Michigan Congressman John Dingell hosted a panel about the shrinking hunting and fishing opportunities in the state. Dingell says conserving places to hunt and fish are keys to Michigan’s quality of life. And he says hunters and anglers are good people to ask about how those places are impacted by climate change and other threats to the Great Lakes, because, “Sportsmen are really one of the first lines of defense for the protection of our environment.” Dingell says he’s also working on building up protected natural areas in southeast Michigan. They include a national wildlife sanctuary along the Detroit River, and the River Raisin national park in Monroe. Ryan Werder is with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, which co-hosted the event with Dingell. Werder says because climate change is a complex global issue, it’s helpful to highlight local effects.
“Connecting the very real climate change impacts on hunting and angling opportunities is the first step in getting people to begin speaking about it and taking action on it. And frankly, a lot of our legislators are sportsmen and anglers.”
Werder says some noticeable local impacts include harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie that hurt fishing and recreation. Phosphorous runoff into the Great Lakes has also been blamed for algae blooms. Research suggests warmer water makes them worse. Werder says the warmer summers also are hurting Great Lakes trout populations that need cool waters to spawn.