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Fish Habitat Restoration to Promote Adaptation: Resilience of Sport Fish in Lakes of the Upper Midwest


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Many Midwestern lakes are experiencing warming water temperatures as a result of climate change. In general, this change is causing coldwater fish species such as cisco and coolwater species such as walleye to decline. Meanwhile, warmer water species such as largemouth and smallmouth bass are increasing as temperatures warm. However, some fish populations are more vulnerable to these changes than others. This divergence could be the result of interactions between climate and habitat conditions, or as a result of interactions among fish species. For example, walleye responses to warming temperatures could vary depending on the abundance of largemouth bass. The goal of this project is to quantify the responses of fish to climate change [...]

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“Lake Huron - Credit: Andrea Miehls, USGS”
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Fish communities in Midwestern lakes are changing as a result of climate change. Some populations are highly vulnerable to climate change, while others are more resilient. This project will quantify fish responses to climate change in Midwestern lakes and identify local factors that can affect those responses. It will focus on multiple fish species (walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and yellow perch for the Midwest Glacial Lake Partnership region (containing ~36,000 lakes). It will also develop water temperature profiles for lakes in the eight-state footprint under current and future climates. The results will be relevant for prioritizing management decisions at lake, watershed, county, state, and regional scales, and will be immediately useful to fish habitat partnerships such as the Midwest Glacial Lake Partnership supported by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This project builds on previous Northeast CASC-funded research to develop a framework for modeling lake temperatures in the Midwest and a subsequent project that increased the accuracy of modeling results for high priority lakes.

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Lake Huron - Credit: Andrea Miehls, USGS
Lake Huron - Credit: Andrea Miehls, USGS


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  • Midwest CASC
  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers




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