Our Warming Climate Expected to Turn the Boundary Waters Canoe Area to a Savannah Habitat by 2100
Written by; Duana G. - Environmental Justice Committee
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission recently granted Enbridge Inc. permission to pursue building its pipeline (Line 3) through Northern Minnesota. In addition to the real concerns that the pipeline will leak, as they all do, and destroy our land and pollute our water, strong objections to Line 3 are also based on how it will only contribute to and accelerate the devastating effects of our warming climate. Cheap access to dirty fossil fuels delays the very necessary transition to our use of renewable and clean energy sources like wind and solar.
The real health effects of a warmer climate are being felt by many in our state and around the world. If it continues apace, the beloved Boundary Waters habitat will change from green and lush to beige and dusty.
Kenny Blumenfeld, a climatologist with Minnesota’s State Climatology Office, says “[f]rom a really basic standpoint, warming in northern Minnesota is well underway and is actually warming faster… than any other part of the state.” Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology, projects that trees in the central and western parts of the Boundary Waters wilderness area will transition to oak savannah.
Frelich predicts that the area will be “rainier but drier," and if the summer evaporation outpaces precipitation, the area will “flip over to a grassland” by the year 2100. Many species like moose and lynx will go extinct or leave northern Minnesota as the warming changes the area into a savannah habitat. Frelich says that the black spruce, balsam fir, balsam poplar, paper birch, most aspen, white spruce will be gone, and potentially jack and red pines will also disappear.
Please do your part to combat climate change and vote like your habitat depends on it. When your grandkids and their children drive North, it is expected to look like this.