Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Will fish kills in baked streams get WI science deniers' attention?

Badger State policy-makers better get focused on reality and science unless they're prepared to plan a future "Welcome to Wisconsin, bring your frozen fish" tourism campaign.

Though it is behind the paper's pay wall, the Journal Sentinel today features a new report predicting climate change-produced fish kills in Wisconsin's prized waterways. 
Those days are coming, according to two researchers who worked together at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In a report released Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, Samuel Fey and Andrew Rypel predict fish die-offs in Wisconsin lakes will double by 2050 and quadruple by 2100.
The science and urgency underlying the prediction were minimized and ignored for the last eight years when Walker and the GOP-led Legislature preferred to fiddle and pollute while the atmosphere burned.

*I'd noted this in 2017:
Climate change threatens WI walleye, yet WI DNR denies climate change
Probably no fish is more dear to the state's recreational economy and thousands  of anglers - -  "highly prized," says the Wisconsin DNR - - than walleye.
Walleye painting.jpg
So maybe that same Wisconsin DNR will rethink its decision to scrub climate change from its websites now that climate scientists are saying measures should be taken because climate change will lessen the ability of some state lakes to support walleye:
Nearly 100 lakes in Wisconsin are predicted to support naturally reproducing walleye populations even under extreme warming conditions
These lakes are resilient to climate change, and should be protected from other stressors such as habitat loss, invasive species, or overfishing to maximize the potential for continued walleye production.
Some lakes that are unlikely to support natural walleye reproduction will continue to be suitable for adult walleye, and fishable walleye populations could potentially be maintained in these lakes via stocking.
Quality fishing opportunities for largemouth bass and other warm water species will improve in many lakes that become unsuitable for walleye.
* And in January, I posted this information based on material published from the UW Sea Grant program in 2013:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------It's reassuring that new WI Gov. Tony Evers' and DNR-Secretary designee Preston Cole have committed to policy-making science, given the impacts a warming climate is likely already having, or will unload, on Wisconsin - - from risks to walleye stocks to repetitive flood damage and costs to the stink bugs' repulsive early wake-up calland more.

I found this 2013 posting from the UW Sea Grant Institute valuable, relevant, and predictive, especially because its down-to-earth conclusions refute Trump's idiocy that climate change is a Chinese invention and corrects the right's continuing, high-profile obfuscation.

For example, think about the loss of half of the state's 2,700 trout streams.
fall trout fishing

WI angler, trout. DNR photo:
And there are plenty more non-partisan projections in the posting to mull over.

Have a read, in part, below and check out the Sea Grant's very comprehensive site for more materials:
On the plus side, a warming climate during the first half of this century could mean lower winter heating costs, a longer frost-free growing season and better yields of some crops. It is also expected to improve forest growth, and enlarge resident populations of birds, warmwater fishes, reptiles and small mammals, especially nuisance animals like mice, bats, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons and opossums. Waterborne commerce will enjoy longer ice-free shipping seasons on the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River. Winter recreation may suffer, but summer recreation could enjoy a boom. 
On the minus side, as the climate continues to warm, it will bring higher summer cooling costs, more frequent ozone alerts, and longer, more intense heat waves. Over time, the benefits of a warming climate for agriculture will likely be outweighed by the adverse effects of declining soil moisture and more frequent droughts, severe storm and erosion damage, and a northward invasion of various warm-climate crop and livestock pests and pathogens. 
The need to irrigate crops and greater urban demands for water will strain groundwater supplies in some areas. Warmer, damp conditions will cause populations of disease-carrying insects to swell and spread, and outbreaks of infectious diseases like West Nile virus may increase. 
Greater evaporation due to generally warmer temperatures and less winter ice cover are expected to cause Great Lakes water levels to decline several feet, threatening coastal drinking water supply systems as well as waterborne commerce, and causing shipping, dredging and harbor maintenance costs to rise. Barge and train traffic through the Upper Mississippi River Valley could be interrupted alternately by low summer-autumn stream flows and winter-spring floods. Warmer water temperatures and increased stormwater runoff will reduce the water quality of many inland lakes and rivers as well as Great Lakes coastal waters. 
Longer, hotter, drier summers and increasing evaporation will result in warmer and shallower rivers, shrinking wetlands, and dried-up streams, flowages and wild rice beds. Algal blooms will create anoxic conditions for aquatic life in ponds and many lakes. These conditions will reduce the amount of suitable habitat available for trout and other cold-water fishes, amphibians and waterfowl. 
A two-degree rise in temperature could wipe out half of Wisconsin’s 2,700 trout streams. Hot dry conditions, coupled with more frequent thunderstorms and lightning, will increase the chance of forest fires. Red pine, aspen and spruce trees will disappear from our northern forests.

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