Apostle Islands National Lakeshore - Ecosystem Adaptation


Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has been approved by the National Park Service to conduct a park-scale vulnerability assessment, an adaptation demonstration project, and several outreach and education activities.   

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a collection of 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland along Lake Superior’s south shore. Climate change will affect the Great Lakes region in many ways, and the Apostle Islands NL may be especially vulnerable because of its island nature that includes coastal habitats and rare ecosystems. Additionally, the temperature of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater body in the world, has been warming twice as fast as the surrounding air. This shift in lake temperatures could lead to many cascading changes that would affect the ecology and visitor experience of the park.

Objectives of this project are to; 1) identify climate change risks to a variety of terrestrial ecosystems at Apostle Islands NL through a vulnerability assessment, 2) integrate climate change information from the vulnerability assessment into on the ground management to help adapt to future conditions, and 3) use information generated to educate park managers, staff, and visitors to the range of projected climate change futures and its associated impacts.

Staff from NIACS will train an interdisciplinary team of resource specialists from the park to use the Adaptation Workbook from Forest Adaptation Resources. Examples of potential adaptation projects at Apostle Islands NL include: preparing for the effects of drought on Great Lakes dunal communities, adjusting park infrastructure to accommodate increasing wind speeds, or anticipating potential changes in public use of park resources under climate change. The adaptation workbook will be used to identify climate change considerations and management responses for adaptation. Implementation of actions recommended by the staff will make this project an example of integrating climate change into natural resource planning and activities.


Updated 8/7/15