Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

GLIFWC: Worst Wild Rice Crop in Years for North Central Wisconsin

By Katie Thoresen, WXPR Public Radio

You might be hard pressed to find some wild rice this fall.

“It may be one of the very worst years I’ve seen in 35 years,” said Peter David, wildlife biologist for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC).

David has been doing aerial surveys over wild rice beds throughout the region. He says the only year that be might worse is 2010 when there was a disease outbreak.

Rice Lake July 2020. © Sokaogon Chippewa Community.

Crops are particularly bad right now in Iron, Vilas, Oneida, and Forest Counites, which took him a bit by surprise.

Wild rice does best when water levels are on the low side.

Water levels right now are lower than they’ve been in years.

“It’s just been elevated for so long in northcentral Wisconsin that it may take a fairly extended period of drought to get water levels back the level that really produces nice rice abundance,” said David.

David says things get a little better as you move farther away.

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