Climate adaptations for inland lakes Climate change threatens inland lakes, which are highly valued for their ecological and economic benefits. In this work, we synthesize adaptation strategies that could offset climate impacts on Midwestern lakes. Our synthesis is based on results from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts lake adaptation workshop, in which 48 researchers and managers with expertise on Wisconsin’s inland lakes gathered to provide input on climate adaptation strategies. We identified recent scientific advances, knowledge gaps, and examples of successful climate adaptation strategies with respect to four key themes: lake levels, water quality, aquatic invasive species, and fisheries. While adaptation strategies for each theme differed, there was consensus around the need for a multifaceted approach that incorporates communication and outreach, policy and regulation changes, traditional resource conservation approaches, and novel engineering designs. Managers should focus on protecting high-quality lakes, building lake resilience, and retaining beneficial ecosystem services. Most importantly, thoughtful and strategic interactions with stakeholders, policymakers, and researchers across multiple disciplines will be key to implementing climate adaptation strategies.
Resistance, resilience, and response are effective adaptation approaches when tailored to the local communities' values and lake ecosystem. Each of these adaptation approaches can be achieved through adaptation actions that address communication and outreach, policy and regulation, traditional conservation actions, and innovation and engineering.
Great Lakes Coastal Adaptation Menu Natural resources practitioners working in Great Lakes coastal ecosystems face decisions about how to help coastal properties adapt to climate changes. Climate change can amplify existing stressors, interact with past coastal disturbance and management, and potentially increase the rate and magnitude of ongoing change (Shannon et al. 2019). Practitioners can strengthen their long-term plans through proactive and intentional consideration of climate changes and by selecting adaptation options that address these changes while meeting management goals and objectives. In 2019-2021 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science convened regional managers and scientists to develop a menu of climate adaptation strategies and approaches for Great Lakes coastal ecosystems. This menu can be used along with a structured decision-making framework to facilitate planning and implementation of climate-informed tactics. The menu was tested with several organizations in project-level planning in the Great Lakes watershed.
WICCI Great Lakes Working Group I am the co-chair of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) Great Lakes Working Group. The Great Lakes working group focuses on impacts of climate change to Wisconsin's Great Lakes ecosystems. We work to develop adaptation strategies, research projects, and outreach efforts to advance climate change solutions in Wisconsin. We developed the first ever assessment of climate change impacts to Wisconsin's Great Lakes ecosystems in 2021 as part the the 2nd WICC Assessment Report. You can read it here!