St. Louis River Alliance Wild Rice and other Outreach

Purpose

The SLRA has been an active partner in the AOC program since its inception in 1992. The SLRA is involved in citizen-engagement, advocacy and restoration activities. The SLRA provides a citizen-based voice and represents over 165 members in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The SLRA has provided critical promotion and outreach for the AOC program and projects for many years. WDNR has provided funding to the SLRA in the past to conduct outreach and volunteer events, develop educational and progress update materials, perform wild rice restoration and engage citizens in the AOC program through on the water events. The AOC coordinators have identified and prioritized key outreach components that have been successful in recent years: open house events, a photo contest, and a wild rice seeding volunteer event. These events have collectively engaged over 200 citizens in the past two years. Northern wild rice (Zizania palustris) is an important component to the St. Louis River estuary, because of its value as both a cultural and ecological resource. It is tied to the Migration Story of the Ojibwe people, and it provides an important food source for wildlife, Native Americans, and early settlements to the St. Louis River estuary area. Wild rice was once abundant in the St. Louis River estuary. From the 1930s to the 1960s, the St. Louis River estuary contained between 600 and 1,000 acres of wild rice. Over the past 50 years, its abundance and distribution has been reduced to a few remnant stands. The causes for the decline in wild rice abundance include industry development in the estuary and water quality impacts from land use and point source inputs. While water quality has improved in the St. Louis River estuary, due in part to new waste treatment facilities going online such as the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District, wild rice populations have not rebounded.

Objective

The objective of this project is to provide support for the St. Louis River Alliance (SLRA) to organize and promote activities to support the goals of the St. Louis River Estuary focused on WDNR efforts to delist the St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC). The SLRA will organize, promote, and conduct continued wild rice restoration in the St. Louis River AOC. SLRA will engage volunteers from the community to implement at least 10 acres of small-scale wild rice restoration in around Clough Island. The restoration will involve organizing and actively engaging citizens in the restoration of the estuary and delisting of the AOC. Additionally, the SLRA will organize and promote activities to support goals of the estuary, including an open house and photo contest that will generate interest and educational opportunities to highlight AOC progress. The open house will complement the Minnesota-led open house events. Photos from the contest will be available for use by the SLRA and WDNR in promotional and educational materials, presentations, and publications.

Outcome

The objectives of this project will meet the following goals: • Increase public awareness of the AOC program and projects within the St. Louis River AOC. • Promote and encourage public involvement in the delisting of the St. Louis River AOC. • Help promote opportunities for public input and participation in upcoming AOC events and projects. • Increase the amount of available photos of restoration sites and areas of the St. Louis River AOC. • Improve quality of habitat and foraging opportunity for local wildlife species, especially the Black Tern (Endangered, Species of Greatest Conservation Need), and other Species of Greatest Conservation Need like Wood Turtle, Trumpeter Swan, Common Tern, Least Bittern, American Bittern, Blue-winged Teal, American Black Duck, Canvasback, Horned Grebe, and Red-necked Grebe. • Help establish opportunities for harvest of wild rice in Allouez Bay in the St. Louis River estuary. • Implement the Wild Rice Restoration Implementation Plan for the St. Louis River Estuary (Cardno, 2014). • Make measurable progress towards delisting targets for Loss of Fish and Wildlife and Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations BUIs. • Increase awareness of the ecological and cultural significance of wild rice in the St. Louis River.

Related Reports

Run Project Summary Report
View Umbrella-Projects
View Related-Projects

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Toxics and Areas of Concern
GL00E01987_SLR1602_CACCapacity
2017
Active
 
Reports and Documents
St. Louis River Alliance Reporting Support document documenting the St. Louis River Area of Concern Open House event.
St. Louis River Alliance Reporting Support document documenting the St. Louis River Area of Concern Open House event.
St. Louis River Alliance Reporting Support document documenting the St. Louis River Area of Concern wild rice volunteer planting.
St. Louis River Alliance Reporting Support document documenting the St. Louis River Area of Concern Open House event.
St. Louis River Alliance Reporting Support document documenting the St. Louis River Area of Concern for the wild rice volunteer sheet.
St. Louis River Alliance Reporting Support document listing the media articles covering the Open House & Photo Contest as well as the Wild Rice Planting event.
St. Louis River Alliance (SLRA) Quarterly Report for 2017Q3.
St. Louis River Alliance Reporting Support document documenting the St. Louis River Area of Concern wild rice volunteering planting.