PAGE 5 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2018-2019 • GREAT LAKES • Vulnerability of namegos to climate change (see Namegos, page 11) Figure 5. Range map of namegos. Namegos (Lake Trout) Salvelinus namaycush Less – Extremely Vulnerable (Confidence Level: Moderate) General Description: Namegos is found in Lake Superior and some deep inland lakes throughout the Ceded Territories, often preferring clear, cold, infertile waterbodies (Figure 5). It is harvested by Anishinaabe people and is considered a highly prized sportfish among recreational anglers. Namegos spawns in the fall (mid-October to December; 46-51.9°F) at water depths of inches to 90 feet over low-sediment rocky bars. Young namegosag feed primarily on opossum shrimp (mysis), but also consume insects and small fish. As namegos grows larger, fish (e.g., ciscos and smelt) become an important part of its diet. The namegos population collapsed in the early to mid-1900s and was effectively extirpated from the Great Lakes except for Lake Superior. Predation by non-native sea lamprey further reduced populations in the mid- 1900s. Stocking programs as well as sea lamprey control have aided recovery of most spawning populations of namegos in Lake Superior, but some populations have declined. For example, in management unit WI-2 (North of Ashland, WI), relative abundance nearly doubled from 0.69 adult fish per kilometer of net in 1980 to 1.16 fish per kilometer of net in 2015. Conversely, in management unit MI-2 (Northeast of the Michigan/ Wisconsin border), relative abundance has declined from approximately 1.83 fish per kilometer of net in 1980 to 0.64 fish per kilometer of net in 2015. Namegos rarely occurs in inland waterbodies, but the two well-known inland namegos lakes, Black Oak and Trout Lake, have experienced declines or no recruitment in recent Figure 6. Climate change vulnerability scores for namegos on a scale of 0 (lowest vulnerability) to 32 (highest vulnerability). Dots indicate average score; lines indicate possible range of scores for each warming scenario. Namegos is known as a culturally significant being/species to the Ojibwe people. The fish clan is part of the Ojibwe clan system and those who are part of it are known to be sky watchers that hold knowledge of all that is in the sky, such as the sun, stars, and moon, connecting the earth to the sky. build a more efficient threshing machine before next manoomin season. As the sun began to lower in the sky, students sat in a circle behind the school, overlooking acres of forested and wetland habitat. One student held a finished piece of manoomin up to the sky to get a better look at it. With one swift movement, the child devoured the “good seed,” just as their ancestors had done for hundreds of years. Manoomin may be scarce or no longer existent in these areas, but the identities of our young people will continue to flourish, thanks to communities like ICS. Manoomin (see Manoomin, page 4) A dune of coarse, dark-colored mining waste called stamp sands rises from Lake Superior shoreline on the southeastern shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Currents along the shoreline are pushing the sands over important fish habitat including a foremost spawning ground, Buffalo Reef. (B. Michaels photo) Mining waste, food webs, and climate intersect in Gichigami surveys Century-old mining waste known as stamp sand is beginning to smother one of the most valuable spawning reefs in Lake Superior. Buffalo Reef, located along the southeastern shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula, produces an estimated 33% of the entire tribal commercial catch of lake trout and whitefish in Gichigami’s Michigan waters. Factor in rising water temperatures that are reaching historic highs, and a growing level of uncertainty surrounds the region’s fish community and ecological health. “We’re continuing our research on trout and whitefish, and also gathering baseline data on the zooplankton community,” said GLIFWC Fisheries Biolo- gist Ben Michaels aboard the research vessel Mizhakwad. “The fishery is facing some potentially serious hurdles” The mid-autumn work meshes traditional GLIFWC gillnet surveys of mature fish spawning at Buffalo Reef with a new assessment tool, a plankton net or trawl. Michaels said GLIFWC crews are using the trawls to document abundance of zooplanktonsuchasopossumshrimp,whicharetinyorganismsthatplayanimpor- tant role in the food web. Researchers conduct trawl surveys in nearshore areas overrun with stamp stands as well as locations with a natural lakebed. While present research is designed to identify longer term trends, GLIFWC, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other partners are looking to tackle the stamp sands problem in shorter order. Asthewindsandcurrentsalongtheshorelinepushthe sands—a byproduct of historic copper mining—into key fish habitat, the problem grows worse each year. The Army Corps of Engineers and US Environ- mental Protection Agency have allocated funding to dredge the coarse, dark sands from the shoreline and deposit it at an inland site. Cooperating agencies in association with experts from Michigan Technologi- cal University are developing plans to begin work on stamp sand removal and habitat revitalization along approximately five miles of shoreline. GLIFWC Fisheries Biologist Ben Michaels prepares a plankton trawl, or net, to search for microorganisms near whitefish and lake trout spawning grounds on Lake Superior. (L. Cloud photo) By Charlie Otto Rasmussen, Editor