Survival of Wild Rice Threatened by Climate Change, Increased Rainfall

"Wild rice is an aquatic grass that thrives in shallow waters, and serves as a sacred “mashkiki,” or medicine, to the Ojibwe."

"ONAMIA, MINN.—Todd Moilanen paddles gently through wild rice beds on Ogechie Lake, trying not to disturb a loon sleeping on its back on a nest of reeds a few feet away.

Moilanen, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Band’s cultural resources director, delights in seeing resurgence of life on Ogechie Lake. For years, the small, shallow lake about 100 miles north of the Twin Cities was too deep for wild rice, or manoomin, as wild rice is called in the Ojibwe language.

Logging companies around the Rum River built the Buck More Dam in the 1930s, which kept water levels consistently over four feet — too high for manoomin.

Low water levels are critical for manoomin, a sacred crop for the Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes region. But climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels is bringing more rain and flooding to Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, making harvests of wild rice less reliable."

Andrew Hazzard reports for Sahan Journal August 14, 2023.


Source: Sahan Journal, 08/15/2023