Lac du Flambeau Tribe Climate Change Resilience Plan

GLISA previously worked with Adaptation International in 2016 on the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan for the 1854 Ceded Territory, including the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservations in Minnesota. Following this successful collaboration, Adaptation International and GLISA partnered again on a new project to develop a climate change resilience plan for the Lac du Flambeau Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in northern Wisconsin. The Tribal Climate Resilience Planning (TCRP) Committee created the Lac Du Flambeau Climate Change Resilience Plan, and the plan integrated its goals and findings into the Tribe’s Integrated Resources Management, Emergency Management, and Strategic Energy Plans. The Climate Change Resilience Plan involved feedback and engagement with Tribal Council and the TCRP through meetings and workshops focusing on climate information and risk assessments. As a subcontractor to Adaptation International, GLISA led the climate change analysis that provided historical observations and future projections for a geographic area defined by the Tribe. Additional partners, such as Bullock and Haddow and International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), assisted Adaptation International with the Lac du Flambeau Hazard Mitigation Plan and mitigation initiatives.

Preliminary findings were presented during a site visit in May 2018, including observational trends from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Climate Divisions and Global Historical Climatology Network Daily Station Observations data sets, and the dynamically downscaled data from the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Change Research provided the model projections of temperature, precipitation, and the growing season for mid-century and end of century. The presentations elaborated on the historical trends and future projections for the “area of interest” (AOI), and the TCRP determined the location of the AOI based on cultural importance. Based on these presentations and subsequent discussions, additional topics of interest were added to our role including writing up a climate summary, identifying climate thresholds for the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) for culturally significant species, and providing relevant literature on groundwater, ice cover and pollen. The CCVI utilized the dynamically downscaled data with the ecological data provided by Adaptation International to assess the risk of certain culturally significant species. Another meeting in November 2018 with the TCRP discussed the additional findings of the CCVI, and GLISA provided seasonal trend changes from the model projections. The climate analysis portion of the project was completed at the end of 2018.

Project Accomplishments

GLISA presented remotely (via a webinar) and at two different in-person meetings held by Adaptation International for the Tribal Climate Resilience Planning (TCRP) Committee. The climate information focused around the area of interest the TCRP decided was important, especially for culturally significant species being affected by the impacts of climate change. Historical observations and future projections were provided to inform the group of past and future trends in northern Wisconsin. The final deliverables for the project summarized the climatological finding as well as the foundation of the climate information formatted for the ESRI Story Map. The following deliverables were given at the conclusion of this project:

  • Technical report

  • Spatial maps of the model projections

  • NetCDFs for the Climate Change Vulnerability Index calculation

  • Handouts containing summarized climate information

Research Findings

Much of the geographic area of interest experienced many of the same trends the overall Great Lakes region experienced in the past, and the dynamically downscaled models gave a projected outlook of the future trends. The CCVI emphasized the vulnerability of the culturally significant animal and plant species by showing the potential risk in future scenarios. More analysis and feedback from the Tribe continues, and this will potentially improve the findings associated with the CCVI.

Project Partners: Sascha Petersen and Ellu Nasser, Adaptation International; Eric Chapman and Patricia Moran, Lac du Flambeau Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians; Mike Steinhoff and Fei Mok, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability; Missy Stults, Sustainability and Innovations Manager at the City of Ann Arbor; George Haddow, Bullock & Haddow LLC

GLISA Contact: Omar Gates, Climatologist:


“GLISA was an indispensable part of the core project team….GLISA worked closely with the team to define a custom project boundary, complete detailed analysis of downscaled climate projections for that region, develop information graphics to share that information, and support the development of a science based climate change vulnerability assessment and updated hazard mitigation plan for the Tribe. Tribal staff members are using this information to help develop their annual budgets and guide investment in climate preparedness. At Adaptation International, we work as a boundary organization connecting communities to the best available science and would absolutely partner with GLISA again in support of our work in the region.”

Founder & Director, Adaptation International