Assessment of Current North Shore Resource Management Policies

Without a region-wide climate change adaptation strategy, resource managers and local community members along the North Shore must utilize existing resource management plans to address the consequences of long-term climatic shifts. As part of the North Shore Community Climate Readiness project, we compiled and evaluated existing local and regional resource management plans created without climate-related impacts to local resources in mind. Our goal was to determine whether or not these plans or policies could be used to address the negative impacts of climate change.

What planning documents and policies currently exist?

We identified and analyzed 16 existing North Shore management plans that ranged in scope from the very broad Superior National Forest's Land and Resource Management Plan to the very specific Lake County Comprehensive Trail Plan. Our analysis revealed a general lack of decision-making capabilities provided by the current planning documents.

Where are the gaps in existing North Shore resource management planning documents or policies?

A complementary spatial overlay analysis was performed to reveal the spatial coverage and density of areas covered in the management plans. The overlay analysis allowed for an identification of spatial gaps in planning across the region. The analysis revealed a concentration of management plans focused on the land and water resources as well as the built infrastructure closest to Lake Superior. Only a few planning documents or policies covered inland lakes and the region's northernmost areas.