By Bradley Carlin
There’s no doubt that climate change is having effects on temperatures and weather patterns globally, but here in Minnesota we’re seeing some pressing environmental concerns that are causing policymakers and local residents to seek immediate efforts to help address the side effects of global warming.
One such concern is the expansion of the Minnesota River. The river’s width has nearly doubled in some areas since the 1940’s, encroaching on and threatening personal property, roads, and ecosystems. Higher-than-average rainfalls are a large contributing factor to the river’s overflow, with last year being the wettest year on record for Minnesota. According to a 2017 study by Utah State University, the increase of rainfall and severe storms more generally has caused the river’s flow to double since the 1950’s. This added volume of water has raised concerns of both flooding and erosion along the river bank. For instance, in Mankato, Minnesota, the river has expanded outwards over 50 feet, bringing it just 8 feet away from the well the town uses for drinking water.
Policy makers and local residents are quickly seeking both temporary and long-term solutions to help relieve the river’s overflow, reduce erosion, and improve water quality.
It is hoped that these solutions, while currently only treating the symptoms of global warming, will spark more changes aimed at a more holistic approach to addressing climate change.
You can read a great write-up of some of the more pressing environmental concerns related to the Minnesota River in this recent article in the Minneapolis StarTribune.