Minnesota Land Trust and several partners are restoring wild rice wetlands within the St. Louis River System Area of Concern (AOC). The St. Louis River estuary was historically one of the largest sources of wild rice and an important migratory bird stopover site, and is a critically important source of aquatic productivity for western Lake Superior. The abundance of wild rice in the lower St. Louis River estuary has been reduced significantly since the early 20th Century, and only small remnant beds of wild rice exist in the AOC. By restoring wild rice beds, this project is improving the quality and quantity of habitat for local wildlife species, reducing the extent and impact of wetland areas dominated by invasive plant species, re-establishing opportunities for cultural harvest of wild rice, and developing successful wild rice restoration techniques adapted to the specific conditions found in the St. Louis River estuary. Identified as a priority in the Remedial Action Plan for the St. Louis River System Area of Concern, this project will contribute to the restoration of Beneficial Use Impairments for Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations and Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat.
Photos: Minnesota Land Trust, USFWS
Lower St. Louis River Area of Concern located between Duluth, MN and Superior, WI