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Fond du Lac Band Restores Wild Rice
100-acre Deadfish Lake is one of five primary wild rice lakes Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa maintains. Together, they provide nearly 900 acres of wild rice habitat holds special cultural significance to the Fond du Lac and other Ojibwe bands.

But that wasn't the case more than 20 years ago. Back then, there wasn't much wild rice left on the reservation to harvest. In the early 1900s the government built a network of ditches to try to drain the land for farming.

The canals are 20 feet wide in some places. And they had an unintended consequence. They disrupted the complex hydrology of the wild rice lakes. Many stopped producing rice regularly.

So in the late 1990s the band began experimenting, to try to make the rice grow like it used to. At Deadfish Lake, they put in a holding pond above the lake and a water control structure at the outlet. The idea was to try to mimic the hydrology before all the canals were put in.



 
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