Manoomin students talk with Dr.Pastor about UMD’s Wild Rice Study

By , June 12, 2011

 Manoomin students visited the University of Duluth’s Agricultural Farm where Dr. Pastor and colleagues are conducting wild rice experiments. The initial study is observing the 4 year “boom & bust” cycle of wild rice growth as it relates to the nitrogen levels found in the lakes.  The researchers control the experiment by leaving or removing the spent hay and leaving or removing plants.  Some variables, like water level, are kept the same while others are monitored.  Examples of monitored variables are water chemistry, number of plants produced in a year, and the total weight of the spent hay at the end of the season.

The newest experiment is studying the affect of sulfur on wild rice growth. The study has been going on for two years and is now expanded for another 4-6 more years with larger samples of wild rice growing.  Sulfur levels of between 5mg/L and 300mg/L will be controlled as the wild rice grows over time. It is their goal to better answer the questions raised by the current legislature and sulfide mining companies concerning levels of sulfur in the water. Current law is based on an observational from 1940 which found that if sulfur levels were greater 10 mg/L the wild rice was not thriving or was not present.

Students are conducting their own study of the water along the St. Louis River, similar to the 1940 study. They hope to record water chemistry study including sulfur as it relates to the observed growth of wild rice growth along the river. Their data will be posted here once compiled.

Minnesota EPA Protection of Wild Rice

Protect Our Manoomin blog

Minnesta Public Radio reports about Dr. Pastor UMD Wild Rice Study and Sulphide Mining

Summary of Wild Rice Study – Pastor/UMD, Minnesota DNR

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