Scientific advances and adaptation strategies for Wisconsin lakes facing climate change

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Climate change threatens inland lakes, which are highly valued for their ecological and economic benefits. Here, we synthesize adaptation strategies that could offset climate impacts on Midwestern lakes. Our synthesis is based on results from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts lake adaptation workshop, in which 48 researchers and managers with expertise on Wisconsin’s inland lakes gathered to provide input on climate adaptation strategies. We identified recent scientific advances, knowledge gaps, and examples of successful climate adaptation strategies with respect to four key themes: lake levels, water quality, aquatic invasive species, and fisheries. While adaptation strategies for each theme differed, there was consensus around the need for a multifaceted approach that incorporates communication and outreach, policy and regulation changes, traditional resource conservation approaches, and novel engineering designs. Managers should focus on protecting high-quality lakes, building lake resilience, and retaining beneficial ecosystem services. Most importantly, thoughtful and strategic interactions with stakeholders, policymakers, and researchers across multiple disciplines will be key to implementing climate adaptation strategies.

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© 2019 North American Lake Management Society. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Lake and Reservoir Management