2024 MGLP Lake Conservation Webinars

We are excited to announce our 2024 Lake Conservation Webinars. These free webinars address a diverse range of lake and fish habitat management issues from assessments of property lake health or property values nationwide to nutrient sourcing for one lake; from shoreline restoration techniques to farmer-led conservation coalitions; and from climate change to shoreline erosion. Check out our lineup below and register using the links provided. You can view the full list of webinars plus recordings of past webinars on our Lake Conservation Webinars webpage.

Would you like to present a future MGLP Lake Conservation Webinar? We want to hear from YOU! We encourage speakers from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise in our webinar series. Please email MGLP Coordinator Joe Nohner to express your interest.

What we know (and don’t know) about freshwater salinization

Hilary Dugan February 27, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Hillary Dugan headshot

Road salt pollution has led to the salinization of many freshwater ecosystems in the Midwest US. This talk will focus on what we know about freshwater salinization dynamics and trends, and what questions remain surrounding the future of our freshwater resources.

What is not known: A new look at an old way to fix broken lakes

Jerry Sweeten March 12, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Jerry Sweeten headshot

Many glacial lakes are suffering from chronic nutrient and sediment pollution, and there is a lack of scientifically defensible data needed to for pragmatic restoration. This presentation will illustrate the need for a more robust lake scientific study design that accurately quantifies lake health as the first step in lake restoration, which is a team sport. The presentation will use examples from northern Indiana lakes where nutrient and sediment monitoring were conducted to prioritize tributaries for nonpoint source pollution control. Leveraging these data have helped to designate the lake in the National Water Quality Initiative and direct increased funding to on-the-ground conservation.

Casting a wide net: Using historical data to build understanding of changes in fish species over time

Katelyn King March 19, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►

Using models to predict future changes in species distributions in response to projected climate change is a common tool to aid management and species conservation. However, the assumption underlying this approach, that ecological processes remain stationary through time, can be unreliable, and more empirical tests are needed to validate predictions of biotic outcomes of global change. We used contemporary (2003–2019) and historical (1936–1964) abundance datasets of Largemouth Bass in lakes across Michigan to estimate how relative density has changed over time with changing temperature. We found hindcasting contemporary models to historical lake temperatures performed similarly in predicting historical density to models predicting contemporary density. Our results suggest that models built using spatial environmental gradients can reliably predict population changes through time. We also found that increasing surface water temperature led to increasing largemouth bass relative density across the time period. Our study improves understanding of how climate change and other factors have impacted fish populations, shows the value of historical datasets for improving predictive models of population change, and can inform current and future lake management decision-making.

Phenological whiplash in Midwest lake fisheries

Zach Feiner April 2, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Zach Feiner headshot

Most lakes in the Upper Midwest US are frozen for 3-5 months per year, and these ecosystems are adapted to predictable cycles of ice and open water. Climate change is shifting the timing, or phenology, of ice-on in the fall later in the year and ice-off in the spring earlier in the year. On top of long-term shifts in ice phenology, increasing climate variability is also making ice phenology much more unpredictable from year to year. This talk will focus on the importance of lake ice for ecosystem dynamics in temperate lakes, and the implications of an increasingly unpredictable climate for ice phenology and how it affects the spawning and reproduction of walleye, a highly important Midwest fish.

Fishers & Farmers Partnership presents: Neighbor to neighbor, helping landowners take the next steps in improving their land and water

Heidi Keuler April 9, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Heidi Keuler headshot

Locally led, neighbor to neighbor soil health and watershed groups are driving landscape scale change across the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Fishers & Farmers Partnership (FFP) funded their first farmer-led committee in the Bourbeuse/Meramec Watershed in eastern Missouri in 2009-2010. Since then, FFP has learned and grown with landowner groups in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin, and has been a catalyst to drive innovative projects such as the Watershed Leaders Network farmer workshops. Each year FFP awards National Fish Habitat Partnership funds to engage landowners; improve farms and fish habitat; address root causes of watershed problems; and support communications, monitoring, and science that aligns with FFP’s strategic plan. Heidi will share how Fishers & Farmers works with local farmers and organizations in a bottom-up versus top-down approach to accomplish more. She can help you find active groups across states so you can reach out to people who are working in landscapes or projects like yours, explore their websites and events for inspiration, and energize your work.

Quantifying the impacts of climate change on fish growth and production using the largest-ever database of Midwest glacial lakes fisheries surveys to enable sustainable management

Paul Frater, Lyndsie Wszola, Luoliang Xu, & Michael Verhoeven April 23, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Picture of Hansen et al collaboration members

Climate change is causing inland lake water temperatures to rise, ice durations to shorten, and stratification regimes to shift. These habitat changes are creating novel challenges for freshwater fish and the productive fisheries they have long supported. We assessed shifts in habitat availability, bioenergetic needs and capacity, fish growth, and fishery productivity using simulated water temperature data and fisheries monitoring data compiled from across the Midwest. Major findings include: (1) On average, species preferring colder temperatures lost more preferred habitat than was gained by species favoring warmer temperatures between 1980-2021. (2) While warm-water species’ productivity has generally benefited from warming, cooler-water species have generally lost productivity. These losses in productivity can be exacerbated by fishing in exploited populations. (3) Many cool- and coldwater fish will experience increasing energetic challenges as the climate warms, but thermal refuges will likely persist in larger and deeper lakes. (4) The growth patterns of fish can be influenced by temperature–and theory allows us to predict what these patterns look like, but do fish actually follow these predictions? We explore this as a product of methodological and ecological mechanisms. (5) The effects of temperature on fish growth differ depending on fish size and age. Rising temperatures may accelerate early life growth for some species, but slow growth and increase mortality for older life stages. Collectively, this can result in complicated responses of fish growth across the diverse landscape of Midwestern lakes. Together, these projects provide an actionable set of findings for managing fisheries under climate change.

Valuing lake water quality in the United States using a national dataset on property values

Saleh Mamun April 30, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Saleh Mamun headshot

High-quality water resources provide a wide range of benefits, but the value of water quality is often not fully represented in environmental policy decisions, due in large part to an absence of water quality valuation estimates at large, policy relevant scales. Using nationwide property values, we estimated the benefits of lake water quality through housing markets. We find compelling evidence that homeowners place a premium on improved water quality. This premium is largest for lakefront property and declines with distance from the waterbody. In aggregate, we estimated that 10% improvement of water quality for the contiguous United States has a value of $6 to 9 billion to property owners. This presentation will share evidence for policymakers to incorporate lake water quality value estimates in environmental decision-making.

Learning from the past to manage inland lake fisheries for the future

Karen Alofs October 8, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Karen Alofs headshot

The seminar will highlight research that has used data from a collaborative project digitizing over a century of historical lake survey records from the Michigan DNR Institute for Fisheries Research. We are using these records to examine changes in fish growth and abundance, and the timing of mass mortality events. I will present examples which empirically test several predicted impacts of climate change across Michigan lakes.

Inland lake shoreline assessment and best management practices in Michigan

Eric Calabro October 15, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Eric Calabro headshot

This presentation will review the Inland Lake Shoreline Energy Assessment Tool. The goal of this new tool is to educate the user on important inland lake shoreline characteristics and to provide a standardized approach for Michigan users to evaluate the erosive potential of an inland lake shoreline. Assessing an inland lake shoreline is important for selecting an appropriate shoreline protection design that minimizes impacts to inland lake resources. Some example best practices for shoreline protection will be highlighted.

The National Lakes Assessment: A collaborative survey of lakes in the United States

Lareina Guenzel October 22, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Lareina Guenzel headshot

This presentation will share information about the National Lakes Assessment (NLA), which is conducted in collaboration with states, tribes, other federal agencies and partners every five years as a component of the US EPA National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS). These statistical surveys sample and estimate the condition of the Nation’s different water body types on a rotating basis. The NLA reports on the condition of our nation’s lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. To be included in the survey, the water body has to be >1 hectare, > 1 meter deep and > 0.1 hectare of open water. In 2022, 80 field crews collected chemical, physical and biological data from 981 lakes for the fourth lakes survey. The 2022 survey also included the resampling of 153 lakes that were originally sampled in the 1970’s as part of the National Eutrophication Study and a U.S. Forest Service intensification that increased the number of lakes sampled in the Northern Lakes and Forest Ecoregion. This webinar will provide an overview of NLA, results from the fourth field season, and NARS/NLA data tools.

Basics of shoreline erosion control: New documents to help in design and management

Julia Kirkwood and Jen Buchanan October 29, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Jen Buchanan  and Julia Kirkwood headshot

Bioengineering can offer a nature-based solution on lake shorelines for controlling erosion, adding beauty, and providing habitat for fishes, birds, and other fauna. However, reference materials for professionals conducting lakeshore bioengineering projects and for homeowners seeking to have them installed are lacking. This presentation will introduce two new MGLP-produced reference documents for professionals and homeowners that help build the foundation for understanding what is happening at the shoreline and provide some basic design tips for dealing with erosion across a range of environmental conditions.

MGLP Lake Conservation Grant: Information for potential applicants

Joe Nohner December 10, 2024 at 1 PM Central Register for webinar ►Joe Nohner headshot

Each Fall, the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership advertises the request for proposals to its Lake Conservation Grant. Do you have a conservation, assessment, or outreach project that would benefit glacial lakes in the partnership? Would you like to learn more about the types of projects the MGLP is seeking, past successes, and technical details for grant submission? This informational session will provide an overview of Lake Conservation Grant success stories, the grant proposal process, and grant implementation. There will also be plenty of opportunity to ask your own questions about the grant program during this session.