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PAGE5MAZINAIGANFALL2012ENVIRONMENTALNonewsulfatelevelsetforMinnesotamanoominwatersyetMulti-yearstudyofsulfateimpactonwildricecontinuesMinnesotaPollutionControlAgencyMPCAscientistsweresentbacktotheirvariouslabsbyapeerreviewcommitteethisfallinordertopursuemoredefiniteresultsrelatingtotheimpactofsulfatesulfideonmanoominwildrice.Thestudiesarebeingperformedtodetermineasuitablestandardforsulfatelev-elsinMinnesotaswildricewatersthatwouldadequatelyprotectthischerishedresource.Butnoconclusiveanswersyet.ThestandardforsulfatelevelsinMinnesotawildricewaterswasfirstsetin1973at10mgliterandwasimmediatelychallenged.Therewasevenafailedef-forttolegislativelychangethestandard.SubsequentlythestandardjustwasnotimplementedafactwhichcametotheattentionofthetribesastheylookedintodischargesintowildricewatersstatesNancySchuldtFondduLacWaterProjectsCoordinator.ThepotentialimpactofminingandindustrialdischargesintowatercontinuestobeatribalconcernandbothFondduLacandGrandPortagemaintaina10mgliterstandardonreservationlakes.Howeverin2010theMPCAdecidedtore-evaluatethatdeterminationandin2011theMinnesotaLegislatureprovidedfundingfromtheCleanWaterLandandLegacyAmendmentforin-depthstudiestobeperformedoveraspanofthreeyears.Sulfateisatypeofmineralsaltthatcanharmricestandswhenitconvertsintosulfidesattherootlevelandbecomestoxictotheplant.NaturallyoccurringsulfatesareuncommoninnorthernMinnesotabutlevelscanbecomeelevatedinareaswithdischargefromminesandotherindustries.TheMPCAdevelopedprotocolsforthestudywithinputfromMinnesotatribestheMinnesotaDepartmentofNaturalResourcestheUSEnvironmentalProtectionAgencyandinterestedstakeholders.TheMPCAcontractedwiththeUniversityofMinnesotatoperformtheresearchthathasinvolvedseveraldifferentcomponents.Fieldsurveysofwildricehabitatscomprisedonecomponentofthestudy.Thisincludedanalysisofsedimentsandwaterqualityandwasusedtoexpandunderstandingoftheenvironmentalconditionswhichwereconduciveordetri-mentaltomanoomin.Anothercomponentfocusedoncontrolledlaboratoryhydroponicexperi-mentstoevaluatetheimpactofsulfateandsulfideonwildriceseedgerminationandgrowth.Theseexperimentswereonlylimitedtotentotwenty-onedayssohavenobearingontheeffectofsulfateorsulfidethroughoutthelifecycleoftheplant.ConsequentlythehydroponicexperimenthadonlylimiteduseaccordingtoSchuldtwhoisalsoamemberoftheWildRiceStudyCommittee.Athirdareaofstudyusedoutdoorcontainerexperimentstodeterminetheimpactofsulfateonmanoominoverafullgrowingcycle.Thecontainerexperimentswereanotherdose-responseexperimentyieldingresultsthatcouldeventuallybecomparedwiththeresultsfromthelaboratoryandfieldstudies.Thesewerestartedwithtribalfundingforthefirsttwoyearsandtribalfundingalsosupportedafourthyearofstudy.Cumulativelyovertimethe150mgand300mghaveshownacleareffectofincreasedsulfateonwildriceandthateffectbecomesstrongerovertimeSchuldtsaysnotingthatbyyearfourthetribescanshowthattheplantstreatedwiththe300mgsulfatelevelarecompletelydead.Otherstudyareasincludedcollectionandanalysisofrootingzonedepthprofileswhichexaminedsedimentsatmanoominsrootinglevelinthefieldandcontainers.Alsosedimentincubationlaboratoryexperimentswereperformedtobetterunderstandtheeffectoftemperatureonmovementofsulfateintoandoutofunderlyingsediment.OncethestudieswerecompletetheMPCAappointedapeerreviewcom-mitteetoreviewtheworkoftheresearchersandprovidecomments.ThereviewtookplaceinAugust2014.Whileoveralltheresearchshowedthatsulfateconvertedbybacteriaintosulfideinterfereswiththelong-termviabilityofwildricestandsexpertsonthereviewpanelcalledforfurtherstudybeforeanewstandardsulfatelevelisconsideredSomeofthequestionsstilloutforstudyincludedtheperiodorconditionswhenmanoominismostsusceptibletosulfideimpacts.Questionsalsoremainaboutsettingsite-specificstandardssincevaryingconditionsinwaterbodiesmaybemoreorlesslikelytoconvertsulfatetosulfide.Forinstancethestudysuggestsahigherconcentrationofironinthewatermaybelessconducivetoconvertingsulfateintosulfide.Amonganumberofrecommendationsthepanelsuggestedtheuseofmoresophisticatedmulti-levelmodelstocrunchdataaswellasincludingotherexperi-mentalvariablessuchasnitrogenphosphorusironandtheamountoforganicmatterinthesediment.Theyemphasizedaneedtobetterunderstandthecomplexinteractionsthatoccurinthemuckysedimentsthatsupportmanoomin.Thestudiesusedameasurementofwildricecoverageperacreofthewater-body.Reviewerssuggestedusingothermethodssuchascountingstemspersquaremeterbiomasspermeterorthenumberoffloweringstems.Thesemethodswouldprovideamorecompletepictureofthestandsoverallvitality.AccordingtotheMPCAthereviewpanelrecommendsthattheMPCAfirstre-analyzetheircurrentdata-setinlightofthepeerreviewerscommentsespeciallyaroundthestudiesthatexaminetheroleofsulfateandsulfideinwildriceresponsesinthelaboratoryandcontainersforcomparableoccurrencesinthefield.Thisre-analysisshouldincludearooting-zoneporewaterprofilestudyandlaboratoryexperimentsontemperatureeffects.There-analysisshouldimprovetheoverallvalueofthecurrentdatasetsinunderstandingtheconcentrationsatwhichsulfateandsulfidecanadverselyimpactmanoomin.TheMPCAfeelsthepeerreviewprocesswascritical.CommentingthatthepeerreviewwasakeystepintheMPCAsongoingeffortstoimproveitsscien-tificunderstandingoftheeffectsofsulfateonwildriceandtoprovideadditionalfactualinformationfortheMPCAsdecisionaboutwhetherthecurrentMinnesotawildricesulfatewaterqualitystandardshouldbechanged.Manoominresearchisnotnewtotribeswhohavebeenresearchingandgatheringdataonmanoominforyears.Schuldtbelievesthecurrentstandardof10mgliterisdefensible.Takentogetherthemultiplelinesofevidenceseemtoindicatethatthecurrentstandardisprotectiveandthatincreasedconcentrationsofsulfateturnedintosulfideistoxictorice.Thereisclearlyaneffectshecomments.WhileSchuldtispleasedwiththequalityofresearchshehassomeconcernsthattherulemakingprocessismorecomplicatedthanitneedstobe.ForexampletheMPCAseemstowanttofocusonspecificsiteswithhigherconcentrationsofironintheporewaterwhichcanmitigatethetoxicityofsulfides.Schuldtfindsthatfocusunreasonablebecausewaterqualitystandardsandregulationsshouldbeveryclear.Thereisanunduefocusonironmitigationthatshouldnotbepartofthewaterqualityregulationsshesays.ShenotesthatadefinitionofwildricewatersinMinnesotaswaterqualitystandardsalsoneedsclarification.Fornowresearchandyesdebatecontinue.Notargetdateforadetermina-tionhasbeenannounced.MembersofthepeerreviewteamincludedGertieH.P.ArtsAlterraWa-geningenUniversityandResearchCentreNetherlandsDonaldAxelradFloridaTheiron-suldebattleTheamountofironandsuldeisdynamicandoneaffectstheother.Ifenoughnewironisowingintothemude.g.viagroundwaterthenevenalakeorstreamwithhighsulfatelevelscansupportwildrice.Ontheotherhandenoughsulfatecanoverwhelmthesupplyofironandmakesuldelevelstoxic.reprintedwithpermissionfromMPCABySueEricksonStaffWriterTakentogetherthemultiplelinesofevidenceseemtoindicatethatthecurrentstandardisprotectiveandthatincreasedconcentrationsofsulfateturnedintosulfideistoxictorice.Thereisclearlyaneffect.NancySchuldtFondduLacWaterProjectsCoordinatorAMUniversityPatrickBrezonikUniversityofMinnesotaretiredSiobhanFennessyKenyonCollegeSusanGalatowitschUniversityofMinnesotaMarkHansonUniversityofManitobaCurtisPollmanAquaLuxLucisInc.Peerreviewreportisavailableatwww.pca.state.mn.usindex.phpwaterwater-permits-and-ruleswater-rulemakingsulfate-standard-and-wild-ricescientific-peer-review.html