This week UWGB, Ducks Unlimited and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are seeding 2,000 pounds of wild rice all in hopes of preserving fish and wildlife in local waters.
It’s not the traditional rice you have on the dinner table, but it feeds Green Bay’s aquatic families.
“We have huge numbers that are coming to the Bay and they’ll leave if the food resources are not there for them,”says Brian Glenzinski with Ducks Unlimited.
That’s why despite the wind and 38 degree temps conservation enthusiasts hit the water to feed the fish.
“Wild rice was dominate here at one time, it was extirpated through a whole bunch of causes from water quality issues, to invasive species,” says Glenzinski. “This is an effort to bring wildlife back to an environment where it once dominated.”
Brie Kupsky helped start the project when she was a grad student at UWGB.
Their first attempts at seeding were not so successful.
“For three weeks in the middle of January and February we came out with ice augers and drilled holes through the ice, hundreds and hundreds of holes in the ice to seed this wild rice,” says Kupsky. “It was no fun, it was a nightmare.”
Eventually the group got into the groove and they found the right time of the year to seed though they didn’t expect it would yield results.
“If you get the wild rice out too early there’s some concerns about geese and all sorts of waterfowl eating up the rice and stuff,” says Kupsky.
Kupsky now works for the DNR and is proud to see the project through.
Not only to keep our fish here in the Bay, but to preserve a culture as well.
“It’s a crucial plant for not only water fowl, but for Native Americans as well,” says Glenzinski. “A very important cultural resource.”
The conservationists will be seeding in Oconto county Thursday and at Point au Sable Friday.