On Thursday night August 1st, Manitowoc Unit of the Manitowoc County Fish & Game Prot. Assn. held their monthly meeting and the guest speaker was Jade Arneson who is a MS Candidate, Environmental Science and Policy, UW-Green Bay.
Jade is doing studies on the Wild Rice on the Bay of Green Bay and here is some of the interesting issues she told us. Her job was to Evaluate the success of wild rice restoration, improve understanding of the relative effects of environmental factors on wild rice success, and inform future management in Green Bay. Document and improve understanding of the rate by which wild rice restoration efforts benefit wildlife within Green Bay.
Jade told us how the bags of seed came from Minnesota in 50-pound bags and then was placed in water until they were ready for planting. All planting was done by hand and one other student planted some seed during the ice fishing season. Some of those seeds took hold and are growing today.
In 2018, 16 of 18 restoration sites had an observed wild rice response. 8 out of 9 restoration sites along the Green Bay west shore went to seed. 1 out of 9 restoration sites in Lower Green Bay went to seed. Highest percent wild rice cover occurred at restoration sites in Lower Peshtigo River, Seagull Bar and Oconto Marsh. She observed Good to Excellent water clarity, Moderate sediment hardness, Mix of sandy and mucky substrates.
What they found was that once the plants start to grow the geese and ducks love it. There were locations where the geese and ducks ate pretty good.
Distinct differences in wild rice response and environmental factors have been observed with a notably dichotomy between Green Bay west shore and Lower Bay restoration sites. Great success at Green Bay west shore restoration sites after only one year of seeding suggest these sites have potential to be sustaining soon. Wildlife use immediate with the most common user group waterfowl. Seeding scheduled for November 2019.
The program that Jade is doing, is very important to the future of Wild Rice in the Bay of Green Bay. At the time of the first settlers coming to Green Bay, they had to fight their way through the wild rice beds in order to reach land. Won’t it be nice to get some of these beds back on the Bay of Green Bay for all to see in the future.
Jade is a three-time winner of the Manitowoc County Fish & Game scholarships. We are very thankful for her to come to our meeting and show us her college program firsthand. Good Luck in the future Jade and we all will be following your work on the Bay of Green Bay.