Concurrent Session: Wetlands in a changing climate I
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Thu
Title: Great Lakes coastal wetlands adaptation planning at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Abstract: The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore lies in western Lake Superior and includes a 1,200-acre mainland portion and an archipelago of 21 islands. Though primarily forested with mixed hardwoods and conifer, the park also supports a variety of wetlands including interior alder thickets, interior peat swamps, and Great Lakes coastal wetlands. The latter can vary in their connectivity to the lake by location over time and space. A climate change vulnerability assessment for 11 park habitats (Handler et. al, 2020) identified a few types with moderate-to-high vulnerability to impacts of climate change including boreal forests, rock cliffs and ledges, and coastal wetlands (bogs, poor fens, and shore fens). Vulnerabilities for coastal wetlands include the potential for lake level changes, increasing wave action, increasing storms, and associated erosion or sedimentation. Other vulnerabilities include loss of stabilizing vegetation on berms between wetlands and the lake and temperature and chemistry changes from Lake Superior breaching. We engaged with Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) and Northland College staff to apply a newly-developed Great Lakes Coastal Adaptation Menu to planning for these vulnerabilities. Our goals were to generate desired future conditions and identify adaptation options as well as research or monitoring needs. We identified several approaches and tactics that I will share in the presentation. Coastal fens may be particularly vulnerable and will serve as an example of the process used. In the future, we will initiate new monitoring protocols focused on the stability of shoreline berms.
Bio: Peggy Burkman is the biologist at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a post she has had for 19 years. Previously, she worked as a landscape ecologist, fire ecologist, and wildlife biologist with USFWS. She has a master's degree in ecology and she completed a dissertation titled "Enhancing human motivation in groups settings relative to climate change."