Staff Directory 6370517

Josephine Marcotty

Reporter | Environment
Phone: 612-673-7394

Josephine Marcotty has covered the environment in Minnesota for eight years, with expertise in water quality, agriculture, critters and mining. Prior to that she was a medical reporter, with an emphasis on mental illness, transplant medicine and reproductive health care.

Marcotty has been working as a journalist since she attended college at the University Michigan, but has spent most of her career at the Star Tribune. She lives in south Minneapolis — within biking distance of the newsroom — with her husband and her dog. She spends a lot of time on the water, either on the lakes in her neighborhood, or on Lake Superior where she is learning to sail.
Recent content from Josephine Marcotty
Research on wolves and moose on Isle Royale National Park in Michigan will provide data for the next generation of wildlife researchers.

Epic Lake Superior experiment stars wolves, moose, caribou

The wolves' purpose is primal: to prey on the moose that overpopulate Isle Royale. But their new home has become a stage for all the world to watch.
Workers installed "soil burritos'' to restore Minnehaha Creek's natural curves in St. Louis Park, part of a project to improve water quality and renew

Is benefit of having trees 'oversold' in green space planning?

A new science of valuing nature will shape our urban projects of the future.
A regional system provides enough dependable, clean water to farm shrimp in landlocked Luverne, Minn.

Dec. 27: With spigot open, southwestern Minnesota towns flourish

No longer just a pipe dream, far-sighted water system set up parched towns for growth.
Cody Schultz, a water operator with the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, tested the PH of water in the treatment plant outside Vermillion in late

With spigot open, a region flourishes

Far-sighted water system set up towns for growth
Potatoes were harvested, 12 rows at a time, in late October at Heartland Farms in Hancock, Wis.

Baby's death sparks water safety fight with the ag industry

To many neighbors in this small Wisconsin community, the proliferation of giant irrigation rigs that arc over mile after mile of flat farm fields create an untenable drain on water that is tearing communities apart.
Adam Schellinger, a pump technician for Traut Wells, tested water from a new well. The DNR allowed the town to dig a new well to meet the growing dema

In small brewery town, options for water are running dry

Cold Spring's quandary — protecting a trout stream while supplying water to a fast-growing employer — is just one of many challenges emerging across Minnesota as a state renowned for its abundant water confronts a difficult new fact of life.
A bald eagle takes flight from a tree near Lake Bde Maka Ska.

Shooting deaths of four bald eagles in Minnesota prompt federal probe

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $2,500 reward for information as the investigation is stepped up.
PolyMet Mine in Hoyt Lakes, Minn. has been mired in a permitting battle for over eight years and the issue has become politicized in the state and par

Environmental groups file Appeals Court challenge to PolyMet permits

A common bumblebee hovers over a wildflower in Lone Lake Park in Minnetonka.

Dayton task force finds many ways to give bees a chance, but splits on insecticide use

The members, appointed by the governor, found common ground over better habitat, education, but split over how to reduce pollinators' exposure to neonicotinoids.
Martin Larsen in a field with a cover crop of rye grass that remains after he harvested the corn from the land he farms near Byron.

Farms and forests could be key to curbing greenhouse gas emissions

Managing landscapes can hold more carbon in soil, grass and trees, cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Hibbing's First Avenue was decorated with American flags for Flag Day and July 4th.

'Sigh of relief' can turn into turbulence quickly on the Iron Range, like after this PolyMet ruling

Permit approvals for PolyMet open a new chapter in an old struggle.
The PolyMet mine in Hoyt Lakes, Minn.

Advocates ask state to put a hold on PolyMet permits

Legal case questioning mine's size should be resolved first, they say.
PolyMet Mining Corp. proposes to use the old LTV taconite facility to process copper-nickel ore.

PolyMet copper-nickel mine gets green light from DNR

A long, contentious regulatory review ends with permits for the huge copper-nickel mine.
Minnesota farmland: Farmland values leveled off after 2014, but acreage is still selling at historically high prices in the Upper Midwest. And that's

Ramsey County judge allows public review of dairy megafarm to continue

Agricultural groups lose court bid to end public comment period.
Dairy cows on a Minnesota farm.

Ag industry sues state over public review of Winona County megafarm

Ag groups say MPCA can't extend feedback period.
St. Paul human rights activist, fundraiser Marlene Kayser dies at 79

St. Paul human rights activist, fundraiser Marlene Kayser dies at 79

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2007 file photo, a box of General Mills' Cheerios is seen on a shelf at a Shaw's Supermarket in Gloucester, Mass. General Mill

Herbicide found in Cheerios reignites debate on food safety

Most government regulators and food industry leaders say the pesticide poses no health risk in the amounts that people get in their food.
A white-tailed deer doe crosses a meadow in the fall

Virus found on Minn. deer farm inflicting quick, suspicious deaths

There are no known health risks to humans from the finding in a captive herd, the state Board of Animal Health said.
Isle Royale National Park in Michigan is an ideal outdoor laboratory to study wolves and moose. (Photo courtesy Rolf Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune

Isle Royale wolf relocation project done for the year

Bad weather shuts down trapping and transfer to the island.
Minnesota's beloved loon population — the largest in the U.S. — is stable at about 12,000 breeding adults. But wildlife officials say vital nestin

Plan to help Minnesota's loons is a finalist for BP oil spill money

Minnesota's proposal would provide $7.5 million to improve and expand loon nesting habitat and create a public campaign to reduce the use of lead fishing tackle in northern lakes, the leading cause of loon deaths.
Maplewood-based 3M Co. is on the hunt for office space in downtown St. Paul, according to people who work with properties the company is considering.

Lawsuit demands 3M pay for PFC medical studies nationwide

Ohio class action says taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for health impact research.
The logo of the Minnesota State Lottery

Oct. 4: Conservation groups sue state over use of environmental fund

Conservation groups say money is being used for infrastructure projects.
BRIAN PETERSON • Isle Royale National Park, 9/16/2009 ] BRIAN PETERSON • brian.peterson@startri

Two new wolves from Minnesota arrive on Isle Royale

National Park Service officials hope to capture and transfer up to eight this fall in an effort to rebuild their population.
Becca Hanson and members of the Conservation Corps planted around 100 tamarack trees near Hwy. 61 and Warner Road on Wednesday in St. Paul.

As ash trees succumb, conservationists rebuild forest along Mississippi

The rebuilding of the canopy comes with an eye toward climate change.
This 2017 photo provided by biologist Rolf Peterson of Michigan Technological University shows the last two surviving wolves at Isle Royale National P

More wolves will arrive on Isle Royale this fall

National Park Service lays out a plan for new chapter in long story of island's wolves and moose.
A two-year ban on mineral exploration was lifted last week, and companies are expected to resume drilling soon as they hunt for copper, nickel, platin

Business of mining set to return near the Boundary Waters area

The federal government's sudden decision to reopen mineral exploration just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was a resounding defeat for wilderness advocates. But for the mining industry, it means back to business as usual.
A gravel pit near several mining sites near the Kawishiwi River near Ely, Minn., in 2011.

Sept. 7: Feds reopen mining exploration near BWCA

The mining industry won a major victory in Minnesota when the federal government lifted a controversial stay on minerals exploration in the area just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Minn. officials say new Fargo flood plan is more equitable

A new proposal to manage floods on the Red River would reduce the highest levels that could flow through Fargo-Moorhead, but not eliminate them altogether, according to state officials.
Hazy smoke with a faint campfire smell, over Minnesota is expected to remain in our area through Wednesday as the jet stream carries smoke from Canadi

Behind uneventful Minn. summer weather lurks signs of climate change

Lake Superior algae bloom, hazy skies might become the norm, scientists say.
PolyMet Mine in Hoyt Lakes, Minn. has been mired in a permitting battle for over eight years and the issue has become politicized in the state and par

Minnesota think tank joins debate on economics of mining

Will mining industry eclipse outdoor and recreation business in northern Minnesota? "If voters understand the huge benefit of mining, they will want to see it happen," Center of the American Experiment says.
Jeri Rasmussen

Jeri Rasmussen, a founder of Minnesota's modern feminist movement, dies at 84

An outspoken, devout Methodist homemaker from Shoreview, she was fired from her job at Northwest Orient Airlines in the 1960s because she was pregnant.
Potato producer R.D. Offutt is is backing away from a controversial expansion just south of the Mississippi River headwaters after regulators insisted

Grower drops pine-to-potato expansion near Lake Itasca

R.D. Offutt, a major supplier for McDonald's French fries, said the state's decision to seek an environmental study seems to be targeted regulation that will force it to take its business out of state.
Brad Kelvington

Rocori schools pick new superintendent

Brad Kelvington previously oversaw public schools in the Aitkin district.
Emma Daniels, right, Abby MacFarlane and Marie Preston, back, walked across the rocks at the headwaters of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca in mid June.

After 80 years of love, Mississippi headwaters needs a makeover

Millions of visitors have unintentionally left their mark.
St. Paul City Council candidate David Martinez.

St. Paul City Council candidate posts about restraining order, marital conflict on campaign blog

Restraining order describes his struggle with depression.

Twin Metals asks to join lawsuits over its mineral leases

Firm says it has right to defend Interior decision.
FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2011, file photo, a core sample drilled from underground rock near Ely, Minn., shows a band of shiny minerals containing copper

Lawsuits against Twin Metals' mining leases pile up

In all, three have been filed in federal court claiming harm to the BWCA.
Will Bjorndal, a naturalist intern at he Jay C. Hormel Nature Center in Austin, made notes after he and fellow intern Andie Harveaux took a water samp

Citizen scientists fight pollution in beloved S. Minn. creek

They found the infectious bacteria, often in dangerously high concentrations, almost everywhere they looked.
Pumphouse in a manmade lake in the tailings basin of PolyMet mine. Tailings, rock that does not contain ore is pumped in a a slurry mixture and deposi

Prospect of larger PolyMet mine sparks call for more review

A larger mine raises environmental risks of old tailings basin, say three environmental groups asking the state to reopen its review.
Isle Royale National Park in Michigan is an ideal outdoor laboratory to study wolves and moose. (Photo courtesy Rolf Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune

National Park Service to add 20 to 30 wolves to Isle Royale

The wolves will be transported to the island over the next three to five years to replace the population that has declined from a peak of about 50 to the single pair that are left today.

Minnesota hog farm's neighbors keep pushing state to take action

Pork producer disputes state's authority in matter.

Twin Metals wants to build mine processor closer to BWCA

Pending approval, 100-acre facility would rise on edge of Birch Lake.
Melissa Hanson, left, shows Meghan Darley, a resource conservation technician with Scott Soil & Water Conservation District, the part of her lakeshore

Minnesota's big water ambitions yield benefits, no easy answers

For two environmental targets — land conservation and parks and trails — Minnesota appears to be on track to meet Legacy Amendment's goals. The outlook for water is still cloudy.
FILE ó Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at a meeting in the White House in Washington, Feb. 12, 2018. The Enviro

Top Minnesota environment, health officials blast EPA rule

Proposed limits on research would threaten lives, they say in a blistering letter to the federal agency.
Wild rice grows exclusively in some parts of the Great Lakes states, primarily Minnesota. Richard Tsong-Taatarii/

Dayton vetoes bill that would kill wild rice protections

He called it an extreme overreach by state lawmakers and a violation of the federal Clean Water Act.
(middle to right) Jorden Mathison, age-14 1/2 and Beau Abell, age 7 1/2, from North Branch fished with their grandfather, Terry Abell of Newport MN.,

Don't eat Lake Elmo fish, state health officials warn

New restrictions cite unsafe levels of PFCs from old 3M dump.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency hits dead end on effort to protect wild rice

The agency will turn to the Legislature for guidance.
Todd Thompson and his father Leonard harvest wild rice on Hole In THe Day Lake south of Nisswa Thursday morning. ] The Minnesota Department of Natural

Minn. Pollution Control Agency gives up on effort to protect wild rice

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will turn to the Legislature for guidance.

Overuse of farm fertilizer drives state's first effort to regulate it

Republicans object, but some farm groups say the proposal is reasonable.
GLEN STUBBE • -- Redwood Falls, Minn. -- Wednesday, September 22, 2010 -- ] Hog manure is spread over grain fields near

Minnesota Legislature on collision course with Gov. Dayton on water bills

Proposed laws would give legislators more control of fertilizer and wild rice rules.
FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2015 file photo Volkswagen ornaments sit in a box in a scrap yard in Berlin, Germany. A German court says Wednesday, Sept. 21

MPCA tweaks, finalizes plan for $47 million in VW money

New buses, more charging stations are key features.
Commercial traffic on the Ford Dam has come to a halt, but it still generates hydroelectricity.

Dams, mining put three regional rivers on group's endangered list

Two of Minnesota's most cherished rivers and one in western Wisconsin were listed among the 10 most endangered U.S. rivers by a conservation group.
A pumphouse in a manmade lake in the tailings basin of PolyMet mine.

Prospect of growth intensifies debate about PolyMet tailings dam

Environmental groups have now made it a primary focus of their request for a legal review of the project that is now awaiting a decision by state officials.

Climate change creates septic tank headaches for homeowners

Frozen septic systems are emerging as an unexpected consequence of climate change in Minnesota — one that is bedeviling homeowners across the state.
Geese on the shore of White Bear Lake and fishermen all took advantage of open water Sunday afternoon. ] JEFF WHEELER ï jeff.wheeler@startribune.

Blasting Minnesota DNR, judge stands by her White Bear Lake ruling

Minnesota DNR request to stay an order restricting heavy water use is roundly rejected.
Dave Simpkins

David Simpkins, rural Minnesota editor and publisher, dies at 70

His love of Minnesota small towns and the people who lived in them provided his purpose in life, friends said.
Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators reintroduce their "penny-a-pill" tax proposal on opioid manufacturers, estimated to raise more than $42 million over

Dayton defends plan to protect drinking water from ag pollution

Measures affecting farmers and fertilizer are likely to trigger a fight at the Legislature.
3M headquarters in Maplewood.

Minnesota settlement with 3M may fix drinking water but not the environment

The $850 million might address drinking water, but damage to the environment "is forever."
The PolyMet mine in Hoyt Lakes, Minn.

Environmental groups ask for independent court review of PolyMet permits

Safety of tailings basin and risk to taxpayers are major questions.
The forest north of Park Rapids, Minnesota, is a mix of aspen, birch and conifers.

Minnesota plans to increase annual forest harvest, but less than industry sought

DNR walks fine line between demand, forest health.
State Attorney General Lori Swanson announced Tuesday afternoon that 3M Company has agreed to give the state of Minnesota a grant of $850 million to s

Thanks to 3M settlement, water in east metro to get an $850 million boost

First spending priority will be fixing drinking water for city systems and private wells.
Attorney General Lori Swanson announced Tuesday that 3M Co. has agreed to give Minnesota $850 million to settle what has been a long and contentious l

3M settles contentious lawsuit with state for $850 million

The money will be used to clean up drinking water and groundwater contamination in east metro communities.
Bloody red shrimp

Bloody red shrimp found in Lake Superior raises worry of invasive species

A single bloody red shrimp found in Twin Ports Harbor.
Minnesota will spend $11.75 million on cleaner trucks and buses if the state's proposal for the first funds from a legal settlement with Volkswagen is

Minnesota's Volkswagen settlement may pay for cleaner vehicles

MPCA issues a plan for the state's share of a national legal settlement.
3M, based in Maplewood, has bought Scott Controls. (MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune file photo) ORG XMIT: MIN1209261811540219

Minnesota groundwater pollution case has national meaning for 3M

Case over Washington County groundwater is one of dozens that loom for the Maplewood-based firm.
The 3M headquarters complex in Maplewood

Judge agrees to week's delay in 3M groundwater pollution trial

A startling Health Department report caused the company to seek a trial delay.
The 3M headquarters complex in Maplewood

3M asks for delay in trial over pollution in Washington County

The company said a new state report casts doubt on health claims in the lawsuit.
The 3M headquarters complex in Maplewood

State finds no clear health impact from 3M chemicals in east metro suburbs

The review contradicts that of an expert hired by the state attorney general's office in advance of a long-awaited trial next week between the state and 3M.
Heidi Riley dumped plastic into a recycling bin after the game at US Bank Stadium.

NFL's super challenge: Recycling food wrappers and beer cups from 60,000 fans

From blinking cups to orphaned purses, league and stadium officials shoot for zero waste.
The Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Aitkin County, in north central Minnesota is home to pristine a 4500 acre body of water that provides the wi

Judge throws out Minn. proposal aiming to protect wild rice

Environmentalists and industry had opposed sulfate formula as unworkable, costly.
Not since the battle of 1978 to designate the BWCA as a wilderness area has the town of Ely been so divided. This time it's the possibility of Copper/

Mining supporters sue Gov. Dayton over Twin Metals land access

Suit challenges governor's decision to halt minerals exploration.
The closed LTV Steel taconite plant sits idle near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. The site, which closed in 2001, may return to life as part of Minnesota's first c

With Minnesota mining permit, PolyMet proposal reaches a turning point

Regulators give their tentative blessing to Minnesota's first copper-nickel mine.
Wally Parkins, owner of Royal Farms in Royalton, Minn., showed off a soil probe he is experimenting with to monitor nitrate usage on his corn crop in

Test our water for nitrates? Brown County says no thanks

A free well-testing program for Minnesotans has become the latest target in the state's increasingly fractious battle over water and agricultural pollution.
In this file photo, a drill rig digging for Twin Metals was working in the woods near Ely, Minn.

December: In unexpected move, feds OK mine leases on edge of BWCA

Department of the Interior reverses Obama-era denial of Twin Metals copper-nickel leases.
3M, based in Maplewood, has bought Scott Controls. (MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune file photo) ORG XMIT: MIN1209261811540219

3M says state is too late to seek damages for drinking water contamination

In hearing on request to dismiss suit, company argues that the state agreed not to sue years ago.