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The Climate Change Response Framework is an example of a collaborative, cross-boundary approach to create a set of tools, partnerships, and actions to support climate-informed conservation and land management. Historically, this effort has focused on the needs of forest managers and forestry professionals. In recent years, however, there has been increasing demand for science and tools to address climate change adaptation in wildlife management and conservation. Not only do wildlife and resource managers need the best available science, it must also be presented in a usable format with feasible options within the purview of an individual manager. The research team first completed a comprehensive review of peer-reviewed studies to summarize what wildlife-related management actions currently exist in climate change adaptation. They then developed and tested a “menu” of climate change adaptation actions that are suitable for wildlife management in terrestrial ecosystems

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The timing and size of Great Lakes fish migrations determines their role in nutrient cycling. This project studies how climate is altering the timing of migrations across the Great Lakes, and also the role of these large migrations in fertilizing streams

Project

Many inland waters across the United States are experiencing warming water temperatures. The impacts of this warming on aquatic ecosystems are significant in many areas, causing problems for fisheries management, as many economically and ecologically important fish species are experiencing range shifts and population declines. Fisheries and natural resource managers need timely and usable data and tools in order to understand and predict changes to lakes and their biota.   A previous Northeast CASC-funded project modeled lake temperatures to help state agencies in the Midwest understand trends in walleye and largemouth bass populations and predict lake-specific fish populations under future climate scenarios

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Day Lake, Wisconsin - Credit: USFS
Project

The Climate Change Response Framework is an example of a collaborative, cross-boundary approach to create a set of tools, partnerships, and actions to support climate-informed conservation and land management. Historically, this effort has focused on the needs of forest managers and forestry professionals. In recent years, however, there has been increasing demand for science and tools to address climate change adaptation in wildlife management and conservation. Not only do wildlife and resource managers need the best available science, it must also be presented in a usable format with feasible options within the purview of an individual manager. The research team first completed a comprehensive review of peer-reviewed studies to summarize what wildlife-related management actions currently exist in climate change adaptation. They then developed and tested a “menu” of climate change adaptation actions that are suitable for wildlife management in terrestrial ecosystems

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White-tailed Deer, Credit: Steve Hillebrand, FWS
Project

This project is developing an on-line platform to enable rapid sharing and cataloging of silviculture case studies documenting adaptive forest management approaches across MI, MN, Ontario, and WI.  The goal of this project is to create a clearinghouse of information for forest managers across the region to disseminate ideas on addressing emerging issues and tracking effectiveness of a given approach.  The Prescription Library will serve as the basis for regional continuing education offerings for natural resource professionals throughout Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, and Wisconsin. The project initiated in late March 2014 and now shares 27 case studies in adaptive silviculture through the Prescription Library platform. These case studies cover Minnesota, Ontario, and Wisconsin and demonstrate a range of silvicultural approaches to address current and emerging issues related to the sustainable management of forests in the Great Lakes region

Project

Water temperatures are warming in lakes and streams, resulting in the loss of many native fish. Given clear passage, coldwater stream fishes can take refuge upstream when larger streams become too warm. Likewise, many Midwestern lakes “thermally stratify” resulting in warmer waters on top of deeper, cooler waters. Many of these lakes are connected to threatened streams. To date, assessments of the effects of climate change on fish have mostly ignored lakes, and focused instead on streams. Because surface waters represent a network of habitats, an integrated assessment of stream and lake temperatures under climate change is necessary for decision-making. This work  informed the preservation of lake/stream linkages, prioritization restoration strategies, and stocking efforts for sport fish. This project employed state-of-the-science methods to model historical and future thermal habitat for nearly ten thousand lakes

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NECSC_Story_SportFish.jpg
Project

Our project focused on anticipated effects of 21st century climate change on winter severity, snowpack, and lake ice across the Great Lakes Basin and the response of wildlife populations, namely white-tailed deer and dabbling ducks. Winter conditions have changed substantially since the mid-20th century, with rising temperatures, declining lake ice cover, and increased lake-effect snowfall. Nonetheless, due coarse resolution, poor lake representation, and insufficient treatment of lake-effect processes in global climate models, basinwide climate change projections remain uncertain. Changing winter conditions may greatly alter wildlife behavior and survival rates. The primary wintertime stressors for deer are air chill and snow depth, with extreme winters triggering population declines. Snow/ice cover limit foraging by waterfowl, thereby regulating the timing/intensity of migration and their distributions during non-breeding season

Project

Stream data for the northeastern U.S. are needed to enable managers to understand baseline conditions, historic trends, and future projections of the impacts of climate change on stream temperature and flow, and in turn on aquatic species in freshwater ecosystems. This project developed a coordinated, multi-agency regional stream temperature framework and database for New England (ME, VT, NH, CT, RI, MA) and the Great Lakes States (MN, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH, PA, NY) by building a community around the efforts of this study. These efforts included 1) compiling metadata about existing or historic stream temperature monitoring locations and networks, 2) developing a web-based decision-support mapping system to display, integrate, and share the collected information, and 3) developing data system capabilities that integrate stream temperature data from several data sources

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