Evaluating and Communicating Risks and Benefits to Fond du Lac Band members of Consuming Wild Rice and Waterfowl

Project Staff: 

Principal Investigators: Mary Renwick, Senior Fellow and Project Director, Water Resources Center; Nancy Costa, Aquatic Biologist, Fond du Lac Environmental Program; Patricia McCann, Minnesota Department of Health

Funding: 

Minnesota Sea Grant College Program

Project Duration: 

February 2001 - January 2003

Summary: 

Members of the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, located in the Lake Superior Basin of Minnesota, have expressed concern about potential health risks associated with consuming aquatic-based traditional foods. This project focuses on assessing both the risks and benefits to Band members associated with consuming wild rice, waterfowl, and moose from Reservation lakes. The contaminants of concern in this study were mercury and lead. This is a joint research and outreach partnership between the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Minnesota Department of Health. The project is still underway; however, preliminary results suggest that the potential health risks to Band members from consuming these foods are minimal and the benefits of consuming them are substantial.