Wild Rice Rally to Greet Governor

Environmental advocates will greet Minnesota governor Mark Dayton with a rally in support of wild rice protection when he visits northern Minnesota for the walleye fishing opening this weekend.

Minnesota Public Radio has the story HERE.

The rally is in support of maintaining the state’s current regulations on the amount of allowable sulfate in waters where wild rice grows. The Minnesota legislature is considering legislation that would raise allowable sulfate from the current ten milligrams per liter of water, to 50 milligrams per liter.

Proponents of the eased standard say the current limits — which are more strict than the state’s drinking water standards for sulfates — would unduly limit expansion of iron mining operations in northeastern Minnesota and threaten the state’s emerging copper-nickel mining efforts. They claim the limits are not based on sound science.

Environmental advocates say the limits, which have been in effect since 1973, are backed by a legitimate 60-year-old study which showed wild rice stands suffering at sulfates levels greater than 10 milligrams per liter. Wild rice stands are compromised when bacteria converts sulfates into hydrogen sulfide, which damages plants.

The governor will visit the Grand Rapids area and fish on Pokegama for the Governor’s Fishing Opener, a tradition that dates to 1948.

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