Florence Bascom Geoscience Center Seminar Series - October 3, 2019

Release Date:

Please join us for a guest presentation by Dr. Amy Myrbo on Thursday, October 3rd. She will be discussing the dangers of sulfate to wild rice and freshwater ecosystems. 

 

Beyond Wild Rice: The Dangers of Sulfate to Freshwater Ecosystems

Dr. Amy Myrbo
St Croix Watershed Research Station / Amy Myrbo LLC

"Wild rice (Zizania palustris; manoomin in Ojibwe; psin in Dakota) is a culturally important plant to Native Americans in the Great Lakes region. It is also excellent habitat for waterfowl, and is the Minnesota state grain. Empirical work in the 1940s noted the plant present only in lakes with low dissolved sulfate (SO4), which led to a Minnesota rule protecting a single species from a naturally occurring chemical - the only protection of its kind in all of the US and Canada. However, sulfate is typically considered benign by managers of discharge and natural aquatic systems, and the mechanism by which it could harm a plant was not understood. When Minnesota's rule was challenged by mining companies hoping to open up the largest untapped copper-nickel mine in the world, a large study encompassing hydroponics, experimental growth chambers, and over 100 field sites demonstrated conclusively how sulfate harms wild rice. It also led to the identification of numerous other harmful consequences of sulfate discharge to all fresh waters - not just those that have wild rice - and to new cautions about this "benign" chemical."

 

Date: 12:00 PM ET, Thursday, October 3, 2019

Where: USGS National Center, Reston VA, Room 3C129

GS Talk: https://gstalk.usgs.gov/755736

Phone: 703-648-4848 Code:755736