PAGE 7 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2018-2019 GLIFWC Fisheries Biologist Ben Michaels presents at the State of Lake conference. (J. Vanator photo) • NIBI • D uring the 2011 “Year of Intensive Monitoring” (also known as CSMI), theGLIFWCEnvironmentalSectionbeganaprojecttomonitoraspects of the health of streams and rivers in the Chippewa Ceded Territories of the Lake Superior basin. The CSMI program focuses resources on monitoring of the Great Lakes. The monitoring project targeted nibi (water) that might be impacted by future hard rock mining development. We identified three watersheds that had been unimpacted by recent mineral development but where there was interest in mineral extraction. The project focused on providing baseline data to help protect the health of these tributaries to Lake Superior. Using a combination of water quality sampling, flow measurement, and near- continuous monitoring of water temperature and conductivity we have been able to develop strong baseline datasets in unimpacted tributaries to Lake Superior. Over the past seven years, GLIFWC has located additional funds to continue and expand the collection of water quality and quantity data in those watersheds as well as to expand to additional watersheds. GLIFWC now cooperates with four tribes and two federal agencies to monitor water quality in six watersheds in the Ceded Territories. Not only has the project developed a baseline of water quality and flow in generally unimpacted watersheds, but it has also identified cases of increased pollution due to human activities. Inonecase,ourmonitoringcontributedtoanenforcementactionthatimproved water quality in the Salmon Trout River. In another case, identification of unusual pollutant levels in a stream downstream of the White Pine Mine has triggered discussion with state regulatory agencies and the property owner. In recent years, our monitoring program includes not only undisturbed water- shedsbutthosethatareexperiencingmineraldevelopmentandpollutantdischarges. The2011CSMIprovidedtheresourcesandfocustostartthisprogramoflong-term data collection that is contributing to understanding changes and potential changes in the health of nibi in at-risk tributaries to the Great Lakes. —John Coleman, Esteban Chiriboga & Dawn White, GLIFWC Environmental Section Specific Conductance 2011−12−06 17:30:00 to 2016−05−16 11:30:00 by week Month of the Year Sp.Cond(uS/cm) Data from the 12 months prior to 2016−05−16 11:30:00 are highlighted with Blue 60 80 100 120 140 May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2015 2016 /media/john/B2F45733F456F955/Documents and Settings/doe/Documents/HOBOware/Readout/YIMM−ST/kst/−ste−61−01_to_2016−05−16.csv A long-term water monitoring program for protection of Lake Superior tributary health Conductance chart: Five years of water quality data by week of the year. Specific conductance of water samples at a monitoring site, collected every 30 minutes, is plotted by week as a box-plot showing the range of values in each week (yellow bars show range and black dashes showing outliers). Over top of the box-plots is one year’s worth of data plotted in blue. The overlay of one year of data shows how that data deviates from the general trend which is shown by the box-plots. GLIFWC Mining Specialist Dawn White records data at a water monitoring site. (J. Coleman photo) Gichigami—the big topic at 2nd annual conference Houghton, Mich.—Gichigami (Lake Superior) wasthefocusatamajorconferenceheldinHoughton, Michigan during the second week of October. Michi- ganTechnologicalUniversityhostedthe2018Stateof LakeSuperiorConferencewhichwasorganizedbythe International Association for Great Lakes Research. The gathering, still in its infancy, was designed to be an annual event which attempts to bring together research, management, education/outreach, policy development all focused on the big lake. GLIFWC presenters included Ben Michaels, John Coleman, and Jen Vanator. Sessions that focused on protection were big hits at the conference. Currently, an ongoing issue identified among the group pertains to providing added protection for the water body and wildlife it maintains. Also funding issues for providing protec- tion were addressed. “Watching the scientists and researchers come togetherandhavedeepdiscussionswiththemanagers was really key to figuring out how the science can help better management of the lake and the life it holds,” said GLIFWC Inter- governmental Affairs Director Ann McCammon-Soltis. The discussions even led to identifying the need for developing metrics to get protection activities better funded. Recognizing that the great lake and its fish and wildlife inhabitants know no borders or boundaries, participants came from Canada and every state in the region. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, Tribes, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S Fish & Wildlife, and many Universities were just a few entities that presented on various topics. GLIFWC Fisheries Biologist Ben Michaels col- lected commercial harvest data on Lake Superior over the past 20 years and laid out the geographic distribu- tion of the harvest in a presentation about whitefish, lake trout, and cisco. Michaels explained some of the trends by species and compared these to local time- lines,whichoftentimescorrelatewithlocalregulations, law and the economy. For instance, Cisco harvest in Wisconsin waters reached a spike in 2011 from fishing pressureallaround.Thespikewasattributedtorapidly increasing roe prices. Another trend that Michaels and other fisheries biologists have noted over time is decreased catch per effortforlakewhitefishlakewide.Moreresearchwould have to be conducted but Michaels hypothesizes that, “Fish could be moving around or moving to deeper water due to changing water temperatures.” Whatever the reasons, Michaels stresses the importance of outreach and scientific dialogue. “A lot of topics and issues were being put in the spotlight at the conference. It’s great for people to By Bizhikiins Jennings, Staff Writer (see Gichigami, page 20)