MAZINA’IGAN PAGE 10 FALL 2017 • WILDLIFE • GLIFWC partners with regional forestry organization Focus on tribal needs in climate change planning By Kim Stone, Climate Change Program Coordinator At its May 2017 meeting, the GLIFWC Board of Commissioners granted approval for GLIFWC to become a formal partner with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS). NIACS is a regional collaborative effort between the US Forest Service and its partners, including universities and public and private groups. The organization works with forest managers and landowners to find practical, on-the-ground ways to incorporate climate change considerations into forest management projects. NIACS conducts in-person trainings and also has developed an online course in Forest Adaptation Planning and Practices. The beginnings of a partnership The seeds of partnership were sown during the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) meeting between tribal representatives and Forest Service personnel. One tribal representative, noting GLIFWC’s absence from the list of NIACS’ official partners, suggested that a truly collaborative approach should involve tribal input. In the discussion that ensued, other tribal representatives spoke of the impor- tance of listening to Elders’ wisdom with regard to the environment and the need for that knowledge to be a part of NIACS’ work in climate change. Fromthismeetingemergedthebeginningsofapartnership.Discussionsinthe following months between GLIFWC and NIACS concerned how the partnership would take shape and how the work and mission of each organization could best serve the other. GLIFWC requested several modifications to NIACS’ charter to be more inclusive and reflective of tribal values and needs, and NIACS was fully receptive to these changes. At its January 2017 meeting, GLIFWC’s Board of Commissioners approved Dr. Jonathan Gilbert, Director of Biological Services, to serve as GLIFWC’s representative on the NIACS Steering Committee. The efforts culminated in a Resolution at the Board’s May 2017 meeting approving GLIFWC’s formal part- nership with NIACS. NIACS is already well suited to provide more tribal specific adaptation tools becauseitsplanningprocessreliesonthelandandresourcemanagers’values,judg- ment, and knowledge of the land to set their own goals and priorities for adaptation. Both organizations look forward to using their respective experience and exper- tise to make climate change adaptation efforts more accessible and relevant to tribes. Getting started and looking to future collaboration WhilethenutsandboltsoftheNIACS/GLIFWCpartnershiparestilldevelop- ing, GLIFWC has been involved since May in an effort with other tribal/intertribal groups to create a “Tribal Adaptation Menu” with NIACS. The goal is to incorpo- rate traditional values, traditional management techniques, and consideration of cultural and historic sites in actionable climate change strategies. While work on thisprojectisongoing,participantsincludingGLIFWChopeitcanbeusedwiththe current NIACS adaptation workbooks to assist tribes in climate change planning. Its exact format is yet to be determined, but the product will be designed to supplement existing NIACS products and help NIACS more effectively reach out to and include tribal communities in its mission. The final product may also serve to assist and educate organizations who have not worked with tribes or wish to learn more about the process. For further information on GLIFWC’s Climate Change Program, go to http:// glifwc.org/ClimateChange/ or contact Kim Stone, Climate Change Program Coordinator at kstone@glifwc.org. For additional information on NIACS and the work it does, go to www.glifwc.org/Mazinaigan/Winter2016/index.html?page=4. Bobcat harvest quotas spike in WI By Nicholas McCann, for Mazina’igan Despite GLIFWC opposition, the bobcat harvest quota is set to double in Wisconsin this coming season. The FurbearerAdvisory Committee recommended increasing the bobcat quota from 375 last season to 750 in 2017–18. This includes a more-than-doubling of the harvest quota in the northern zone, from 225 to 550 bobcats. TheCommitteeincludesbiologistsfromtheWisconsinDepartmentofNatural Resources (WDNR), GLIFWC, US Forest Service, a member of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, and user groups, including the Wisconsin Trappers Asso- ciation and the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association. The harvest quota increase, thought to be unprecedented by the Committee, was in response to a population estimate of 3,504 bobcats in Wisconsin, which is over the population goal of 2,000–3,000 bobcats that was set a decade or more ago. Representativesfromtheusergroupsthatwerepresentalsoreportedfrequently seeing evidence of bobcats while hunting and trapping, leading them to believe that there were more bobcats than the WDNR estimates. The higher quotas are projected to bring the population estimate back into the population goal range of 2,000-3,000 bobcats in the coming years. The decision to double the quota was not unanimous. GLIFWC stressed that WDNR bobcat monitoring data did not show population increases. Snow-tracking surveys, for example, did not show rising bobcat numbers, but instead revealed a 50% decline over the last 10-15 years. In addition, the success rate for bobcat trappers in the northwoods has declined by about 50% since 2010. GLIFWC suggested that a slow increase in the bobcat quota would be better than doubling it, as population estimates and user group observations disagree with survey data and trapper success rates, making it difficult to know how bobcats are doing. Nevertheless, the Committee recommended a doubling of the bobcat harvest quota, which has been approved by the WDNR Wildlife Policy Team, and will be presented to the Natural Resources Board this September. In addition to increasing harvest quotas for 2017-18, WDNR also presented the idea of an experimental harvest season sometime in the future, during which bobcat harvest would dramatically increase in some areas in the northwoods. The goal of such a season would be to determine if extreme increases in harvest hurt the bobcat population, or if the population is so large that it can sustain a much higher harvest. Whether a dramatic increase in harvest is a good course of action is open for debate. It may be that there are better ways to “skin this cat.” A subcommit- tee is being formed to identify more ways to get a better handle on how many bobcats are out there. The subcommittee, which will include WDNR Biologists, a GLIFWC Biologist, a researcher from the University of Wisconsin, and a user group representative, meets in late summer to discuss options. MinutesfromtheFurbearerAdvisoryCommitteemeeting,includingadescrip- tionofthebobcatquota-settingdiscussion,canbefoundat:http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ WildlifeHabitat/committees/furbearer.html. Wildlife Biologist Nicholas McCann recently moved from GLIFWC to the University of Minnesota where he will conduct research to assess the feasibility of reintroducing elk to northeastern Minnesota. Gidagaa-bizhiw(bobcat).(Reprintedfromhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/2.0/deed.en) A partnership between GLIFWC and NIACS will promote a more holistic approach to climate change adaptation that could consider species such as mashkiigobag (Labrador tea), utilized by Ojibwe people but often overlooked in standard forest management. (T. Bartnick photo)