New restoration project looks to improve wildlife and water quality in Northeast Wisconsin

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – This week, conservation professionals and volunteers from UW-Green Bay, Ducks Unlimited, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and UW-Madison Division of Extension seeded 2,000 pounds of rice across the coastal wetlands of the Bay of Green Bay.

Recent restorations efforts, like the rice seeding event, were honored Tuesday morning with a new interpretive sign outside the Ken Euers Natures Area presented by Mayor Genrich.

Wild rice provides an important food source to waterfowl during fall migration and benefits fish nurseries and ecological diversity in coastal wetlands. Fish species will lay eggs on wild rice plants as there growing and use them as nurseries. Rice has been hard to find in the coastal wetlands and tributaries in our area over recent decades.

Brian Glenzinski, who is the Regional Biologist at Ducks Unlimited, says, “[Wild Rice] is an emergent plant that distills the water and takes up nutrients and has a bunch of other water quality benefits.”

According to the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, “By stabilizing water quality, wild rice helps reduce algal blooms and improve water clarity.”

Rice also holds spiritual, traditional, and economic values for Wisconsin’s First Nation tribes who refer to it as “manoomin”.

This is the fourth year that UW-Green Bay aquatic vegetation research has conducted these seeding efforts.

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