Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan: 1854 Ceded Territory Including the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, and Grand Portage Reservations
Large-scale environmental change in the form of human-driven alteration of the climate is here. Global emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased dramatically over the last 150 years. Researchers throughout the world agree that these changes can be attributed primarily to human activities such as the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. The resulting presence of these gases in the atmosphere has led to a number of changes in global, regional, and local climatic conditions. Some of the changes experienced to-date (from 1950-2012) across northeastern Minnesota and within the 1854 Ceded Territory include:
Warming of annual temperatures by 3.7oF;
Warming of the minimum wintertime temperature by 6.8oF;
A 14.7% increase in precipitation occurring in the fall with significant decreases occurring in winter (-12%) and spring (-11%);
Ice out dates occurring 2-5 days earlier on inland lakes;
Longer freeze-free season.
Given the importance of preparing for climate change, the 1854 Treaty Authority, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa engaged support from Adaptation International and the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments to conduct a vulnerability assessment and aid in the development and customization of adaptation strategies. This report shares the results from this effort. Included within the report is an overview of observed and predicted climate changes (Section 3); an assessment of the risks to key natural resources (while realizing that all resources are important and interconnected) (Section 4); and a series of adaptation strategies to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change (Section 4). The bands and 1854 Treaty Authority have an opportunity to continue to build on this project and ensure that all resources and people are more resilient to the projected changes in future climate.