Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan: 1854 Ceded Territory Including the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, and Grand Portage Reservations

M. Stults, S. Petersen, J. Bell, W. Baule, E. Nasser, E. Gibbons, and M. Fougerat
Posted on: 11/30/2018 - Updated on: 8/21/2023

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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.

Affiliated Organizations

Adaptation International is focused exclusively on helping communities, agencies, and organizations prepare for the impacts of climate change. Adaptation International specializes in bridging the gap between climate science and community action and developing the tools and strategies necessary to mainstream climate change preparedness. Adaptation International staff has expertise in climate change science, adaptation strategy development and prioritization, public health, public policy, strategic planning, community engagement, and stakeholder involvement.

The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA) is a collaboration of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, with the participation of Ohio State University and Michigan Sea Grant. Its Core Management Team is comprised of leading climatologists, social scientists, and outreach specialists. Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with additional support from U of M and MSU, GLISA is part of a national network of regional centers focused on adaptation to climate change and variability.

The 1854 Treaty Authority is an inter-tribal natural resource management organization that protects and implements the off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights for the Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands in the lands ceded to the United States government under the Treaty of La Pointe, 1854.


Document Type
Adaptation Phase
Sociopolitical Setting
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy