Wild rice seeding underway in the waters of Green Bay

US Fish & Wildlife Service crew seeding wild rice on the waters of Green Bay, November 7, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

HOWARD (WLUK) -- A restoration project on the Waters of Green Bay is giving wild rice a chance to grow.

On a breezy Wednesday afternoon, six conservation boats make their way toward a place in Lower Green Bay called Peters Marsh.

On board are bags of wild rice.

"This is the right time of the year to seed wild rice We try to get it out there this time of year in hopes it will germinate and be ready for next spring," said Betsy Galbraith, U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Wildlife Biologist.

Galbraith says crews will spread one ton of wild rice over 19 acres. She says the technique is simple, but you need to be careful.

"It's important to wear gloves. The seeds can be pretty sharp. And we just launch it over the side of the boat," said Galbraith.

Galbraith says decades ago wild rice used to flourish in the area. The planting project is designed to re-establish the crop.

"It's great for nesting, for cover for fish. It's a good food source for waterfowl that migrate through," she said.

Federal, state, and local groups formed a partnership to plant the rice. UW-Green Bay graduate students are providing research as well.

"Looking at the various biological factors that we have been measuring all summer, and comparing them between our seeded sites and see which sites are doing better," said Jade Arneson, UW-Green Bay Graduate Student.

The planting project is in its third year. Experts say the rice is growing in places.

"We have had some of most challenging conditions down south. And as we move further up north on Green Bay's west shore, we get into better habitat and we're seeing success out there," said Brian Glenzinski, Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist.

Five-days of planting are scheduled to wrap up on Friday.

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