Team Stream – Manoomin

About the Team Gene-Hua Crystal Ng, Cara Santelli, June Sayers, Michael Dockry, Hannah Jo King, Maddy Nyblade, Emily Green, Kellen Cooks, Christopher Villaruel, and Abi Bartlett

Manoomin — known as the “good fruit” or “spirit delicacy” in Ojibwe and “wild rice” in English. It has decreased by nearly ⅓ in WI and MN

Overarching Project

Kawe Gidaa-naanaagadawendaamin Manoomin (First We Must Consider Manoomin) is a coalition project between Upper Midwestern tribes, intertribal agencies, and University of Minnesota researchers to come together to better understand and highlight the cultural significance and environmental stressors of Manoomin, and to organize to protect Manoomin for the future with tribal views centered throughout the process.

About Our REU Project

Geochemistry of Team Stream – Manoomin

Taking samples from sediment in lake bottom (In photo: Kellen Cooks)

Environmental Stressors

  1. Sulfate (as Sulfide, HS) contamination from mining (EPA limit is 10 ppm due to preserve wild rice)
  2. Water level alterations from dams and wetland drainage (Manoomin needs 1-3 feet of slow moving water)
  3. Landscape changes due to agriculture and urban development
  4. Invasive/competitive plants


  • Preparing vials for samples from sediment cores.
  • Taking sediment cores from the bottom of lakes with Manoomin
  • Analyzing samples in lab with titrations

Physical Hydrology of Team Stream – Manoomin

Social Dimensions of Team Stream – Manoomin

Visual of NVivo, the software utilized to analyze and “code” interview transcripts

Weaving Knowledges Study Evaluation: 24 interview participants involved with Kawe Gidaa-naanaagadawendaamin Manoomin were asked about how the project has built relationships and weaved together ways of knowing. I have utilized NVivo to find common themes between the 24 interviews and sort them into challenges the project faced, successes the project has had, and recommendations the project can build on for the future.


Matson et al. 2021

Videos on our Manoomin project

MIAC resolution

Land-Grab University article from High Country News


Taking sediment cores

(Right) photo credits: June Sayers In photo: Abi Bartlett

Using rhizons to take water samples!

(Below) photo credits: Chris Villaruel

Physical hydrological monitoring of Team-Stream Manoomin

Installing a Piezometer and Stream Gauge Well


In order to collect hydrological monitoring data at Big Round Lake he  prepared we installed a surface water gauge (SG), and groundwater well (piezometer) well for use. PVC pipe housing was constructed for both well housing. The SG and PVC housing required a well screen setup that has 6 ft’ of slit screened piping to allow water to enter the housing. The screen length of the SG will be 6’ in coverage, for ample flow. Once assembled, a standard metal fence post also used to support and hold the SG and piezometers together from the lake bed to the surface water of the lake. The final step of the assembly is to drill a hole through both sides of the PVC near the open top half of the well. A “bolt” and “nut”  were pressed through the holes to carry the sensors down into housing to measure pressure head of water on both the surface and ground water head.

Our field visit to Big Rice Lake

Big Rice Lake is located in The Superior National Forest and is apart of the 1854 Treaty Authority.