Fishy Forecasts: How Climate Change is Impacting Fisheries in the Northwoods Region

Beer and Science: Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Fisheries

The Northwoods region has long been a popular destination for outdoor recreation, with fishing being a particularly popular activity. The lakes and rivers in the area are home to a diverse range of fish species, and over the years, Wisconsin temperatures have increased by about 2 to 3 degrees since 1950, with projections indicating a further increase of 2 to 8 degrees in the next 25 years. As the climate changes, it is anticipated that there will be impacts on the fisheries in the area.

Research fish biologist Holly Embke of the USGS Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center has been studying these changes and their effects on fish populations. She notes that there are already observable changes in the fish communities due to the warming climate. While warm-water fishes like bluegill and bass are increasing, cold-water species like walleye are facing challenges.

Embke focuses on identifying struggling fish populations and determining ways to help them adapt to the changing climate. This may involve habitat restoration efforts or supporting other fish species that are more likely to thrive in the new conditions. The goal is to ensure that fisheries remain healthy and productive in the face of climate change.

Embke will be discussing these challenges and sharing her insights at an upcoming Science on Tap Minocqua event on Thursday, April 4. The event will be held at Rocky Reef Brewing Company in Woodruff starting at 6:30 p.m., and will also be available for streaming online. Attendees can gain a better understanding of how climate change is affecting fish communities while also learning about opportunities to support and protect aquatic ecosystems.

Despite these challenges, Embke remains optimistic about the future of fisheries in the Northwoods region. By working together to adapt and protect these vital resources, we can ensure that future generations can enjoy all that nature has to offer.

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