Ceded Territory news briefs Stocked walleye prosper on Minocqua Chain, still no natural reproduction Two years after the Voigt Intertribal Task Force and the Wisconsin Depart- ment of Natural Resources (WDNR) agreed to close Minocqua, Kawaguesaga, and Tomahawk Lakes to walleye harvest, stocked fish are surviving well, but natural reproduction has not yet returned. Ojibwe tribes and WDNR agreed prior to the 2015 fishing season that the walleye population on the chain of lakes was low enough to warrant special protection from harvest in order to help the walleye recover. Thus far, extended growth walleye fingerlings stocked in the fall have been surviving in good numbers to their second autumn, but natural reproduction is lagging. GLIFWCandWDNRplantocontinueannualfallsurveystoevaluatenatural reproduction and juvenile survival, and will conduct adult walleye population estimates on the chain in spring 2019. —M. Luehring GLIFWC receives ANA grant for traditional food code models As part of an effort to expand use of treaty-harvested fish, game, and plants for food in tribal communities, GLIFWC is establishing a traditional food regulatory system through a 3-year Administration for Native Americans (ANA) SEDS (Social Economic Development Strategies) grant. Entitled “GLIFWC Chippewa Ceded Territory Traditional Food Regula- tory System Project,” the program increases tribal self-regulatory capacity and sovereign control over activities relating to the use of treaty resources. Within the next months, project specialists will be administering a Tradi- tional Food Interest Survey via SurveyMonkey® along with paper surveys in GLIFWC tribal communities. The survey will allow project staff to conduct environmental and legal research into traditional Anishinaabe foods that tribal members would like to see incorporated into a food code model. Stay tuned to the GLIFWC Facebook page for the survey link. —L. Coffin Trumpeter harvest a first in modern era A St. Croix Tribe hunter registered the first legally harvested trumpeter swans taken in Wisconsin in nearly a century. Two trumpeters were harvested in northwest Wisconsin’s Burnett County December 4. Extirpated from the Ceded Territory generations ago, trumpeter popula- tions have soared over the past decade through the restoration efforts of state, federal, tribal and private organizations. Recent population estimates indicate that nearly 5,000 birds now live in Wisconsin, and more than three times that many in Minnesota. In consultation with US Fish &Wildlife Service, GLIFWC first added a tundra/trumpeter swan huntingseasonin2014.Undertreatyhuntingregulations,theannualgeneralswan season closes if the trumpeter harvest reaches 10 birds. —CO Rasmussen • NEWS BRIEFS/MANOOMIN • By Peter David, GLIFWC Wildlife Biologist Every manoomin (wild rice) sea- sonseemstobringsomethingnew,and something ancient. Often a new teach- ing is provided, along with reminders of lessons shared year after year. In many ways, it was a challeng- ing year for manoomin, especially in Wisconsin, where a summer of cool temperatures and seemingly endless rain elevated water levels across broad regions of rice country. The status of the crop generally reflected an inverse relationship with rainfall. Northeast Wisconsin was very wet, and the crop was poor—with a record number of date-regulated rice lakes remaining closed in that region for the year. Northwest Wisconsin was less drenched, and pulled off a fair to average crop.And remarkably, further westintoMinnesota,precipitationlev- els were far lower, and in many areas the rice flourished. It will be interesting to see what therespondentstotheannualWisconsin harvest survey will tell us (and please respond if you receive a survey), but early returns suggest that despite these tough conditions, the manoomin still provided remarkably generously for those who ventured out to gather the grain. It seems as though three things may have combined to make that possible: a bit of technology, a bit of luck, and a bit of respect. The technology—and part of the luck—came in the form of the air surveys and the internet: a few clear sky days just before ricing season allowed GLIFWC to complete its annual aerial surveys of manoomin lakes. Ricers are logging on more than ever to use that information to find the beds most able to provide good Rain, water levels contribute to uneven manoomin yields tions in late 1800s and early 1900s swallowed lives and entire towns from Wisconsin to the mountains of theWest. Backedbyapublicawarenesscampaign featuringSmokeytheBear,landmanag- ersworkedtosnuffouteveryerrantflame throughoutAmerica’s woodlands. But a fundamental change in attitudes toward wildland fire was emerging. Inasweeping1996reportchartered jointly by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture, federal land managers recognized that a century of fire sup- pression had built up massive woody fuel loads, creating threats to human life and property. Ecosystems, furthermore, were no longer fully functional without the benefit of wildland burning. The seeds for a future with fire management were sewn. “More and more federal agencies identified fire as an important part of the landscape,” Panek said. “They were becoming more receptive to input from tribes too.” After a few years, Panek took an assignment from Park Supervisor Bob Krumenaker to update fire management plans for the AINL. Experience on western wildfire crews and interviews with elders on the Red Cliff Ojibwe Reservation helped crystalize a vision for the Apostle Islands and mainland portions of the park. “As I developed an understand- ing, a certain comfort level with fire, I saw cultural opportunities along with opportunities to improve some really rare habitat,” said Panek, a White Earth Ojibwe who tapped into traditional eco- logical knowledge, or TEK, to establish how local Ojibweg interacted with the land.“Iknewnativepeoplehadtradition- ally picked blueberries out on Stockton Islandfromoralstories.Theymaintained good picking by rotational burning. There are fire scars and charred stumps everywhere, which backs up everything people have said.” On this same landscape—located on a sandy peninsula-like feature called a tombolo—an uncommon swath of red pinebarrenswaslongoverdueforalow- intensity fire to burn away competitive shrubs, hardwoods and other species. Krumenaker said that without fire, the tombolo would transition into mixed- species forest. “This is a globally significant eco- logicalsystem.Butwhat’sreallyunique, whatmakesitsospecial,isthatitgotthis way because of humans,” Krumenaker said. “This is the best combination of cultural heritage and land management that I can think of.” A good burn Around a week after the ceremony, the10,054-acreislandsoakedupalight, steadyrainfollowedbyfivedaysofdry- ing. With the arrival of a gentle breeze, Panek said conditions were perfect. Theinteragencycrewsetuparound the 5-acre burn site on a mowed fire- break with an assortment of equipment, including hoses that tapped water from an adjacent creek. Limbs from large spruce and balsam were sawed off well beforethedriptorcheswerelit.Between branchremovalsandspot-sprayingwith the water hose, crews were able to keep much of the burn confined to the forest floor and out of the tree tops away from the large red pines. Positioned at a safe distance from the action, the late October burn on the Stockton tombolo included a handful of natives from Red Cliff, Bad River, and Fond du Lac—many who had attended the ceremony weeks earlier with other tribal representatives and GLIFWC staff. “You think about it, some Bad River and Red Cliff members out there are descendants of those who used to go out and pick berries, interact with that island,” Panek said. “Now they are back on the landscape during a burn like their great grandparents.” The Park Service, tribes and their partners plan to continue cultural-based management on Stockton Island well into the future. Native fire management continued (continued from page 1) Tribal members share stories following the October 11 ceremony and feast on Stockton Island. Park Ranger Damon Panek (pictured second from right) led an afternoon hiking tour of the tombolo and prescribed burn site. (CO Rasmussen photo) CO Rasmussen photo (see Manoomin, page 15) PAGE 3 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2017/2018