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Protecting Native Wild Rice

EGLE Grant Supports State Agencies and Tribal Governments

Natural Awakenings News: EGLE Grant Supports State Agencies and Tribal Governments
 

A $100,000 grant through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Office of the Great Lakes will help protect wild rice, a culturally and ecologically significant native plant. The two-year grant will support the collaborative creation of a wild rice stewardship plan at the request of the Michigan Wild Rice Initiative Team (MWRIT). The team includes representatives from EGLE; the state departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Transportation; and each of the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan.

Found in shallow waters, wild rice has value in the state, particularly for Anishinaabe communities in the region, who refer to the plant as manoomin. Once plentiful in places like northern Michigan, wild rice is under threat from climate change, habitat loss, uninformed harvesting practices, degraded water quality and other factors.

The University of Michigan Water Center, which focuses on collaborative, user-driven research, will partner with MWRIT to develop the Tribal-State Manoomin Stewardship Plan, engaging with the tribes to identify all elements of the plan and working with relevant decision makers to secure commitments and resources for implementation.

Since the formation of the MWRIT in 2017, the group has been working collaboratively to protect, preserve and restore wild rice and wild rice culture in Michigan through collaboration, education, research, policy and stewardship, to enhance ecosystem health and benefit present and future generations.

For more information, visit EGLE-wild-rice-grant  

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