Research Brief: Conserving critical habitat in the face of climate change in Midwestern lakes by managing watershed land use

July 27, 2022

Lakes across the Midwest are losing cold, oxygenated habitat as a result of climate change and nutrient pollution. This loss of critical habitat has negative consequences for water quality, fish, and the production of greenhouse gases. While data show that effectively managing watershed land use at a local scale can protect coldwater, oxygen-rich habitats and reduce nutrient pollution in Midwestern lakes, lake-specific targets for watershed management are lacking. 

“Sometimes we can feel hopeless when thinking about the negative consequences of climate change. This research is an example of ways in which we can manage local conditions to slow down or mitigate those negative effects,” said Gretchen Hansen, Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor in the U of M’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Explore the research findings.