Climate Change

Climate Change October 2019

Climate change.  This phrase has been on the forefront of everyone’s mind and seemingly every media outlet recently.  We know what it is, but how will it affect our Great Lakes?  The effects are numerous and we’re already seeing them.


The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA) has found in their research the onset of the first ice cover on inland lakes is 6-11 days later than the middle 19th century, and the breakup of ice in the spring is 2-13 days earlier. This gives the water up to an additional three weeks to warm, which can drastically change the ecosystems in our lakes and the people living near them. 


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reports that with the warmer water temperatures, Bass have moved the northern-most border that they’ll inhabit even FURTHER north.  This increases competition with the fish already living in those waters.  The lakes can’t support this concentration of fish and problems arise. 


Fish that prefer a colder habitat are being pushed to lake bottoms where it’s cooler; however, they get no reprieve there as algae blooms (which are also caused by climate change) clog the bottoms and deplete the water of oxygen.


GLISA, along with many other predictions, anticipates water levels falling in the Great Lakes while water contamination increases.  This means that the beaches we love to frequent during the warmer months will be fewer and less desirable.


While the outlook appears grim, all is not lost.  We can vote for those who believe in policies to protect our environment. We can try to keep a closer eye on our emissions both with vehicles and things we may wash down the drain or into storm sewers. 


We can do it!


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