Wild Rice (Zizania aquatica)

Wild rice photoLocation: Northern Minnesota lakes, marshes, and streams; water 6 inches to 3 feet deep.

Wild rice illustrationDescription: Grows above water surface; is rooted in soft, mucky sediment; clusters of green, ribbon-like leaves are tapered; leaves float on the surface during late spring and early summer; stalks grow 3 to 10 feet tall by early July.

Hints to identify: Wild rice generally grows in calm, clear water, in soft mucky lake or stream bottom; grains are yellow or red and appear at the tip of the stalk in August.

Importance of plant: Wild rice has a higher protein content than most cereal grains, making it a good food for wildlife and humans. Wild rice attracts many wild birds, especially waterfowl and red-winged blackbirds, and it also provides nesting cover for waterfowl.

Wild rice photoManagement strategy: It is best to let wild rice grow. In addition to providing good habitat for wildlife, wild rice is a substantial food crop worth at least $2 million to the state's economy each year.

Harvest report: This report examines the characteristics of Minnesota wild rice harvesters; assess current harvest levels and harvester satisfaction; assess current natural wild rice harvest use of Minnesota lakes and rivers; solicits wild rice harvester opinions of current state regulations and proposed revisions; determines factors that limit wild rice harvesting; identifies information needs of wild rice harvesters and the best means to deliver that information; and determines support for natural wild rice management priorities.