<Ojibwe Lifeway: Fishing (“niibin”- summer)

INVESTIGATE THE SCIENCE

A warming climate means changes in fisheries in Wisconsin and the Ceded territories are lands transferred from tribes to the federal covernment by treaty. Ceded Territory of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, especially in sport fish like brook trout, walleye, northern pike, and musky. These fish species need either cold or coolwater habitats to survive.

Does a warmer climate mean more warm water species of game fish to replace cold and coolwater species in lakes and streams? Not necessarily, due to other habitat limitations on warmwater fish. Instead, fisheries biologists believe that as cold and coolwater species such as brook trout and walleye disappear from streams and inland lakes, they will be replaced by warmwater non-game fish such as minnows. The bottom line of climate change is a net loss of game fish.

Use the Climate Change Toolkit to investigate the science! Use the Investigate the Science Activity Guide to focus your explorations.

CLIMATE CHANGE TOOLKIT

Browse this toolkit to find maps showing historic and projected climate trends for key environment variables affecting the sustainability of cool and coldwater fish species. Choose the geographical area you are interested in investigating and explore the climate change maps and tools.
Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Climate Change Historic Trends and Future Projections

Wisconsin’s Climate Change Historic Trends and Future Projections
This slideshow tool lets you to investigate actual changes in climate variables that have already occurred between 1950-2006, and explore how these variables are expected to change based on climate models from 1980-2055.

Start by establishing a “baseline” for your investigations by researching actual changes in climate that have been documented by reviewing each of the “historic trends”.

Next compare at the “future projections” for each of the environmental variables. “Projected climate changes” on these maps are based on the A description of a possible future state of the world under different levels of carbon emissions. The A2 Scenario is a future characterized by carbon emissions higher than today’s rate. The A1B is a scenario where carbon emissions continues at about the same rate as today. The B2 scenario is a future where carbon emissions are lower than today’s rates. A1B climate change scenario where in the future our society will continue to use fossil fuels at about the same rate as we do today.

How has Wisconsin’s climate changed in the past?

CLUE: From 1950 to 2006, the average annual temperature in Wisconsin warmed about 1.1 degrees F. The northwestern part of Wisconsin warmed a bit more than the rest of the state. Winter temperatures have risen most significantly. Statewide, winter temperatures have increased 2.5°F. In northwestern Wisconsin the increase has been even greater at 3.5-4.5°F. Summer and autumn temperatures in Wisconsin have changed the least.

Precipitation patterns have also changed. Wisconsin as a whole has become wetter. From 1950 to 2006, Wisconsin’s annual precipitation increased by 3.1 inches. Most of the increase has been concentrated in southern and western Wisconsin. By the end of this 57-year period, the increase in this part of Wisconsin has ranged from + 3 to +7 inches per year. Northern Wisconsin has become drier, annually averaging 1-2 inches less precipitation over that period.

Wisconsin Climate Change Time Traveler - What’s the future for Wisconsin’s climate?

Wisconsin Climate Change Time Traveler - What’s the future for Wisconsin’s climate?
The Wisconsin Climate Time Traveler Mapping Tool lets you manipulate climate change variables, time periods, and a variety of climate “scenarios” to investigate climate impacts under these climate futures:
  • A2 Scenario- This model is characterized by a future with intensive fossil fuel use and high carbon emissions, higher than today’s rate.
  • A1B Scenario- This model uses a middle level rate of fossil fuel use where future carbon emissions remain similar to what we are experiencing today.
  • B1 Scenario- This model is characterized by a future with lower fossil fuel use and lower carbon emissions than today’s rates.
Using this tool, you can explore how climate trends may affect specific climate variables such as temperature, precipitation, temperatures extremes, and days over 90-degrees under each climate scenario.

Scientists have developed over 40 climate change scenarios of what the climate might be like in the future based on possible future levels of greenhouse gas pollution, fossil fuel use, and other driving forces.

What do future projections of climate change suggest for Wisconsin’s environment, economies, and people?

CLUE: Analyze potential climate change impacts under each of these scenarios on the key environmental variables and habitat conditions that are critical to the sustainability of plants, animals that support cultural and economic practices important to our communities.
Ceded Territory of the lake superior ojibwe

INVESTIGATE CEDED TERRITORY CLIMATE CHANGE

The maps in this section were created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Open this section of the Climate Change Toolkit to discover how climate may be changing within the Ceded territories are lands transferred from tribes to the federal covernment by treaty.Ceded Territory of the Lake Superior Ojibwe and Upper Great Lakes.

Investigate maps that show historic climate trends that have been already been documented. Discover how climate variables like temperature and precipitation are projected to change. All climate projection maps are based on the A1B scenario which projects a climate future where the rate of fossil fuel use and carbon emissions remain similar to what we are experiencing today.

By Treaty with the US government, the Ojibwe people retain rights to hunt, fish, and gather in the Ceded Territory. Sustainability of plant and animals are important to maintaining Treaty Rights and Ojibwe cultural practices.

How could climate change affect the sustainability of species that are essential to supporting Treaty Rights and Ojibwe cultural practices? How could these changes in climate affect the cultural practices you enjoy, or people and economies?

TIP: Tip on using NASA Climate Maps
Each NASA climate map uses a different range of variables and colors to show the range of change. Read each map legend carefully to understand the range of variables that each color represents.

NASA historic climate maps and climate project maps cover slightly different time periods than other maps in the toolkit. NASA maps are based on the A2 climate scenario which projects a moderate rate of C02 increase.

HISTORIC CHANGE IN ANNUAL MEAN DAILY TEMPERATURE

PROJECTED CHANGES IN MEAN ANNUAL TEMPERTURE AVERAGE (TAVG)

Average annual mean temperatures across the Ceded Territory are expected to increase between 3-4° F by 2045. Warming is expected throughout the region, but the greatest increase in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Look at the seasonal maps. Across the region, the warming is expected across all seasons, but is projected to be most significant during summer, fall and winter seasons.

Warmer winters mean more precipitation falling as rain or ice rather than snow, and less ice cover on lakes.

How would warming temperatures affect the sustainability of species and cultural activities that depend on cool temperate summers and cold snowy winters?

HISTORIC CHANGE IN ANNUAL PRECIPITATION (1980-2010)

HISTORIC CHANGE IN ANNUAL PRECIPITATION

Recorded trends in precipitation (falling as rain and snow) varied greatly across the Ceded Territory. The northern and western parts of the region tended to be drier, with some counties experiencing a decrease of as much as 6.5-inches in annual precipitation during this period.

Other counties in the south and east received as much as 8- inches more annual precipitation over the same time. Increased precipitation can saturate soils leading to flooding.

Drought is closely tied to precipitation and temperature. Compare this map with the Historic Annual Temperature seasonal maps. Which areas experienced higher temperatures and lower precipitation leading to drought conditions?

CEDED TERRITORY CLIMATE CHANGE TIME TRAVELER

What’s the Ceded Territory’s Climate Future?
Climate Change Projections (1995-2045)

PROJECTED CHANGES IN MEAN ANNUAL TEMPERTURE AVERAGE (TAVG)

Average annual mean temperatures across the Ceded Territory are expected to increase between 3-4° F by 2045. Warming is expected throughout the region, but the greatest increase in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Look at the seasonal maps. Across the region, the warming is expected across all seasons, but is projected to be most significant during summer, fall and winter seasons.

Warmer winters mean more precipitation falling as rain or ice rather than snow, and less ice cover on lakes.

How would warming temperatures affect the sustainability of species and cultural activities that depend on cool temperate summers and cold snowy winters?
PROJECTED CHANGE IN FREQUENCY OF VERY HOT DAYS

By 2045, the frequency of very hot days above 90° F is expected to increase across the region. The greatest change is projected in northwest Wisconsin and northern Minnesota where the frequency of very hot days may increase by 13 days.

Temperature is closely tied to drought. High temperatures causes stress on plants, animals, and people.
PROJECTED CHANGE IN FREQUENCY OF VERY COLD DAYS

Winter is expected to be warmer by mid-century with the frequency of very cold days (below 0° F) decreasing throughout the Ceded Territory. The greatest decrease is projected to occur in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota where the frequency of very cold days is expected to decrease by 9 to 11 days.

Cold days are needed for many cultural activities including maple syrup production, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing. The change in the frequency of cold days is projected to be less of an impact in the eastern section of the Ceded Territory.
United States
How could these changes in climate impact the sustainability of cool and coldwater fish species?

Climate Variables Affecting the Sustainability of Cold and Coolwater Fish
(these trends are based on the A1B Scenario)

Temperature

Temperature
Wisconsin is projected to warm by 4-9°F by the middle of this century. Northern Wisconsin is projected to warm the most. What is the potential impact of these changes on cold and coolwater fish species?

CLUE: Increases in temperature mean more than just warmer weather. As air temperature rises, so does the water temperature of water in rivers, lakes, and streams. Cold and coolwater fish species are sensitive to water temperatures. Climate models showing a 5 º F increase in summer temperature would mean that up to 95% of suitable coldwater brook trout habitat would be lost.

Rising temperatures also signals an increase in the potential for fish diseases. Warmer water temperatures provide conditions favorable for toxic algae blooms.

Reduced Snow and Ice Cover

Reduced Snow and Ice Cover
Winter precipitation is expected to increase by 25% by 2050, with more falling as freezing rain due to increased winter temperatures. What is the potential impact of these changes on cold and coolwater fish species?

CLUE: Longer periods of warmer winter weather, either due to early spring warm-up or warmer late falls, would mean less ice cover. Less ice cover mean more water loss from The process where water becomes vapor and enters the atmosphere evaporation from lakes, even in the winter time when temperatures are cold. Water levels of lakes, especially shallow lakes could be affected. Less ice cover could reduce winter fish kills because plants and algae could receive enough sunlight to live and produce oxygen, rather than dying and removing oxygen as they decay. That would be a good thing because it could help fish survive.

In deeper lakes , In winter and summer water stratifies like a layer cake with the coldest water on the bottom with warmer water layers on top. The most oxygen rich water is in the top layers. These layers mix every spring and fall when water temperatures equalize. This is called “turnover” and it is critical to mixing oxygen throughout the lake. Longer periods of warm weather would mean a longer time that water layers are separated leading to oxygen depletion in deeper parts of the lake. Cold and coolwater fish living in the lower zones would not be able to find the oxygen they need to survive.

Ice cover can also affect fish spawning. Walleye research has found that there was a significant positive relationship between the start of walleye spawning and when the ice leaves a lake. For every day the ice left a lake earlier, walleye spawned from 0.5 to 1 day earlier, too. Research suggests that if the ice goes out too soon causing unusually early spawning, food sources needed by the larval baby walleye may not be available

Changing Lake Levels

Changing Lake Levels
The warming is projected to be largest in winter, with projected increases of 5-11°F by the mid-21st century across Wisconsin, with the greatest warming across northwest Wisconsin. What is the potential impact of these changes on cold and coolwater fish species?

CLUE: Lake levels can go up and down depending on precipitation and The process where water becomes vapor and enters the atmosphere evaporation . Higher air temperatures less ice cover can cause more The process where water becomes vapor and enters the atmosphere evaporation of water from lakes. This can lower lake levels. Over the past several years, water levels in Lake Superior, and inland lakes in northern Wisconsin have been dropping. Low lake levels can seriously impact fish spawning areas and spawning success rates.

Flooding

Flooding
Usually heavy rainfall events of 2 or more inches of rain are recorded about 12 times per decade in Wisconsin. By the mid-21st century, Wisconsin may receive 2-3 times more of these extreme rainfall events per decade, or roughly a 25% increase in their frequency. What is the potential impact of these changes on cold and coolwater fish species?

CLUE: Intense storm events and flooding can impact fish by washing away spawning areas or covering them with silt and sediment. In some cases, flooding can create temporary fish habitat as higher water levels create new habitat.

Drought

Drought
By the 2050, the frequency of very hot 90-degree days in northern Wisconsin is expected to increase from 5 days per year currently experienced to 12 days per year. The warming is projected to be largest in winter, with projected increases of 5-11°F by the mid-21st century across Wisconsin, with the greatest warming across northwest Wisconsin. What is the potential impact of these changes on cold and coolwater fish species?

CLUE: Drought is closely linked to temperature and rainfall amounts. While northern Wisconsin is expected to have more heavy rainfall events, little change in the total amount of summer rain is predicted, but temperatures will be much warmer. Drought conditions can have extreme impacts on cold and coolwater fish species by warming water, decreasing the amount of water entering lakes and streams, and lowering water levels from key habitat and spawning areas.

Activity Guide

Is Wisconsin’s Climate Changing?

Establish a “baseline” for your climate investigations. Open the Historic Trends and Future Projections Climate Change Maps in the Toolkit. Analyze the general climate change trends scientists have documented for Wisconsin from 1950 to 2006. These are called “observed” changes because they are based on actual records or observations.

List four historic trends in Wisconsin’s climate from 1950-2006:

1.

2.

3.

4.

What’s Fishy About Climate Change?

Once again use Historic Trends and Future Projections Climate Change Maps and other research in the Toolkit to compare and contrast “observed” or historic climate change that has actually happened against “projected” climate change trends. Focus on key environmental characteristics needed by cold and coolwater fish species to survive. “Projected climate changes” on these maps are based on a scenario where in the future our society will continue to use fossil fuels at about the same rate as we do today. Scientists call this the “A1B” climate change scenario.

What is the difference between the historic or “observed” climate trend and “projected” climate change for each of the environmental variables below? How could these changes affect Wisconsin’s cool and coldwater fish species? Use the table below to guide your investigation. If you cannot find a historic trend for a variable, leave that space blank.

What would be the impact of a warming climate on invasive species that compete with these native fish species and what effect would this have on cold and coolwater fish species?

What impact could climate change have on the potential for fish diseases that could threaten cold and coolwater fish?

Be a Climate Change Time Traveler

Manipulate the Interactive Climate Change Mapping Tool to compare and contrast what might happen to Wisconsin’s climate under three different climate futures based on the A2, the A1B, and the B2 Scenarios, over two different time periods from mid-century (1980-2055) and late century (1980-2090). These are called “projected changes” because they are based on climate models. The Mapping Tool also includes “observed” climate changes based on climate trends that have been documented between 1950-2006 to provide baseline information on climate changes that have already occurred.

Analyze potential climate change impacts under each of these scenarios on the environmental variable that are critical to the sustainability of cold and coolwater fish species. How are these variables projected to change under each scenario and each time period? How do these changes compare to “observed historic trends” in climate change that occurred from 1950-2006?

  • Which climate scenario would have the greatest impact and which would have the least impact on the sustainability of cold and coolwater fish species and why?
  • What climate change scenario offers the best outcome for sustaining these fish species and why?
  • What do these models suggest for the sustainability of Wisconsin’s cold and coolwater fish species?
  • Some species will “win” and other will “lose” as the climate warms. Identify at least three fish species that would benefit from a warming climate and three species that could be harmed; and be able to explain how climate change could affect each species.

Develop your own hypothesis

Now that you’ve investigated place-based evidence of climate change impacts and scientific research on climate trends affecting cold and coolwater fish--what do you think? Do culture and science agree that climate change is affecting these fish species now? How will climate change affect fish like the brook trout, walleye, northern pike, and musky in the future?

Write down your hypothesis… If climate change is occurring, then how might it affect cold to coolwater fish? Write your hypothesis here:

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Test IT!

Develop an experiment or investigation of your own to test your hypothesis. Consider what other factors or variables could be causing the results you are observing.

Here are some ideas of investigations you can conduct to test your hypothesis:

Does your research support your hypothesis?

Will current or future climate change impact the sustainability of cold and coolwater fish species?

List three pieces of evidence you’ve gathered that supports (or does not support) your hypothesis:

1.

2.

3.

If your research did not support your hypothesis, create a new hypothesis based on your observations and re-test it.

What is Your Conclusion?

What does this climate change evidence suggest for the sustainability of cold and coolwater fish species like brook trout, walleye, northern pike, and musky?

How could these changes affect the Ojibwe cultural practice of fishing and their treaty rights to harvest fish?

How could these same climate change trends affect your lifestyle and cultural practices you enjoy such as fishing, or other recreational activities, hobbies, foods, or customs?