The Bad River and Kakagon sloughs compose the largest undeveloped wetland system on the Great Lakes. Because of its size, uniqueness and varied plant life, the Kakagon Sloughs is a designated National Natural Landmark. The 16,000 acre Bad River-Kagagon complex is diversely populated with over 28 plant communities and is home to over 70 rare plant and animal species. Groups like The Nature Conservancy and the Bad River Watershed Alliance have been working tirelessly to maintain the quality of the watershed in partnership with the Bad River Bad of Lake Superior Chippewa. The Wisconsin Wetlands Association named the Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs one of Wisconsin’s 100 Wetland Gems, noting the “extensive size and high quality of these Great Lakes coastal wetlands.”
But to the native people at Bad River, the sloughs are much more. Because of the abundant wild rice (manoomin) the sloughs are a cultural and spiritual treasure like no other. In fact, the meandering channels and bayou-like landscape has been so coveted over the years, the Ojibwe have maintained a protective--almost secretive--relationship with the sloughs. But now, faced with perhaps the greatest threat the sloughs have ever faced, few people outside Bad River truly recognize what is at stake.
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