Muskegon Lake & Estuary Emergent Vegetation Restoration Demonstration Project (Wild Rice Project)

Location: Muskegon County

Project Status:

Purpose: Re-establishment of native wild rice stands, soft stem bulrush and other aquatic vegetation for fish and wildlife habitat in the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern (AOC) and the lower river (estuary) located at the river mouth and within the Muskegon State Game Area. This demonstration project will also seek to identify and determine the most successful methods of planting this vegetation.

MRWA Role: Lead

Funder: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Duration of grant: Summer of 2002 through Summer of 2005

The Emergent Vegetation Restoration Project Committee Participants have included:

  • Gale Nobes, Chair
  • Kathy Evans, Muskegon Conservation Dist.
  • Greg Mund, USDA-NRCS
  • Glenn Lamberg, USDA-NRCS
  • Nichol Stout, GVSU-AWRI
  • Nik Kalejs, MDNR
  • Roger Morgenstern, Consumers Energy
  • Scott Herron, FSU
  • Wayne Groesbeck, MI Anglers & MRWA
  • Gary Noble, MRWA Executive Director
  • Sharon Detz, Director-Native American Ministry
  • Liz Binonieno, Intern rep. the Little River Band Native Americans
  • Jack Leonhardt, West MI Walleye Club


Even though the final report has been submitted, this project has not been completed yet. A project evaluation will take place annually to determine success and adjustments needed in methods, seed rates, etc. The project will be promoted by the MRWA and Muskegon Lake PAC to encourage similar projects throughout the Muskegon River and Lake Michigan Watersheds.


The MRWA Executive Board approved $1,000 annually for the next three years to continue the planting of wild rice seed in Muskegon Lake. Gale Nobes and Greg Mund planted over 120 pounds of seed at Grand Trunk in October.


In October 2007, volunteers planted 175 pounds of wild rice seed in Muskegon Lake.

Planting of wild rice seed has been suspended because of the wildlife in the lake consuming the rice before it has a chance to mature. Future research needs to be accomplished about methods to protect the rice until it is sustainable.