Bad River Band FEMA Pre-Hazard Mitigation Plan

After attending the Tribal Climate Workshop in Michigan in 2017 (co-hosted by GLISA and the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan) and learning about GLISA, the Climate Change Coordinator for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians reached out to GLISA for support developing the Tribe’s Pre-Hazard Mitigation Plan for FEMA. The Tribe suffered $25 million in damages to roads and public infrastructure after a historic 2016 flood from a heavy precipitation event. As a result, the Tribe’s Natural Resources department began an analysis of current and future risks to a variety of weather events and was interested in including regionally downscaled climate projections for their location. GLISA worked with the department to define a suite of custom variables and thresholds of interest, including temperature, precipitation, snow, extreme precipitation, and frost-free season length. This process began with a request from the tribe for information about climate variables of interest, and GLISA responded with information about what data was and was not available. Based on this information and further discussion with GLISA team members, the tribe updated their list of requests, mostly for information and data for future projections, since the tribe already had some historical data of their own from a local weather station. GLISA still provided historic observational data from another nearby station in our network of quality controlled station climatologies to provide context for the future projections provided. These were presented to the Tribe in the form of figures, tables, a written summary, and a powerpoint presentation delivered via webinar. We also provided basic evaluation information for the underlying global climate models used for the projections and a comparison of the underlying models, per request. As a result, project partner Devon Brock-Montgomery, formerly the Climate Change Coordinator with the Bad River Band Natural Resource Department at the time of this project, has joined GLISA’s Ensemble Stakeholder Working Group.  Brock-Montgomery has since moved on from her role with the tribe.

Project Accomplishments: 

GLISA produced customized local climate information for the Bad River Band to inform their Pre-Hazard Mitigation Plan. This information can be easily reproduced for other Tribes and Indigenous communities elsewhere in the Great Lakes region.

Research findings: 

Extreme precipitation remains a topic of special interest to our stakeholders, because many areas of the Great Lakes have seen/will continue to see increases in the frequency and intensity of their most extreme rainfall events.  Information gathered for this project has been relevant in other GLISA collaborations. Future projections are based on the dynamically downscaled data set for the Great Lakes region developed by experts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Dynamically downscaled data is most useful at region-wide scales, so GLISA provided Great Lakes regional maps of model data as well as quantitative ranges of projection data specifically for the Northwest portion of Wisconsin where the reservation is located.  This information was included in a table along with historical data from the Ironwood, MI station close to the reservation, in order to provide a baseline to compare the future projection data to. Station data was used for the historical climate information because it is more localized than the much larger area covered by the climate division, so the data provided is more tailored to the reservation’s location.

Project Partners: Nathan Kilger, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

GLISA Contact: Kim Channell, Climatologist: kimchann@umich.edu