Developing Adaptation Strategies for Recreational and Tribal Fisheries in the Upper Midwest

Science Center Objects

Fisheries in the glacial lakes region of the upper Midwest are culturally, economically, and recreationally beneficial. Walleye, for instance, represent an important subsistence food source for some Wisconsin tribal nations and are also popular among recreational anglers. However, predicted ecological changes to these aquatic communities, such as an increase in invasive fish species, a decrease...

Fisheries in the glacial lakes region of the upper Midwest are culturally, economically, and recreationally beneficial. Walleye, for instance, represent an important subsistence food source for some Wisconsin tribal nations and are also popular among recreational anglers. However, predicted ecological changes to these aquatic communities, such as an increase in invasive fish species, a decrease in walleye and other native fishes, and worsening water quality due to increases in temperature and shifts in precipitation, has prompted concern among regional anglers who may abandon certain fisheries as these changes occur. Understanding how changes in climate may affect glacial lakes region fishes, and how fishery managers can develop strategies for adapting to these changes, is important to both recreational and tribal anglers.

 

The goal of this project is to identify how Wisconsin’s walleye populations might change in the future, and then use that information to estimate the cost of replacing lost walleye fisheries for recreational angling and tribal fishing. To do this, researchers will update current models that predict walleye recruitment, then engage state agency and tribal biologists to develop a range of potential adaptation scenarios. These scenarios will weigh the costs associated with retaining fisheries in the region and the costs or benefits to recreational and tribal anglers. Scenario planning workshops designed to help determine where and how to implement climate adaptation strategies will further engage regional stakeholders, such as the U.S. Forest Service, Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Indian Commission, and Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership. This project will result in a framework for resilient fisheries resources that integrates climate adaptation into management and identifies paths forward for managing walleye and other fishes in the upper Midwest under a changing climate.