Comment Period Open for Changes to Wild Rice Standards


MPCA News Release

After extensive research, data analysis and discussions, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is proposing changes to the water quality standard designed to protect wild rice from adverse impacts due to sulfate pollution.


The existing standard limits sulfate to 10 milligrams per liter in water used for the production of wild rice.

The proposed amendments:

— Establish an equation to determine the protective level of sulfate in each wild rice water based on sediment characteristics
— Limit sulfide in the sediment of a wild rice water to 120 micrograms per liter
— Identify approximately 1,300 lakes, rivers and streams as “wild rice waters”
— Clarify how the standard applies
— Establish a process for the future identification of wild rice waters
— Describe the sampling and analytical methods to characterize sediment and determine pore water sulfide

Information about the proposed amendments, including the MPCA’s Statement of Need and Reasonableness and the Notice of Hearing, is provided in the Rulemaking tab at

Public comment

Make written comments and submit new information at any time until at least 4:30 on November 9, 2017. (note: At the hearings, the judge may extend the comment period beyond November 9, 2017. Information about an extended deadline will be posted on this page.) Written comments must be sent to the Office of Administrative Hearings using one of these methods:

Online. Submit comments electronically (you will need to sign in):
Mail to Office of Administrative Hearings, P.O. Box 64620, Saint Paul, MN 55164-0620 (Docket 80-90030-34519)
Deliver them in person to Office of Administrative Hearings (600 N Robert Street, Saint Paul)
Present oral comments at scheduled hearings between October 23 and November 2, 2017.

Rebuttal period. You may make written comments for an additional, and still-to-be-scheduled, 5-day “rebuttal period" after the close of the comment period. At this phase, you may only comment on the comments and information already provided; no new information may be submitted.

Public hearings

There are scheduled hearings at locations around the state, as well as a videoconference.

St. Paul: October 23, 2017 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Harold E. Stassen Building (Skjestadt Room): 600 North Robert St., St. Paul, MN 55101

Virginia: October 24, 2017 (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Mesabi Range Community College (Theater F100): 1001 Chestnut St., Virginia, MN 55792

Bemidji: October 25, 2017 (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Bemidji State University (Beaux Arts Ballroom): 1500 Birchmont Dr. NE, Bemidji, MN 56601

Brainerd: October 30, 2017 (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Central Lakes Community College (Cafeteria): 501 West College Dr., Brainerd, MN 56401

Videoconference: November 2, 2017 (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Attendees will be able to present oral testimony to the judge and hear testimony from the other locations through video links. Capacity at these videoconference sites is limited and the MPCA encourages attendance at hearings scheduled at the larger facilities if possible. Access to MPCA offices is controlled; you will be asked to register at the security desk and provide photo identification (such as a driver’s license).

Detroit Lakes: 714 Lake Ave., Suite 220 (56501)
Duluth: 525 Lake Ave. South, Suite 400 (55802)
Mankato: 12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 2165 (56258)
Marshall: 504 Fairgrounds Rd., Suite 200 (56258)
Rochester: 18 Wood Lake Drive SE (55904)
St. Paul: 520 Lafayette Road (55155)