Wild Rice Sulfate Standards Study: Public Input Opportunity

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is holding a Wild Rice Standards Study Mid-Project Review meeting on February 28 to March 1 at the Dakota Lodge in West St. Paul.  An open house and poster session for the general public will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday evening, February 28.

The amount of sulfates in northern Minnesota watersheds is implicated in causing a decline in the growth of wild rice.  At one time, Minnesota supported more varieties of wild rice than any other state or Canadian province, and wild rice is our most important wild food crop.

Studies are trying to determine how sulfates impact wild rice, and whether the current 10 mg/l sulfate standard needs to be maintained.   If the standard proves to be necessary to retain our wild rice crop, industries will need to develop ways to control and clean up sulfate discharges.  This could impact hardrock mining, agriculture, and wastewater treatment plants.  The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is arguing for a weaker sulfate standard and for streamlining of permits for new industries, such as copper-nickel sulfide mining.

The next few decades will determine whether Minnesota can retain its heritage of clean water, and the fish, plants, birds (including the loon) and wildlife that are dependent upon clean water.  Ultimately, this affects all of us.

Learn more and share your input at the upcoming open house on February 28.  Dakota Lodge is located in Thompson County Park, 1600 Stassen Lane, West St. Paul. Visit the MPCA website for more information.

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