This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

Lake Superior Manoomin and Ecosystem Characterization Study


  • Lake Superior Basin Anishinaabe communities, and federal and state agencies wanted to characterize the cultural and ecological importance of Manoomin (or wild rice)
  • Abt used a Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) based method to characterize ecological and cultural impacts to Manoomin habitats
  • Our final report and case study materials describes a tool that can be used to quantify the magnitude of cultural and ecological impacts
The Challenge

A variety of environmental factors threaten manoomin (wild rice) in the Lake Superior Basin. Given that, as part of the Lake Superior Wild Rice Initiative,  Lake Superior Basin Anishinaabe communities, NOAA, and state agencies sought to document and characterize:

  1. The perspectives, cultural identity, and cultural and spiritual practices of the Anishinaabe people with respect to manoomin; and
  2. The critical ecological importance and functions of manoomin waters as indicators of a high-quality, high-functioning, and biodiverse ecosystem in the Lake Superior basin.​
The Approach

Abt developed a novel, non-monetary approach to characterize the value of manoomin habitats. We developed a Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) tool that, combined with cultural and ecological metrics, can be used to determine the amount of restoration acres needed to counterbalance degraded manoomin habitats.

The Results

Abt demonstrated the applicability of this tool through several case studies.