City, SWP plan forum on climate change

MARQUETTE – The Superior Watershed Partnership and the city of Marquette will host a community meeting next week to discuss the local impacts of climate change.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Lakeview Arena’s Citizens Forum room.

The SWP recently completed its Lake Superior Climate Adaptation, Mitigation and Implementation Plan and representatives will use the meeting as a chance to introduce the plan to citizens and to obtain public input.

Partnership Executive Director Carl Lindquist said the plan provides a summary of current conditions, potential impacts and recommended actions for communities in the Upper Peninsula’s Lake Superior Watershed.

The 78-page plan provides both a local and a regional blueprint, with regard to climate change, and contains an exhaustive list of goals and related actions identified by the SWP.

The plan includes all or part of Marquette, Alger, Luce, Chippewa, Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, Ontonagon and Gogebic counties.

The effects of climate change are becoming clearer, according to Lindquist, who highlighted the decline in annual snowfall, the loss of Lake Superior ice cover and the climbing surface temperature of the lake’s water – in 2012 it hit 71 degrees.

More long-term, the shift could alter animal migration patterns and precipitate the loss of certain plant species, he said, adding that awareness of climate issues has been increasing and the state and federal governments have been focusing more heavily on associated impacts.

“But there’s still a lot to do and that’s going to be, really, the focus of this meeting,” he said. “What we’re doing at this meeting is getting more specific.”

He said the partnership has been working with coastal communities to identify and prioritize projects to prepare for climate change.

One of the main concerns for the SWP is Lake Superior, which Lindquist said touches more than 900 miles of Michigan shoreline. Eleven of the U.P.’s 15 counties have watersheds that drain into the lake, according to the SWP.

Climate Solutions University, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Headwaters Economics, the U.S. Forest Service and Great Lakes Integrated Science Assessments assisted in the creation of the SWP plan.

A copy of the plan can be found on the SWP website at

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is