St. Louis River Alliance Plant Help Restore Wild Rice Growth
DULUTH, Minn. – Members of the St. Louis River Alliance and several volunteers paddled over to Clough Island in Duluth today to plant wild rice seeds to help promote growth.
The estuary has been on a list of areas of concern by the EPA and this wild rice restoration project will help remove the estuary from that list by 2025.
This is the fourth year the St. Louis River Alliance has planted wild rice on Clough Island.
The effort is part of a bigger task to restore up to 275 acres of wild rice.
Clough Island used to have a large growth of wild rice.
Over the years, the wild rice population began to diminish due to pollution in the St. Louis River.
“The area was so polluted that people couldn’t go in the water even. It was so polluted the animals and very diverse species of wildlife and plants that used to exist here were gone,” said SLRA Executive Director Kris Eilers.
Members of the alliance say wild rice can be very crucial to help maintain the ecosystem that currently exists in the estuary.
This year they were able to plant 1,500 pounds of wild rice compared to four hundred pounds last year.
A volunteer, who also donated the seeds, believes this project could have a better impact for the future of the estuary and the livelihood of the community.
“To see its native habitat restored i think is the best for all of us. The ecosystem and our industry. One day we might even be able to harvest the rice out here which would in turn feed us as well,” said Eric Ament.
The St. Louis River Alliance has also been working with the Wisconsin DNR and the Minnesota Land Trust to help restore wild rice growth, while the funding for the project comes from the great lakes initiative.
The St. Louis River Alliance and volunteers have seeded about ten acres of wild rice in the last four years.