PAGE 3 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2018-2019 Ceded Territory news briefs PolyMet mine permits approved by Minnesota DNR On November 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued permits to PolyMet Mining Corporation to move forward with a proposed copper-nickel mine near the Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota. The permits—including a permit to mine, six water appropriation per- mits, two dam safety permits, a public waters work permit and an endangered species takings permit—support development of a 6,000-acre open-pit mine, tailings basin and processing plant at the former LTV taconite site near Hoyt Lakes. In August, tribal and GLIFWC staff met with the Minnesota Depart- ment of Natural Resources to try to have tribal concerns addressed in the proposed permits. Though the project still needs water and air quality permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and some local permits and approvals, the DNR’s back- ing increases the likelihood that the project will move forward after 14 years of environmental review. The PolyMet mining project has generated much concern and conflict in Minnesota and the surrounding areas, due to the risk that hard rock mining can pose to local lakes and rivers. Waste rock can produce acid that leaches heavy metals from the ground, threateninglocalwaterbodieswithtoxins.Additionally,environmentalgroups say the 1950s-era tailings basin that will be used for the project is a risk for catastrophic failure. GLIFWC will review the permits to see if they address tribal concerns raised in August and will continue to monitor the project as it develops. —P. Maday First wolves arrive on Isle Royale in pack reboot GrandPortage,Minn.—TheNationalParkServicewrappedupthefirst phase of its ma’iingan translocation program to Isle Royale in mid-October. In collaboration with the Grand Portage Band, four wolves were captured on the mainland and moved to Isle Royale by boat and aircraft with assistance from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Since the wolf population collapse on the large Lake Superior island in recentyears,moosenumbershavesoared,stressingtreeandplantcommunities. Wolf inbreeding over the past decade on the island—located 18 miles from the mainland—created an unhealthy population with physical abnormalities that made the animals ineffective hunters. In a move designed to give the new pack a healthy start on their island home, the Park Service killed six moose near ma’iingan release sites to feed the animals after the short-term captivity and likely stressful translocation. —CO Rasmussen Oneida County voters reject Lynne mine development Rhinelander, Wis.—A proposed metallic mineral sulfide mine situated just south of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation was rejected in a public ref- erendum on November 6. The advisory referendum asked whether Oneida Countyshouldleasecounty-ownedlandformining;thevoterssaidno.Located on county forestland, the mine site is comprised of wetlands connected to waterways including the Willow River. “It’s a clear indication of what local residents think, but this is one step in a process,” said Lac du Flambeau Natural Resources Director Larry Waw- ronowicz. While residents rejected the mine by a 62% margin, the ultimate decision on whether to move forward with mining lies with the Oneida County Board. Developers are interested in mining a deposit that contains lead, zinc and copper.The minerals are bonded with sulfides which, when exposed to air and water, transform into acid that can leach into the environment. —CO Rasmussen A plan for ma’iingan Natural resources officials kicked off a community comment period October 23 for an updated wolf plan on the Bad River Ojibwe reservation in far northern Wisconsin. During the gathering in New Odanah, Bad River elders, Wolf Clan members, and others from the community stressed that the traditional Ojibwe-Ma’iingan brotherhood should continue to be a major consideration in tribal management policies. Lacey Hill-Kastern, Bad River Tribe wildlife biologist, said four wolf packs totaling up to 20 or more animals maintain home ranges that include the heavily wooded, 124,000-acre reservation. With a high juvenile mortality rate, the population can dip down to around a dozen wolves, Hill-Kastern said. Tribal wildlife staff plan to wrap up the comment period by early December. Contact Hill-Kastern at 715-682-7123 to submit comments. See the most recent wolf management plan at image/WildlifeProgram/2013WMP_Final.pdf —CO Rasmussen • NEWS BRIEFS/ELECTROFISHING • 2018 Manoomin Season: A Mixed Bag While the term “a mixed bag” might be welcomed by a duck hunter, it is less of a positive when applied to a rice season—but it seems apt to describe this past fall. Rice abundance throughout the Ceded Territory was highly mixed; while belowaverageover-all,afewareasproducedwonderfulstands.Earlyseasonstorms appeared to cause problems at many sites, but none worse than at the Radigan Flowage in Douglas County. There a jewel of a rice bed disappeared in a flash when the dike blew out after the “Father’s Day Storm” dumped over a foot of rain in parts of northwest Wisconsin. (GLIFWC is in contact with Dairyland Township officials and other partners to see if reconstruction can be accomplished.) It was also a year where nature seemed to play favorites. Early ripening beds were hit the hardest; they seemed to produce little manoomin, and even less human harvest, as storms swept through as they were ripening. However, some late ripen- ing beds came into maturation in a window with better weather, and it appears that many ricers were able to bring home some seed by concentrating on those sites. Manoominike feedback If you picked up either a state or tribal off-reservation ricing permit this year, there is a good chance a harvest survey from GLIFWC has already showed up in your mail box. If so, please know we really appreciate your cooperation by completing and returning the survey—even if you didn’t get out to rice. The rich harvest data base we have built with the cooperation of ricers like you really helps us steward this precious gift from the Creator. ­ —P. David GLIFWC crews evaluate fisheries in all weather GLIFWC Fisheries Aide Jerome Cross with a largemouth bass that was captured and released September 17 during a survey of Oneida County’s Tomahawk Lake. (E. White photo) In a busy field season that wrapped up October 18, GLIFWC inland fisher- ies specialists conducted electrofishing surveys for juvenile walleyes on 91 lakes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. While young-of-the-year walleyes are the primary targets, staff also collected other data from species including bass and perch. Like many years, crews experienced a wide range of weather this past autumn during the evening assessments. “We started out in shorts and t-shirts and by the end we were wearing winter clothes and Mustang suits,” said Crew Leader Ed White. Mustangs are survival suits used in dangerous on-the-water conditions. They provide both warmth and buoyancy. Fall surveys help biologists evaluate the success of walleye spawning that took place earlier in the year. —CO Rasmussen P