Study will examine ways of protecting wild riceThe Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will expand its knowledge of wild rice and sulfate interactions with the help of a University of Minnesota research team.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will expand its knowledge of wild rice and sulfate interactions with the help of a University of Minnesota research team. This work, funded by the 2011 Minnesota Legislature from the Clean Water Fund, is designed to provide key information on the effects of sulfate on wild rice. The MPCA will use the results of this work and other information to further evaluate the existing sulfate standard to protect wild rice.
“This is a great example of the MPCA partnering with the U of M to leverage the research expertise to help us solve an environmental protection question,” Shannon Lotthammer, MPCA manager, said. “Wild rice is an important cultural, economic and ecological resource in Minnesota. This study will allow us to better understand an important aspect of protecting this vital resource.”
The university research will begin this spring and continue into fall 2013. Preliminary study plans include:
--Field survey of lakes and streams that support healthy stands of wild rice and those that should support wild rice but do not.
--Laboratory studies to gather additional information about how sulfate and sulfide affect wild rice plant growth.
--Outdoor experiments with container-grown wild rice.
When the study is complete, the MPCA will evaluate the new information, along with existing data and scientific literature, to determine whether any changes are needed to the current sulfate standard to protect wild rice and, if so, what those changes should be.
More information on this project can be found on the MPCA’s website at www.pca.state.mn.us.