Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Missouri
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Missouri Project

Quantifying the impacts of climate change on fish growth and production to enable sustainable management of diverse inland fisheries

March 2021 - December 2023


Participating Agencies

  • Climate Adaptation Science Center

Climate change is altering all aspects of freshwaters, with important implications for managed fisheries. Both individual growth and population production are fundamental metrics for designing and evaluating effective regulations. We propose to quantify changes in fish thermal habitat conditions, growth, and production for multiple managed species encompassing a range of thermal preferences in Midwestern lentic systems ranging from the Laurentian Great Lakes to inland glacial lakes (e.g., MI, MN, WI) to large reservoirs (e.g., MO, AR). Focal species will include coolwater walleye, warmwater largemouth bass, and 2-4 additional species identified based on agency priorities and data availability. We will quantify the relationship between temperature and growth using statistical models of length and will use bioenergetics models to estimate whether growth and consumption will change under future temperature conditions. Results of this analysis will be used to inform managers about the effectiveness of length-based regulations under changing climates. The data, tools, and results of this project will be co-produced with state agency personnel and disseminated via several mechanisms, including state-specific webinars, extension of an existing data visualization tool, and direct liaison with management agencies through our project team. Our project team consists of leading fisheries scientists, including representatives from fisheries management agencies throughout the Midwest. We will engage additional partners in the state fisheries management agencies of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin, to identify relevant metrics related to thermal habitat, growth and production; co-produce communication tools; and to obtain necessary data and incorporate input into final products