Water temperatures are warming in lakes and streams, resulting in the loss of many native fish. Given clear passage, coldwater stream fishes can take refuge upstream when larger streams become too warm. Likewise, many Midwestern lakes “thermally stratify” resulting in warmer waters on top of deeper, cooler waters. Many of these lakes are connected to threatened streams. To date, assessments of the effects of climate change on fish have mostly ignored lakes, and focused instead on streams. Because surface waters represent a network of habitats, an integrated assessment of stream and lake temperatures under climate change is necessary for decision-making. This work informed the preservation of lake/stream linkages, prioritization restoration strategies, and stocking efforts for sport fish. This project employed state-of-the-science methods to model historical and future thermal habitat for nearly ten thousand lakes. These data will be combined with observations of fish, stream connectivity and stream temperature data to predict suitable fish thermal habitat. The results of this project are used by partners and stakeholders to prioritize adaptation and restoration strategies for the region’s freshwater resources. Additionally, these data products have been shared openly in machine-readable formats to spur other innovation and research.
Tools and Products
Climate Change and Freshwater Fish
A website developed to understand recent trends and anticipating future changes can help decision-makers protect resilient populations, adapt to new conditions, and effectively communicate realistic expectations.
Read, Jordan. 2018. An integrated assessment of lake and stream thermal habitat under climate change. Final Report to Northeast CASC.
Hansen, G. J. A., Winslow, L. A., Read, J. S., Treml, M., Schmalz, P. J., and Carpenter, S. R.. 2019. Water clarity and temperature effects on walleye safe harvest: an empirical test of the safe operating space concept. Ecosphere 10( 5):e02737. 10.1002/ecs2.2737
Winslow LA, Read JS, Hansen GJA, Rose KC, Robertson DM. 2017. Seasonality of change: Summer warming rates do not fully represent effects of climate change on lake temperatures. Limnology and Oceanography.
- Hansen, GJA, Midway SR, Wagner T. 2017. Walleye recruitment success is less resilient to warming water temperatures in lakes with abundant largemouth bass populations. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
- Rose KC, Winslow LA, Read JS, Hansen GJ. 2016. Climate‐induced warming of lakes can be either amplified or suppressed by trends in water clarity. Limnology and Oceanography Letters, 1(1): 44-53.
- Hansen, G. J. A., Read, J. S., Hansen, J. F. and Winslow, L. A. 2016. Projected shifts in fish species dominance in Wisconsin lakes under climate change. Glob Change Biol. doi:10.1111/gcb.13462
- Read JS, JI Walker, A Appling, DL Blodgett, EK Read, LA Winslow. 2016. Geoknife: Reproducible web-processing of large gridded datasets. Ecography 39: 354-360
- Winslow LA, Chamberlain S, Appling AP, Read JS. 2016. sbtools: A package connecting R to cloud-based data for collaborative online research. The R Journal, (1), pp.387-98.
- Jordan Read presenting on this project at the UW-Madison water symposium on May 9th, 2017
- Invited presentation by PI Hansen. Variable lake and fish community responses to climate change. The National Adaptation Forum/Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference. May 9, 2017.
- Jordan Read and Gretchen Hansen, Climate change impacts on lake thermal habitat. NE CSC Webinar, March, 2017.
- Jordan Read and others. Mechanistic Lake Modeling to Understand and Predict Heterogeneous Responses to Climate Warming. American Geophysical Union Fall meeting. December 2016.
- Gretchen Hansen. Understanding and predicting change in inland fish communities. University of Minnesota Conservation Science Seminar Series, St. Paul, MN. November 2016.
- Jordan Read and others. Understanding and Predicting Heterogeneous Thermal Responses of Inland Waters to Climate Warming. American Fisheries Society 146th Annual meeting. August 2016.
- Jordan Read and others. A new era of freshwater science. National Science Foundation. May 2016
- Invited presentation by Jordan Read "Modeling the past and future of 10,000 economically valuable lakes: Applying water and climate data to management needs", Joint Research Committe and Federal Geographic Data Committee Webex. March, 2016
- Jordan Read, Luke Winslow and others. Tools for access, manipulation, and modeling of federal water and climate data. Office of Water Information USGS workshop. Webex, and in person Middleton, Wisconsin March 2016.
- Luke Winslow and others. Seasonally non-uniform responses to climate change in temperate lakes. ASLO Ocean Sciences meeting. February 2016.
- Gretchen Hansen and others. Using species-environment relationships to guide fisheries management in a changing climate. University of Minnesota Conservation Science Fisheries and Aquatic Biology Seminar Series, St. Paul, MN. January 2016.
- Gretchen Hansen et al. What’s the deal with Wisconsin’s walleye? (Webinar). Climate Change Science & Management Webinar Series (NCCWSC). September 29, 2015.
- Gretchen Hansen and Jordan Read. Presentation at the UW-Madison's Center for Limnology graduate symposium, October 28, 2015.
- Luke Winslow et al. Modeling past and future thermal conditions for 2,500 Wisconsin managed lakes. American Fisheries Society 145th Annual meeting, Quebec City. August 17, 2015.
- Gretchen Hansen et al. Resilience of Walleye thermal habitat to climate change in Wisconsin lakes. American Fisheries Society 145th Annual meeting, Quebec City. August 17, 2015.
- Luke Winslow. Some like it hot: Understanding past and future climate trends and impacts in Middwestern lakes. National Wildlife Health Center. April 2015
- Luke Winslow, Jordan Read and others. GLM-AED Lake Modeling workshop. University of Wisconsin-Madison and USGS modeling training course, Madison, Wisconsin March 2015.
- University of Minnesota CFANS Research: Local adaptation can sustain walleye fisheries in the face of habitat loss May, 2019
- NE CSC NEWS: Climate Change and Freshwater Fish Product Wins USGS Communications Excellence Award. January 2018
- The Capital Times. Climate change is here: Wisconsin is seeing earlier springs, later falls, less snow and more floods. November 2017.
- NCCWSC Snapshot Warmer Waters Could Impact Sport Fishing in Wisconsin October 31, 2017
- Living on the Lake. USGS study finds lake temperatures are warming. September 2017.
- Yale Climate Connections. Wisconsin's iconic walleyes feeling brunt from warming lakes. July 2017.
- Science News "Lakes worldwide feel the heat from climate change" May 13, 2017
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Smith: Walleye decline spotlight on Lac Vieux Desert. March 2017
- UW-Madison Center for Limnology. Bass Set to Win, Walleye Lose Under Warming Projections. January 2017.
- The Habitat Section of the American Fisheries Society. Changing climate threatens Walleye, benefits Largemouth Bass. December 2016.
- The Isthmus. Heat misers: Data shows Madison’s lakes are getting warmer. December 2016.
- NE CSC NEWS: "New Interactive Tool Looking at Rising Temps in Midwestern Lakes" September 16, 2016
- Pioneer Press. By 2040, less than 4% of Wisconsin lakes might have walleye, study predicts. September 2016
- The Hamilton Spectator. Study says climate change bad for walleyes. September 2016.
- mprnews.org. Could Wisconsin study solve Mille Lacs walleye decline mystery? September 2016
- Environmental Monitor. Walleye Stocks In Wisconsin Lakes Going Down With Warming. September 2016
- Wide Open Spaces. Wisconsin Study Says Climate Change is Going to Impact Bass and Walleye Fishing in the Midwest. September 2016
- Wisconsin Public Radio. Do Higher Water Temperatures Mean Fewer Walleye In Wisconsin Lakes? September 2016.
- WisconsinWatch.org. Gov. Scott Walker’s science cuts may hinder efforts to halt walleye decline. May 2015.
- As part of our deliverables to share the tools we are building, we have released an R package for accessing climate data (geoknife) and a tool for sharing data on sciencebase.gov (sbtools).