanders her snow-filled enclosure in Apple Valley.

As species hangs in balance, what Minnesota's wolves can teach America

Minnesota has about as many wolves as the rest of the Lower 48 states combined, and is the only state outside Alaska to never exterminate them. The mysterious predators and the people who live alongside them hold the secrets to coexisting and show just how much more there is to learn.
Lia and her brother Hooper, gray wolves in the exhibit pack at the Minnesota Zoo, peered out from a rocky perch in their enclosure.

State of Wolves: Learn more

Read up on wolves, follow them on social media or see some in person at places around Minnesota.
Rieka, an 8-month-old gray wolf bounded towards Axel, a 6-year-old arctic wolf, as they played in their snow-filled enclosure at the International Wol

5 key takeaways about wolves in Minnesota

Minnesota's wolves have played a big role in research and the species' recovery.
Minnesota’s gray wolves to be featured in new National Geographic and Disney+ documentary

Minnesota's wolves to be featured in new Disney, National Geographic documentary

The series, called "America the Beautiful," is available starting July 4.
Man shot and killed after argument in south Minneapolis

Man shot and killed after argument in south Minneapolis

A man in his 30s was shot and killed Monday afternoon in south Minneapolis.Police believe a group of four people, who all knew each other,…
The DNR said the “optimal population” of wolves is where their numbers have been since the late 1990s — between 2,200 and 3,000 animals.

Minnesota plans to keep its wolf population stable, if federal protections are lifted

No decision has been made on future hunting seasons.
The city of Paynesville upgraded its water treatment plant in 2014 to deal with potential contamination from a leak of leaded gasoline. City officials

Four cities to test wells after audit raises pollution concerns

The Legislature gave $200,000 to the central Minnesota city of Paynesville, which will hire a firm and work with the cities of Alexandria, Blaine and Foley to test the sites of four known petroleum leaks.
A white Pine seedling takes root near the charred remains of the forest burned in the Greenwood Fire. The Nature Conservancy crews were out all week h

A new forest takes root in a fire-scarred landscape in northern Minnesota

The Nature Conservancy planted 130,000 trees to help the woods recover.
Tears streamed down Stanley Turner’s face as he learned from court records how much of his settlement payments he has sold.

Star Tribune's 'Unsettled' series named Pulitzer finalist

Poetry collection published by Minneapolis-based Graywolf Press wins Pulitzer.
Two ATV riders drove near the Nemadji State Forest in 2021. Much larger off-road vehicles would be permitted on state trails under a proposal to raise

Minnesota lawmakers consider allowing bigger, heavier ATVs

A proposed law would allow ATVs to be as heavy as some sedans.
Gov. Tim Walz approached the flooded Cottonwood River in New Ulm with Sen. Amy Klobuchar on July 8, 2018. New Ulm is one municipality that needs help

Minnesota survey shows communities have made little progress in preparing for climate change

Only a small percentage have taken action on plans to adapt to a warming world.
Visitors wade into White Bear Lake in July 2021, where the lake has receded from the shore at White Bear Lake County Park.

Judge rejects DNR severe water restrictions around White Bear Lake

The order came in a long-running lawsuit over the depletion of the lake.
A great horned owl and its owlets perched on a branch near Lake Nokomis last March. This owl family has all died from the outbreak of avian bird flu.

Avian flu causing unprecedented deaths in wild Minnesota birds

This strain of influenza has proven nearly always fatal to owls, eagles, hawks and other raptors and is unprecedented in size, scope and harm done to wild birds. The virus poses little threat to humans.
A black bear stood on a tree stump near a feeding station at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary in June 2019 in Orr, Minn.

Minnesota bears may be fat and happy, rather than at risk

It's possible bears are growing so fast that their teeth are no longer accurate measures of reproductive age.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources built a fence around an illegal deer carcass dump site created by a deer farmer in Beltrami County.

Minn. lawmakers would ban new captive deer farms to prevent spread of chronic wasting disease

Current trophy farm owners would be able to keep and pass their businesses down one generation.
Jeff Whitty, University of Minnesota researcher in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, transfers a temporarily stunned common carp from the

Minnesota lawmakers want to ask voters to approve 25 more years of environmental fund

Lottery proceeds have supported $700 million worth of projects over the years.
Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. Steady, deep snow cover and recent rainfall helped Minnesota recover from one of the worst droughts in 50 years.

Steady snow, rainfall lifted much of Minnesota out of drought

Drought in northern Minnesota is still severe, but conditions are greatly improved.
The Red River of the North empties into the Netley-Libau Marsh at the southern end of Lake Winnipeg in 2016.

Does water really only flow out of Minnesota — not into it?

A rare intersection of North America's continental divides on the Iron Range has a big impact on the flow of water in the region.
Visitors waded into White Bear Lake, where the lake has receded from the shore at White Bear Lake County Park.

Drastic water-use changes proposed to steady White Bear Lake levels

State regulators say court order would require them to limit people to 55 gallons of water per day, and cut off other water users such as schools and businesses altogether.