wild rice
Infographic: Wild Rice

A Minnesota District Court has ruled in favor of protecting the state’s wild rice.

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wild-rice-infographic

Wild Rice is an aquatic grass that is harvested annually for its nutritious grain. Throughout its growth cycle, wild rice encounters many external threats, both environmental and human-made, which are being compounded by the effects of climate change.

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Wild rice on the Bad River Reservation in northern Wisconsin is in the floating leaf stage by early June, with a single shoot lying on the water’s surface. This is considered one of the most critical—and and dangerous—stages in the rice’s life cycle. The plants are just beginning to change physiologically from exchanging gases with the water column to exchanging gases with the air. Therefore, they are very susceptible to heavy rains and flooding events that can either rip out the young plants by the roots, or drown them. June 6, 2011.

For generations, the upper Great Lakes region has boasted harvests of wild rice, growing in Lake Superior and other watersheds within the basin. But disease, dams, and climate change are now endangering the uncultivated bounty.

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