Wild rice reintroduced to Lower Green Bay near Cat Island Chain

Ducks Unlimited in 2015 continued efforts to restore lower Green Bay to its historically wetland-rich condition.

DU and the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay are planting wild rice, wild celery and bulrush in the former Duck Creek Delta in the wave shadow created by the Cat Island Chain, which was constructed in 2014.

In fall 2015 DU planted eight acres of wild rice, and is studying how well the rice develops. Wild rice was once abundant in the bay, but today little of the vegetation, which is attractive to waterfowl, exists. Establishing rice plants is tricky, because it's targeted by carp and geese in its early growing phase. DU will know in fall 2016 if the plot is successful.

The bay historically was a verdant living water body, dominated by miles of submergent and emergent aquatic vegetation supporting vast flocks of migratory waterfowl and abundant aquatic life. Today, the extensive stands of aquatic and emergent macrophytes are gone, resulting in a significant loss of quality to what was historically among the most productive and important wildlife habitats within the Great Lakes.

DU's Cat Island efforts are funded from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service-Coastal Program and the Fund for Lake Michigan. The programs also will fund projects at Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve in Brown County and Dunes Lake in Door County.

February 2016