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MANOOMIN Boozhoo manoomin harvesters. Its that time of year again when thoughts turn to wondering about the status and extent of our northern manoomin stands. Wed love to be able to report that 2015 will be a banner year with abundant harvest opportunities for allbut as all seasoned pickers know we are in the watch and wait period. Watching our favorite manoomin beds mature and ripen and waiting to see what the seasons weather brings. Preliminary guesstimates for this year based on reports from our manoomin interns and other early season reconnaissance efforts indicate that the crop is quite variable but certainly looking pretty good in spots. Development also seems a bit more variable than some years with maturation varying by 10 days or more betweendifferentbeds.Fortheseriouspickerthiscanbeanadvantagestretching the harvest season out if the weather cooperates but it also means that its going to be extra important to carefully scout the places you hope to pick. It also means you cant assume Lake B will be ready to pick tomorrow just because Lake A was good today. Harvesting or knocking rice before the plants are mature will produce low yields and may actually hinder ricing opportunities for harvesters later in the season. Manoomin can be very giving but our patience may be required too. Remember to periodically check GLIFWCs website httpsdata.glifwc. for the status of select ceded territory rice waters to help guide your ricing efforts. The abundance of rice on selected waters will be summarized and air photos will be provided for some particularly significant locations. However keep in mind that an abundance of manoomin plants doesnt alwaysequatewithanabundantharvest.Pollinationproblemscanleavehullsempty of seedthe phenomenon known as ghost rice. Storms or non-human harvest- ers can take the harvest first or disease can reduce seed production. Drought can leave beds unpickable. Its even possible for the harvest to drop because the stands are too dense leading to competition between neighboring plants for the nutrients needed to set seed. Harvesting success is never certain until the day is done. The GLIFWC website will also post any information we have on the status of Wisconsins date-regulated lakes. The harvest season on these waters is deter- mined jointly by tribal rice chiefs and WDNR representatives who monitor the beds and establish the dates they can be picked each year. On non-date regulated waters each ricer holds the responsibility of determining if the rice is ripe enough to harvest in a good way. Updates to the website are made regularly so be sure to check throughout the seasonbut remember that while we share any information we have as a service to the ricing community the gold standard of opening information for any date regulated lake is the sign posted at the boat landing. And please remember being a rice chief can be a challenging and thankless job and rice chiefs often only hear from the pickers who disagree with their decisions. If you appreciate the long days and many miles they log on behalf of the manoomin let them know For now to bide our time until the rice is ready we all can make trips out to favoritewildricewaterstocheckonthecropfindthebawaiganaakoogknockers and gaandakiiiganaak push pole and keep a watchful eye on what the weather has in store. Good harvesting to you. Checking out the manoomin prospects for 2015 A little too early for accurate predictions By Peter David GLIFWC Wildlife Biologist Lisa David GLIFWC Manoomin Biologist An example of a rice bed in northern Wisconsin off to a good start. photo by Lisa David Interested in selling wild rice seed GLIFWC will be looking to purchase green wild rice seed for reseeding projects. If you are interested please contact us before harvesting. Call Peter David 715.682.6619 ext. 2123 for more information. New beginning for manoomin on the St. Louis River New Duluth Minn.Wild rice restoration is in full swing on the St. Louis River some ten miles upstream from the Gichigami ports Duluth and Superior. Centered along the junction of the 1842 and 1854 Treaty ceded territories an interagency project aims to greatly increase the abundance of manoomin for future genterations. This is one of the very special places to Ojibwe people said Thomas HowesFondduLacBandFdLnatural resources program manager. Known as Nahgahchiwwanong the environs around the St. Louis Estuarynotably Spirit Islandform one of the primary stopping places made by migrating Anishinaabe centuries ago. Its impor- tant to bring manoomin back. Takingcaretobypassremnantclus- ters of wild rice emerging from the shal- low backwaters connected to the river Fond du Lac Band natural resources technicians cleared Duck Hunter Bay North and South with an aquatic veg- etation harvester in mid-summer. The removalofplantsincludingsedgesreeds and others should help reduce competi- tion for manoomin Howes said. The ambitious multi-year manoo- min enhancement project pools the expertise of the FdL Band 1854 Treaty Authority Great Lakes Indian Fish Wildlife Commission and Minnesota Land Trust. Work on the St. Louis River or Chigamiiziibi in the Ojibwe language a border-water between WisconsinandMinnesotaalsoincludes contributions from the respective state Departments of Natural Resources. Private individuals play a key role aswell.Howesplanstobuyupto17000 poundsoffreshly-knockedgreenricethis season to seed into the dark-water bays oftheSt.Louis.Itsauniqueopportunity for ricers to help bring back manoomin to Nahgahchiwwanong or far end of the great lake and pocket some cash along the way. Beginning in the late 1800s river drives pushing pine timber downstream began more than a century of environ- mental degradation on the river. Indus- trialization of the Twin Ports and the rise of paper mills in the upper St. Louis further corrupted wild rice habitat until only thin scattered stands of manoomin remained. By Charlie Otto Rasmussen Staff Writer Attention Ricers FdL resource officials are purchasing unprocessed hand-harvested manoomin for reseeding Gichigamiiziibi great lake river at designated sites in the ceded territory. For details contact Thomas Howes at 218.878.7163. Fond du Lac Bands weed harvester cleared around 80 backwater acres along the St. Louis River in preparation for manoomin seeding this fall. COR MAZINAIGAN PAGE 8 FALL 2015