PAGE 5 MAZINA’IGAN SUMMER 2017 Making sense of good years, bad years on manoomin waters Ask a simple question; get a complicated answer. This is the way nature often works. I have frequently been asked: “does manoomin abundance cycle?” The ques- tion certainly seems straight-forward. Rice harvesters of course are familiar with the great variability rice can depict between years, but they often wonder if there is a pattern underlying that variability. Are the year-to-year changes they witness in the field more or less random, or is there some pattern—even a rough one— governing these changes over time? Over the years, I have certainly read references suggesting that rice “cycles.” But does it really? Probably the best support for cycling comes from a paper published in 1989 thatlookedatwildriceproductioninOntario,ManitobaandSaskatchewanbetween 1970 and 1987. That data suggested cycling of abundance might be occurring on the province level in Ontario and Manitoba—but not Saskatchewan—on roughly a 4-year period. Pretty interesting data at first blush, but that paper also exemplifies the challenges inherent in trying to answer this question. First of all, it turns out the question—does wild rice abundance cycle?—is really too vague to easily answer. For one thing, it’s not clear at what scale the question is being asked. An individual lake? A region, state or province? The answer could be different at different scales. For example, individual lakes could be cycling, but unless they are in synchrony with each other, that cycling would be lost when measured at a regional scale. It’s also important to note that the Canadian data was tracking commercially harvested wild rice. In Canada, much of that harvest is coming from “semi-domes- ticated” wild rice. While this rice is generally grown on natural lakes, it is often subject to a much higher level of management than true wild-growing manoomin. For example, water levels may be tightly regulated and bed density is often manipulated through thinning. In addition, commercial harvest levels can be influ- enced by market prices and other factors. In fact, it is likely that the lack of cycling in Saskatchewan may have been due to a marked increase in production during the study period. These factors and others suggest that data based on commercial harvest may not accurately reflect what is happening on more natural stands. By Peter David, GLIFWC Wildlife Biologist What a difference a year makes: manoomin abundance in back-to-back years on Pacwawong Lake. (Peter David photos) (See Making sense of good years, page 23) Odanah, WI—Survival. Ecosys- tem. Grandmother. Priority. To start the Lake Superior Manoomin Restoration Workshop on April 11-12, participants introduced themselves and shared one wordtodescribewhatmanoominmeans to them. The words ranged from cultural to economic to biological in nature, accu- rately reflecting the complex interests on the table for the gathering between tribal, federal, and state agencies. The purpose of the workshop— organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with a planning team of representa- tives from the Bureau of IndianAffairs, Fond du Lac Band, Bad River Band, KeweenawBayIndianCommunity,and GLIFWC—was to provide a meaning- ful opportunity for tribal communities to share knowledge and exchange per- spectives on wild rice management and restoration. Specific objectives included: iden- tifyingthebestareasandapproachesfor wild rice restoration efforts in the Lake Superiorregion,understandingopportu- nities and challenges for the restoration of wild rice, and identifying priority needsforrestorationsuccess—including tangible outcomes for potential funding fromtheGreatLakesRestorationInitia- tive (GLRI). Culturally relevant viewpoints punctuated opening presentations by Roger LaBine, Lac Vieux Desert Band, who talked about wild rice as an impor- tantpartofhisculturalidentity,andEdith Leoso, Bad River Band, who shared the history of manoomin as told in Ojibwe prophecies. “The history of wild rice grounds us to this place that we were guided to for our survival, for our livelihood,” Leoso said. “We were guided to follow the path to the place where food grows onwater.Wearetotakecareofthatgood seed so that the good seed takes care of us,” she said. So how is the “good seed” being taken care of? Workshop participants first shared their knowledge of manoo- min, developing an understanding of historical wild rice coverage, old and new monitoring techniques, and com- monlyusedmanagementandharvesting practices. DarrenVogt,EnvironmentalDirec- tor for the 1854 Treaty Authority pre- sentedtothegrouponthebiologyofwild rice,wildricepresenceinMinnesotaand howtheAuthorityismonitoringwildrice abundance in the 1854 Ceded Territory. According to Vogt, the Authority has had a wild rice monitoring program in place since 1998 and has consistently observed a suite of ten lakes since 2002. Activities include tracking water depth and temperature on each lake after ice out until late fall. Field measurements and lab analysis of water samples are also conducted to garner information on waterquality.Finally,biologistsestimate wild rice density on each lake when rice is standing and mature. More information on these efforts can be found in the report “Wild Rice Monitoring and Abundance in the 1854 Ceded Territory (1998-2016)” at www.1854treatyauthority.org. Addi- tionaltribalandgovernmentrepresenta- tives indicated they conducted similar monitoring programs within their areas. Under Stress Daytwobeganwithapaneldiscus- sion on the stressors affecting wild rice and the impacts on harvesting. Identi- fied irritants include hydrology, climate change,recreation,andsomeplantcom- munities.All panelists agreed however, Manoomin restoration brings together tribal, federal, state stakeholders By Paula Maday Staff Writer What does manoomin mean to you? Participants in the Lake Superior Manoomin Restoration Workshop on April 11-12 each chose one word to describe what manoomin means to them. The collage of words shows the complexity of interests involved in manoomin restoration efforts. (PM) (See Manoomin, page 15) • MANOOMIN •