Minnesota

Superior National Forest – North Shore Forest Restoration Project

Description

Contributor(s): 
Stephen Hander (NIACS), Becky Bartol and Katie Frerker (Superior National Forest), Bridget Faust (Association of State Floodplain Managers)
Project process and implementation: 

As a part of its Climate Change Response Framework, NIACS has developed a flexible process to help forest managers and landowners address climate change called Forest Adaptation Resources (FAR).  This process includes an Adaptation Workbook, which asks forest managers to consider a series of questions to focus their thinking on potential climate impacts and adaptation actions for a particular project with real-world management goals.

During a 2-day workshop in April 2013, NIACS led a discussion among the SNF staff involved in planning the North Shore Forest Restoration Project. This team outlined the major goals of the project and considered how a range of broad-scale projected climate change scenarios might affect the particular landscape along the North Shore. NIACS shared information on general climate change trends and projections from the Minnesota Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment mentioned above, and resource specialists from the SNF (silviculture, soils, hydrology, wildlife, fire and fuels, etc.) used their own local knowledge and expertise to consider how the general projections might play out locally within the project area. Then the team thought critically about how climate change might present both challenges and opportunities for the management goals of the North Shore Forest Restoration Project, and brainstormed a wide range of adaptation tactics that could address expected climate impacts.  A “menu” of adaptation actions from the FAR document helped the team generate specific ideas. Finally, the team discussed key monitoring items that would be helpful to determine if adaptation actions were effective.

A summary of the process from the Adaptation Workbook. The North Shore Restoration Project used this process to incorporate climate change into their planning.A summary of the process from the Adaptation Workbook. The North Shore Restoration Project used this process to incorporate climate change into their plans.

Project Outcomes: 

The workshop mentioned above occurred shortly after the public 30-day scoping period for the project.  After going through the Adaptation Workbook, SNF staff continued to think about possible adaptation actions and refine the North Shore Forest Restoration Project.  Importantly, the team recognized that many of the management actions they already had planned also had benefits for climate change adaptation. Also, northeastern Minnesota may turn out to be one of the best possible “refuge” areas in the region for boreal species like paper birch and white spruce. Therefore, the team ultimately decided to proceed with many of the original goals and objectives of the project. Several modifications were added to the Proposed Action to increase diversity and future management flexibility, and some of these included:

  • Identifying the best possible locations to retain paper birch on the landscape for the long-term, including stands of healthy paper birch, areas with north-facing slopes, and cold pockets.
  • Identify stands of old, poor-quality paper birch for restoration to other appropriate native or climate-adapted forest types.
  • Increasing the proportion of planted white pine, a species expected to fare better under climate change.
  • Planting additional native species that are present in the surrounding landscape that were not originally part of the project design, including bur oak, and northern red oak.
  • Try a variety of deer herbivory protection strategies – fences, tree cages, bud caps, and/or repellent sprays.

Adding these adjustments to the original Proposed Action will help the Superior National Forest restore forest cover along the North Shore, and accomplish the objectives of restoring native vegetation communities, improving wildlife habitat, improving watershed health, providing sustainable timber products and reducing hazardous fuels.

A final Decision Notice was issued for the North Shore Forest Restoration Project in August of 2014.  More information about the final decision and planned actions is available on the Superior National Forest website. Implementation of the project will begin in 2014 and continue for the next several years.

Sea Level Rise and Lake Level Viewers

Overview & Applicability

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Summary: 

This data viewer can provide a preliminary look at sea level rise and how it might affect coastal resources across the United States (with the exception of Alaska and Louisiana). Data and maps can be used at several scales to help gauge trends and prioritize actions for different scenarios.

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NorEaST - Stream Temperature Web Portal

Overview & Applicability

Stream data are needed to enable managers to understand baseline conditions, historic trends, and potential impacts of climate change on stream temperature and flow, and in turn on aquatic species in freshwater ecosystems.

Summary: 

NorEaST is being developed to provide a coordinated, multi-agency regional web portal to compile, store, map, and distribute continuous stream temperature locations and data across the Northeastern U.S.

Ohio State University - Changing Climate

A repository of climate change information for the Great Lakes region, including news, a webinar series and a number of educational resources.

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