Freshwater Weekly: February 26, 2021

Posted on February 26, 2021 by

February 26, 2021

This week: Whitefish Populations Impacted by Climate Change + Will There be a Great Migration to the Great Lakes Region? + Rivers Impacted by Climate Change + Biden Administration Announces A Bold Pledge + Judge Rules Climate Change Can’t Be Considered in Cross-Lakes Oil Pipelines

Whitefish Populations Impacted by Climate Change

Whitefish are an important fish to Anishinaabe culture. Fisheries management staff at the Sault Saint Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Fisheries Management  are concerned about declining populations in Lake Superior. Climate disruptions such as fluctuating Great Lakes water levels and warmer water temperatures are impacting whitefish spawning and survival. The Sault tribe and Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa and Chippewa Indians are experimenting with whitefish rearing to help the fishery.

Will There be a Great Migration to the Great Lakes Region?

As climate change impacts wreak havoc on the country with dangerous wildfires, hurricanes, and a rising sea level, people are searching out safer locales to live.  The plentiful water and manageable weather conditions in the Great Lakes region may draw more people to migrate here.  Extreme rain events, flooding, water temperature variations, and wind storms are among the hazards the Great Lakes region faces from climate change.

Rivers Impacted by Climate Change

Due to climate change, more intense rain events are occurring more frequently in Michigan. Flooding events from these intense storms  can cause abrupt temperature changes, increase pollution, and even wash fish out of the system. Citizen scientists are monitoring streams and identifying strategies for climate resilience that can help reduce negative impacts of larger storms.   

Biden Administration Announces A Bold Climate Change Pledge 

The Biden administration has pledged forty percent of the climate change investment to communities of color and low-income communities that consistently bear systemic disparities of pollution. Though we applaud the gesture, the deed will be challenging. These communities are plagued with outrageous pollution that has long-term public health consequences for families. We’d like to see fair and equitable partnerships with local environmental justice organizations to fill the trust gap that continues to widen. “I think approaching all of these environmental disparity issues is a great opportunity for us to create a paradigm shift in terms of how we’ve looked at our relationship not only with government but also our relationship with the environment,” Monica Lewis-Patrick, President and CEO of We the People of Detroit said.

Judge Rules Climate Change Can’t Be Considered in Cross-Lakes Oil Pipelines

Climate change impacts will not be considered in decisions about rebuilding or stopping oil pipelines that cross Lakes Michigan and Huron at the Straits of Mackinac according to Administrative Law Judge Dennis Mack. At a time when we need to take clear action on climate change to prevent the impacts from continuing to increase, this is a decision that is short-sighted. Luckily, groups are already vowing to appeal the decision.


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.