9th Annual Northwest Climate Conference

Working Together to Build a Resilient Northwest

October 9-11, 2018

Tuesday, 7:00 PM
Grand Ballroom

7:00 PM

Risks and Opportunities for Idaho in a Changing Climate

Kate Gordon, Risky Business Project   
Location: Grand Ballroom

Evidence of a changing climate is all around us, from flooding in Houston and Florida to excessive heat and wildfires in the West. These physical climate impacts have real economic costs to Idaho businesses and communities. But there is also economic opportunity to be found in adapting to, and mitigating, these risks. This talk will focus on quantifying the risks to Idaho, and identifying the real growth and competitiveness opportunities facing this state as the rest of the world moves toward a carbon-constrained economy.

Kate Gordon is a lawyer, urban planner, non-profit advisor, and leader in the "green jobs" and climate risk movement in the U.S. She is currently an independent consultant and senior advisor at the Paulson Institute, where she provides strategic support on issues related to climate change and sustainable economic growth. Before joining the Paulson Institute, she was the founding director of the Risky Business Project, co-chaired by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, and business leader and philanthropist Tom Steyer, and focused on the economic risks the U.S. faces from unmitigated climate change.

8:30 - 9:45 AM
Grand Ballroom


Opening comments from Jeff Hicke, Conference Chair, University of Idaho

Welcome from David Bieter, Mayor of Boise

Welcome and prayer from Councilman Arnold Thomas, Shoshone-Paiute Tribes


Equity, Engagement & Intersectionality: What it takes to build climate resilient, healthy communities
(Morning Keynote)

Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome, The Kresge Foundation   

Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome is Senior Program Officer at The Kresge Foundation, responsible for the Environment Program's grant portfolio on Climate Resilient & Equitable Water Systems (CREWS), addressing the intersection of climate change and public health, and is a member of the Kresge Operationalizing Racial Equity Team working to address institutional racism in the foundation and beyond. Before joining Kresge in early 2016, Jalonne served as director of federal policy at West Harlem Environmental Action Inc. (WE ACT), where she helped ensure that the concerns of low-income communities of color were integrated into federal policy, particularly on clean air, climate change and health issues. Jalonne's career has spanned state government, academia, environmental and science-based advocacy organizations, non-profit and private industry, where she spent over 10 years working as a production engineer in facilities across the U.S. She is a lead author for the human health chapter for the 4th National Climate Assessment. She is most known for her research uncovering the disproportionate health impacts of climate change on the elderly and the response and preparation of local health departments to handle extreme heat. A native of Detroit, Jalonne earned a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.



— • —

10–11:30 AM

Terrestrial & Aquatic Ecosystems — North Star Room
Hydrology & Water Resources — Cinnabar Room
Pacific Northwest Climate (Special Session) — Liberty Room
Tribal Communities (Special Session) — Aspen Room

— • —

10:00 - 11:30
North Star


Global Warming of Salmon and Trout Rivers in the Northwestern U.S.: Road to Ruin or Path Through Purgatory?

Dan Isaak (USDA Forest Service), Charlie Luce, Dona Horan, Gwynne Chandler, Sherry Wollrab, & Dave Nagel     

Large rivers constitute small portions of drainage networks but provide important migratory habitats and fisheries for salmon and trout when and where temperatures are sufficiently cold. Management and conservation of cold-water fishes in the current era of rapid climate change requires knowing how riverine thermal environments are evolving and the potential for detrimental biological impacts. Robust estimates of warming rates, however, are lacking due to limited long-term temperature monitoring, so here we compile the best available multi-decadal records and estimate trends at 391 sites in the 56,500 km river network of the northwestern U.S. Warming trends were prevalent during summer and early fall months in recent 20-year and 40-year periods (0.18–0.35 °C/decade during 1996–2015 and 0.14–0.27 °C/decade during 1976–2015), paralleled air temperature trends, and were mediated by discharge trends at regional and local levels. To illustrate the biological consequences of warming later this century, trend estimates were used to inform selection of river temperature scenarios and assess changes in thermal exposure of adult sockeye salmon migrating to four population areas as well as thermal habitat shifts for resident brown trout and rainbow trout populations throughout the region. Future warming of 1–3 ᵒC would increase sockeye salmon exposure by 5–16% (3–143 degree-days) and reduce thermally suitable riverine trout habitats by 8–31% while causing their upstream shift. Effects of those changes on population persistence and fisheries are likely to be context dependent and strategic habitat restoration or adaptation strategies could ameliorate some biological impairments, but effectiveness will be tempered by the size of rivers, high costs, and pervasiveness of thermal effects. Most salmon and trout rivers will continue to provide suitable habitats for the foreseeable future, but it also appears inevitable that some river reaches will gradually become too warm to provide traditional habitats.


Assessing the Response of Sagebrush Ecosystem to Disturbance and Management Actions Coupled with Climate Change at a Regional Scale in Great Basin, USA

Karun Pandit (Boise State University), Hamid Dasthi, Nancy Glenn, Alejandro Flores, Kaitlin C. Maguire, & Douglas Shinneman   

Sagebrush ecosystems are among the most widespread ecosystems in the semiarid Western North America that hold high ecological and social significance. However, over the last few decades, because of different anthropogenic effects and expansion of invasive species combined with climate change we have not only witnessed decrease in area covered by these ecosystems but also observed considerable changes in vegetation composition, hydrological conditions and wildfire incidences in them. Land managers and researchers have realized and implemented several management actions to increase resilience of native ecosystems to stress and disturbance. There have been few studies exploring vegetation composition and productivity in sagebrush ecosystem in reference to disturbance and management activities using EC station data. Most of these studies rely on the observation from Eddy Covariance flux tower data and because of paucity of such sites, we lack knowledge at larger spatial scale. Application of ecosystem dynamic models could fulfill this gap and help us provide regional scale information to help define appropriate restoration tools and make informed decisions.

We applied a process-based terrestrial model called Ecosystem Demography (ED2) model, to explore the effects of disturbance and restoration activities, coupled with climate change scenario, for a regional scale at Great Basin. We used weather research and forecasting (WRF) model to get our atmospheric forcing data for the region. Ecosystem state in the model was initialized in two different ways; with spin-up modeling from bare ground, and with remote sensing data from scattered sample sites. Simulations were done for both short-term (5 year) and long-term (25 year) periods to assess the effects of initial conditions, disturbances, and climate change on ecosystem composition and productivity. AmeriFlux tower data and field inventory data from the region were used to validate our results. Preliminary results show that initial ecosystem conditions have limited impacts on long-term vegetation dynamics whereas soil type, temperature and precipitation had huge influence on co-existence of annual grass, shrubs and trees.


Large Variation in Hydraulic Functional Traits in Douglas-Fir Approaching Lower Treeline Suggests Possible Tolerance to Expected Droughts Under Future Climate Scenarios

Keith Reinhardt (Idaho State University) & Theresa Condo     

Climate models are projecting increased and more intense summer drought in future years. Drought stress could severely impact tree physiological functioning, especially at lower range margins that are assumed to be associated with moisture limitations. Yet, few studies have quantified intraspecific variation of hydraulic functional traits in trees across geographic gradients that include range boundaries. In the Intermountain West, U.S., the lower elevational-limit of forests (lower treeline) is generally assumed to be caused by water limitations to growth and water relations, yet few studies directly show this. To test this assumption, we measured changes in drought-induced hydraulic vulnerability, hydraulic transport capacity, and morphological traits in leaves and branches of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) along an elevation gradient (1696-2109m) in southeastern Idaho that included lower treeline. As elevation decreased, vulnerability to hydraulic dysfunction and maximum conductivity both decreased in branches, showing a hydraulic safety-efficiency trade-off. In leaves, drought vulnerability did not vary, while maximum conductance increased with decreasing elevation. Leaves were consistently more vulnerable to xylem hydraulic dysfunction than branches, supporting the hydraulic segmentation hypothesis. As the range boundary was approached, we did not observe non-linear changes in parameters among site or increased variance within sites, which current ecological hypotheses on range limits suggest. Our results indicate that there is substantial plasticity in hydraulic functional-traits in leaves and branches of Douglas-fir, although the direction of the trends along the elevation gradient sometimes differed between tissue type. Such plasticity may confer tolerance to expected droughts projected by climate models in our region, especially at the lower edge of mountain forests.


Timber, Carbon, and Cash: FSC Versus Business-as-Usual in Pacific Northwest Douglas-Fir

David Diaz (University of Washington), Sara Loreno, Greg Ettl, & Brent Davies     

Forest management choices offer significant potential to alter the course of global climate change and biodiversity loss. To illuminate tradeoffs relevant to policymakers, forest sector stakeholders, and consumers of forest products, we utilize three Key Performance Indicators—average carbon storage in the forest and wood products; cumulative timber output; and discounted cash flow—to compare 4 alternative management scenarios for Douglas-fir forests on 67 properties across western Oregon and Washington. These scenarios are designed to meet one of two alternative management objectives: (i) maximize net present value; or (ii) maximize sustained timber yield; according to one of two alternative sets of forest practice constraints: (i) compliance with minimum Oregon/Washington Forest Practices Act (FPA) rules; or (ii) two key requirements (increased green tree retention and wider riparian buffers) for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Improved performance in terms of carbon storage for alternatives to business-as-usual (i.e., maximize net present value under FPA rules) generally corresponded with reduced net present value and timber yields. Compared to the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, alternative scenarios stored ~15-50% more carbon, yielded ~0-25% less timber and netted ~0-35% lower cash flow over 100 years. A substantial carbon benefit was associated with wood produced under FSC vs. BAU management practices, suggesting a distinct attribute of FSC-certified wood that could be integrated into Environmental Product Declarations considered by green builders and others. Our findings highlight the potential for new policies to target incentives for management practices that increase forest carbon storage while minimizing disruptions to timber output, as well as the financial gap (or opportunity cost) that a transition from contemporary common practice would involve for forestland owners that could be addressed by accessible carbon incentives.

10:00 - 11:30


Climate Change Adaptation in the Henry's Fork Snake River to Sustain Agriculture, Fish and Wildlife, and Recreation

Rob Van Kirk (Henry's Fork Foundation), Jamie Laatsch, Jack McLaren, Christina Morrisett, Melissa Muradian, & Bryce Oldemeyer   

The Henry's Fork in eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming provides 25 percent of the total water supply to the upper Snake River, which supports irrigated agricultural production worth 7 billion dollars to Idaho’s economy. At the same time, the Henry’s Fork and its tributaries support world-class wild trout fisheries and unique wetland habitats near Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Over the past few decades, early snowmelt, increased frequency of rain-on-snow events, higher interannual variability in water supply, and high water temperatures have misaligned water supply with agricultural needs, decreased certainty associated with traditional system management, increased reliance on reservoir storage, and decreased quantity and quality of fish and wildlife habitat and associated recreational experiences. The effect of relatively gradual and incremental shifts in hydrometeorological conditions have been magnified in this highly regulated system and interact with concurrent shifts in irrigation practices in unexpected and dynamic ways. To improve sustainability of water supply for agriculture while increasing resiliency of fisheries, conservation groups are working with irrigation entities, water managers, hydroelectric power operators and individual landowners to implement a three-pronged strategy of providing real-time data to increase management precision, decreasing mid-summer irrigation demand through market-based mechanisms, and using managed aquifer recharge to improve late-summer streamflow and water temperature.


Effects of Forecasted Climate Change on Hydrology and Stream Temperature in the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River Basin

Kyra Freeman (Western Washington University), Robert Mitchell, & John Yearsley   

The North Fork of the Stillaguamish River in northwest Washington State is a valuable regional water resource and critical habitat for endangered salmon species. The basin is about 730 sq-km with relief ranging from 55 m to 2100 m. About 58% of the basin is above 500 m elevation and is snow dominated in the winter months. Snowpack is the main contributor to spring and summer streamflow in the Stillaguamish and is highly sensitive to fluctuations in temperature during mild maritime winters. Global climate change is projected to increase winter temperatures in the Pacific Northwest, leading to an increase in precipitation falling as rain. To assess shifts in snowpack, streamflow, and stream temperature in the North Fork basin due to climate warming, we apply gridded meteorological surface data with a physically based stream flow model, the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM), and a stream temperature model, the River Basin Model (RBM).

We establish the spatial characteristics of the North Fork basin at a 50 m grid resolution and apply historical meteorological gridded surface data developed by Linveh et al. (2013) to calibrate the DHSVM to streamflow from a USGS stream gauge near the mouth of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish. Field work was conducted in the summer of 2017 to determine stream morphology, discharge, and stream temperatures at a number of stream segments for the RBM calibration to a Department of Ecology temperature gauge. We simulate forecast climate change impacts using gridded daily downscaled data from ten global climate models of the CMIP5 with RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 forcing scenarios developed using the multivariate adaptive constructed analogs method (Abatzoglou and Brown, 2011). Simulation results project a trending increase in stream temperature into the 21st century as a result of higher air temperatures, deceasing snowpack, and lower spring and summer stream discharges. High resolution, physical models such as RBM and DHSVM allow the ability to track streamflow and stream temperature at stream segments throughout the basin, thus serving as useful tools for water resource management.


When Should Irrigators Invest in More Water-Efficient Technologies as an Adaptation to Climate Change?

Keyvan Malek (Washington State University), Jennifer Adam, Claudio Stockle, Michael Brady, & Kirti Rajagopalan     

The western US is expected to experience more frequent droughts with higher magnitudes and persistence due to the climate change, with potentially large impacts on agricultural productivity and the economy. Irrigated farmers have many options for minimizing drought impacts including changing crops, engaging in water markets, and switching irrigation technologies. Switching to more efficient irrigation technologies, which increase water availability in the crop root zone, receives significant attention because of the promise of maintaining current production with less water. However, more efficient irrigation systems are almost always more capital-intensive adaptation strategy particularly compared to changing crops or trading water. A farmer's decision to switch will depend on how much money they project to save from reducing drought damages. The objective of this study is to explore when (and under what climate change scenarios) it makes sense economically for farmers to invest in a new irrigation system. This study was performed over the Yakima River Basin (YRB) in Washington State, although the tools and information gained from this study are transferable to other watersheds in the western US. We used VIC-CropSyst, a large-scale grid-based modeling framework that simulates hydrological processes while mechanistically capturing crop water use, growth and development. The water flows simulated by VIC-CropSyst were used to run the RiverWare river system and water management model (YAK-RW), which simulates river processes and calculates regional water availability for agricultural use each day. An automated computational platform has been developed and programed to perform the economic analysis for each grid cell, crop types and future climate projections separately, which allows us to explore whether or not implementing a new irrigation system is economically viable. Results of this study indicate that climate change could justify the investment in new irrigation systems during this century, but the timing of a farmer's response is likely to depend on a variety of factors, including changes in the frequency and magnitude of drought events. Other important factors affecting costs and benefits of implementing new irrigation systems are current irrigation systems, climatological characteristics within the basin, and crop type.


Climate Change Adaptation: Idaho's Rural and Urban Differences in Acceptance of Idaho Water Resource Management Strategies

Monica Hubbard (Boise State University)     

The Pacific Northwest of the United States water availability is dependent on adequate precipitation and snowpack storage. As the effects of climate change become more evident one concern is how states such as Idaho will adapt to manage water resources in light of changing conditions. Without the foresight to know how water availability will change, implementing adaptive management strategies may allow flexibility in policy planning. Previous research demonstrated that public acceptance of government policies can influence their adoption. Moreover, while differences between rural and urban communities have been well documented, there is minimal research addressing how geography influences the acceptance of water resource management. This research and presentation will address the gap in knowledge and consider the situation at multiple levels. Using results from a 2014 general public survey, it will first outline the general differences between Idaho’s rural and urban communities, including belief in climate change. It will then compare the rural - urban acceptance of water management strategies the state of Idaho may utilize to adapt. Finally, the results integrate these perspectives into a generalizable assessment that can be targeted to other areas in the Northwest and beyond. By taking this multiple-level approach this study addresses the overall theme of hydrology and adaptation. This presentation will be of interest to resource managers, academics, and other attendees.

10:00 - 11:30


Beyond Climate Impacts: Reflections on Process and Knowledge Gaps in Preparing the Northwest Regional Chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment

Organizer: Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, USDA Northwest Climate Hub   

Kris May, Silvestrum Climate Associates  
Sascha Petersen, Adaptation International  
Emily York, Oregon Department of Health  
Mike Chang, Makah Tribe  
Gary Morishima, Quinault Indian Nation  
Charlie Luce, USDA Forest Service  
Jen Cuhaciyan, Bureau of Land Management  
Phil Mote, Oregon State University  
Scott Lowe, Boise State University  

The Northwest chapter of the 4th National Climate Assessment (NCA4) highlights what we currently know and understand, as well uncertainties, research gaps, and emerging threats about how the region will be affected by climate change. Specifically, we have identified a suite of research and data gaps that may be of interest to the Northwest Climate Conference audience. In this session, members of the NCA Author team will describe aspects of the NCA4 development process and the choices made in developing Key Messages, with specific focus on the areas that were identified as research gaps. A facilitated large-group discussion will follow initial presentation, the session audience will identify the knowledge gaps that resonate with their research and management activities, adding items to our list. The session with discussion regarding questions about "sustaining" a regional assessment process going forward and fostering diversity and inclusivity in that process.


Facing Climate Change on the Frontlines: Tribal Climate Assessment and Adaptation Strategies

Organizer: Scott Hauser, Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation   

Colleen Sanders, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation  
Wayne Crue, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation  
Haley Kennard, Makah Tribes  

Tribes across the Northwest are facing the impacts of a changing climate in multiple ways. Indian tribes have an inextricable tie to the land, so the effects of climate change and adapting to those changes is intensely urgent. Whether it be catastrophic fires, sea-level rise, diminished access to first foods, and/or a loss of cultural and spiritually practices, Northwest tribes are stepping up to address climate change head first to preserve their resources. Representatives from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Makah Tribe, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and the Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation will discuss the activities they have done and are doing to assist their tribes under a changing climate.

LUNCH (provided), 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

12:30–2:00 PM

Extreme Events — Liberty Room
Hydrology & Water Resources (Special Session) — Cinnabar Room
Terrestrial & Aquatic Ecosystems (Special Session) — North Star Room
Tribal Communities (Special Session) — Aspen Room

— • —

12:30 - 2:00


Climate Amplifies the Effects of Dwarf Mistletoe on Tree Growth and Mortality in a Temperate Coniferous Forest in Western Washington, USA

David M. Bell (USDA Forest Service), Robert Pabst & David Shaw     

Increasing stress under hot and dry conditions is likely to reduce tree productivity and increase tree mortality rates in the western United States, but drought consequences on stands, landscapes, and regions are difficult to predict due to complex interactions between trees and their natural enemies. Heavy infestations of western hemlock dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium tsugense) in coniferous trees are known to impact tree growth, and presumably mortality, but no research has tested whether these effects are amplified by hot or dry conditions. At Wind River Experimental Forest in western Washington, we used a set of long-term measurements (1991-2014) of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) trees to (1) quantify growth and mortality effects of dwarf mistletoe on individual tree growth and mortality, (2) assess whether temporal variation in these effects coincides with remotely-sensed forest change, and (3) explore the potential contribution of hot and/or dry conditions to observed patterns. We found that heavy dwarf mistletoe infestations reduced tree growth in all years, but that reduced growth also occurred for moderately infested trees after 2004. Reduced growth also increased the mortality risk, especially in later years. Remote sensing indicated that these later years coincided with an increase in the prevalence of multi-year forest canopy changes. After 2004, mean annual temperature was greater and mean annual precipitation was less than previous years (1991-2004), implying the potential for elevated drought-stress. Even in this relatively wet coniferous forests in western Washington, these results highlight the potential for warm and dry conditions to amplify the impacts of biotic stressors on tree growth and mortality, which are then manifested at landscape-scales. Thus, spatial heterogeneity of forest vulnerability to drought in western Washington likely depends jointly upon climatic conditions, host tree species distributions, and natural enemy infestation rates.


Developing a Drought Metric for the Pacific Northwest

Danielle Moruzzi (Oregon State University), Philip Mote & Kathie Dello     

Though numerous drought indices have been developed by the research community, adoption of these indices by water managers has been limited. The reasons for this vary, but some include mismatches in time scales and spatial scales between the indices supplied and the operational decisions (e.g. water managers often work within political boundaries, such as states or counties, or by administrative hydrological basins, whereas drought indices may not be provided at such spatial units) and the focus of drought indices on physical parameters with little regard to actual available water supply or societal demand. The objective of this project is to co-develop an index with an advisory group of water managers in the Pacific Northwest to ensure that the result is useful and applicable for water management and drought declarations in the respective states. Multiple discussions with an advisory group led to developing an index that is based on a measure of total moisture for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, on the county scale. Total moisture is derived from snow water equivalent (SWE) and soil moisture modeled by the VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity; 6-km horizontal resolution) hydrologic model using observed historical temperature and precipitation as model inputs. We have developed a product that displays the current drought status and also projects probabilistically how the year may progress based on historical patterns. Enabling water managers to see, at different times of the year, the probability of recovery from current drought conditions can aid in drought declaration and water allocation.


Effects of Fire Suppression and Climate Change on Wildfire Activity in the Inland Northwest

Jianning Ren (Washington State University), Erin Hanan, Naomi Tague, Ryan Bart, Maureen Kennedy, Mingliang Liu, Crystal Kolden, John Abatzoglou & Jennifer Adam     

The frequency of large and severe wildfires has increased over recent decades in many regions across the Western U.S., including the Inland Northwest. Fire regimes in the region typically range from fuel-limited (characterized by frequent, lower-severity fires) to climate-limited (characterized by large infrequent fires). In fuel limited ecosystems, wildfire suppression has likely increased wildfire activity by promoting fuel accumulation, while in climate limited ecosystems, anthropogenic climate change may play a larger role by increasing fuel aridity. However, the relative roles of the legacy of fire suppression and climate change in driving increases in wildfire activity are not well quantified at regional and watershed scales. Understanding the relative influence of climate and fire suppression is crucial for both projecting the effects of climate change on future fire spread, and for developing site-specific fuel management strategies. To quantify the extent to which climate change and fire suppression have contributed to increases in wildfire activity in the Inland Northwest, we conducted a modeling experiment using the ecohydrologic model RHESSys and the coupled stochastic fire spread model WMFire. Specifically, we used historical climate inputs including a counterfactual scenario that excludes the influence of anthropogenic climate change, and different fire management scenarios to gauge the extent to which these drivers promote the spread of severe wildfires in two catchments in central Idaho: Johnson Creek and Trail Creek. We ran 500 model iterations for scenarios in a factorial design both with and without fire suppression, as well as with and without anthropogenic climate change. We then evaluated the extent to which these two drivers influenced the size and frequency of wildfires across the study basin. We found that climate change had a much larger effect on fire activity than fire suppression in Johnson Creek, with results still to be determined for Trail Creek. Thus, for Johnson Creek, forest management activities like thinning, which assume that wildfire increases are fuel-driven may not be useful for reducing wildfire risk in this study system. In future studies, we will expand our analysis to evaluate the role of fire exclusion vs. climate change across a range of watersheds and fire regimes in the Western U.S. Ultimately, this research will help determine when and where management can curtail increases in wildfire activity.


Reduced Precipitation During Fire Season Exacerbates Western US Forest Fire Extent

Charles Luce (USDA Forest Service), Zachary Holden, Alan Swanson, Matt Jolly, Marco Maneta, Jared Oyler, Dyer Warren, Russell Parsons & David Affleck     

Increasing forest fires in the western United States have been alternatively attributed to either decreasing snowpack or increasing atmospheric moisture demand. Despite a well understood influence of warm-season precipitation on wildfire, the role of spring and summer precipitation in recent wildfire trends has received little attention. Here we establish that previously unnoted declines in summer precipitation from 1979-2016 across 31-45% of the forested areas in the western U.S. are strongly associated with burned area variations. Specifically, we examined the relative contributions of changing maximum snow accumulation (SWE), vapor pressure deficit (VPD), and the number of wetting rain days (WRD; days with precipitation >= 2.54 mm) during the fire season. Using simple multivariate regression, WRD trends accounted for 12 times the influence of SWE trends and nearly twice that of VPD trends. Noting further that summer precipitation regulates temperatures and VPD, we applied path analysis and found that WRD trends had 17 times stronger influence than snow trends and 2.5 times greater influence than VPD trends. Ensemble mean projections under increased atmospheric carbon dioxide show continued decreases in the number of summer wetting rain days and increases in the time between precipitation events across much of the West. Trends in all three, snow, VPD, and summer WRD are expected to increase summer drought intensity and associated fire activity. However, the geographic distribution of these climatic drivers will be different, and effective adaptation needs to recognize the relative hazard posed by the three mechanisms, which are strongly informed by our recent historical experience. Ecosystems that are currently similar are likely to see different exposure to the three processes, indicating a need for adaptation approaches that can address each risk in varying ecological contexts.

12:30 - 2:00


Resilience-Based Approaches to Sustainable Futures in the Columbia River Basin

Organizer: Kristin Sleeper, University of Montana   

Stefanie Krantz, The Nez Perce Tribe
Chris Frissel, University of Montana
Dan Issak, USDA Forest Service
Alexa Maine, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Meghna Babbar-Sebens, Oregon State University

The Columbia River basin is one of the most heavily managed river basins in the world. Changing climate and growing human populations intensify competition for water resources, prompting many initiatives and research inquiries on how to achieve a more sustainable future for humans and ecosystems. This session will review different approaches to applying resilience thinking in the Columbia River basin to better manage and govern water resources. Presenters in this session will provide multiple disciplinary perspectives about measuring and assessing resilience in the Columbia River basin, the challenges of designing a blueprint for success, and how to translate empirical results into social and institutional innovations to address the complex problems across the basin.


Bringing Climate Change into Sections 7 and 10 of the Endangered Species Act: Climate Informed Biological Opinions and Habitat Conservation Plans

Organizer: Jennifer Hoffman, Adaptation/Insight   

Michael Hudson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Katherine Fitzgerald, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

There is a growing wealth of climate adaptation tools and guidance documents, yet field staff who carry out specific regulatory process commonly describe feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do. In this session we will present our efforts to bridge this gap, encourage audience members to share theirs, and facilitate discussion around next steps. Our work focused on Sections 7 and 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), addressing Consultation/Biological Opinions and Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPS) respectively. We describe an approach to climate mainstreaming based on best practices from the literature on linking science and management, which calls for beginning with a focus on what people do, then bring climate considerations into those practices.


Charting a Course to Resilience: Guidebooks, Tools, and Resources to Support Tribal Adaptation Efforts

Organizer: Sascha Petersen, Adaptation International   

Meghan Dalton, Oregon State University
Meade Krosby, University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group
Haley Case-Scott, Seventh Generation LLC
Joe Hostler, Yurok Tribe
Jamie Donatuto, Swinomish Tribe
Holly Penderville, USDA Northwest Climate Hub
Chas Jones, Climate Adaptation Science Center

Tribes across the Pacific Northwest have continued to lead efforts to prepare for climate change. As this work has progressed, so has the development and evolution of tools designed to support and further tribal adaptation and resilience efforts. This session will provide a brief overview of a number of tools that are available to support tribes at various stages of adaptation planning and create an opportunity for discussion and hands-on experimentation with those tools.



— • —

2:30–4:00 PM

Communication & Policy — Cinnabar Room
Pacific Northwest Climate — Liberty Room
Tribal Communities — Aspen Room
Terrestrial & Aquatic Ecosystems (Special Session) — North Star Room

— • —

2:30 - 4:00


"Tag. You're It!" Engaging K-6 Students to Close the Climate Science-Public Knowledge Gap

Jennifer Pierce (Boise State University), Jessica Bean, Kerrie Weppner & Chris Taylor     

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, the number of Americans who that believe the Earth is warming and anthropogenic emissions are the primary cause is, in most counties, below 50%. Perhaps more alarming is that the percentage of Americans who think that scientists think climate change is happening is even lower than the percentage of Americans who believe climate change is happening themselves (Howe et al., 2015). Clearly, this points to a gap in knowledge transfer from the scientific community to the public. The reasons for this gap are myriad and include the politicization of climate change and funding of widespread publication and dissemination of non-peer reviewed studies that cast doubt on climate science (Idso et al, 2016). However, we argue that a primary reason climate change is not ‘believed’ by many Americans is due to lack of education about basic climate change science in the K-12 schools. Until the basic principles of how the greenhouse effect works, and how human emissions of CO2 are increasing the amounts of longwave radiation trapped on Earth are understood, the public will remain reticent to accept climate change, its causes, and its consequences. Nowhere is this more evident than in Idaho. In 2017, the Idaho State Legislature removed climate education from the K-12 standards, making it the only state in the Union that does not include any climate education in its curriculum.


Our Changing Climate: Making Climate Science and Impacts of a Changing Climate on Our Natural Resources Relatable to the General Public

J. Michael Hudson (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Leah Schrodt & Meghan Kearney     

The Oregon Zoo Partnership (Partnership) between the Oregon Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has provided a forum for the Service to effectively connect with the public and tell our Service story. In 2017, our Regional Climate Workgroup (USFWS-Region 1) began working with the Partnership to develop and deliver outreach materials to better convey to the public climate science and the impacts of a changing climate to our natural resources. This effort has led to the development of several themes around which to build stories and delivery of our first conservation toolkit focused on one of these themes: Migratory Birds – Changing travel plans in our changing climate. This conservation toolkit allows us to have conversations with the public that educate them on the impacts of climate change to migratory birds’ life histories, while making it relatable to something with which they are familiar. In this case, a vacation in which travel plan have gone afoul. Similar conservation toolkits are being developed for other themes revolving around sea otters, salmon, our changing climate affects us all, and What you can do. This approach will inform alternative ways that we can interact with the public and collectively tell our stories.


The Convergence of Climate Change and Big Data in an Urban and Regional Context: A Policy Perspective

Eric Lindquist (Boise State University)     

Climate science, the science of cities, and the science of big data, all share a common attribute in that they are frequently considered out of context in regard to the role of science in decision making, in general, and in an urban context, specifically. The objective of this contribution is to shed light on the convergence of climate science and big data from a public policy perspective and articulate the opportunities and challenges presented by this situation. The link between climate science and big data is just now being considered, and the linkages between big data and the city are in relatively nascent form, too. What is missing, however, is the urban decision and policy context, with its dynamics, complexities, jurisdictions, elections and politics, and its position in intergovernmental relations between city – state – region - nation – global. We will focus attention on the city, and its decision and policy making institutions, actors, and processes, as the frame work for exploring the challenges of applying big data and climate science in this context. To date, big data advocates have assumed that more data mean better decisions, when in fact, science and data are often ignored or manipulated rather than applied in an evidence-based decision context. Being able to measure risk and vulnerability in a city may not follow through to better (or any) decisions if the science is in competition with other factors, such as administrative and computational capacity, or the vagaries and temporal dimensions of city politics. This contribution will address, from this critical policy perspective, themes of science and practice of cities, as well as the critical dimension of the science-policy-practice nexus.


Culturally Relevant Climate Communications in Immigrant and Refugee Communities

Jamie Stroble & Zoe Van Duivenbode (King County Climate Action Team)     

The impacts of climate change affect communities of King County differently relative to place, culture, income, language, and geographic origin. Current climate change education and outreach materials developed by King County, cover a wide range of topics, including contributions to climate change, observed changes, predicted impacts, and mitigation strategies, but are generally geared towards an English speaking audience with a base understanding of climate change. While existing materials serve to capture the climate issue as a whole, it is imperative to craft meaningful outreach and education materials that resonates with the diverse communities of King County. In an effort to develop such materials, we collaborated with several community-based organizations who represent immigrant and refugee communities to trans-create culturally relevant communication materials on climate change and translate materials into the native language of each group.

Through the co-creation process known as transcreation, we hope to create greater awareness, understanding and relatability for climate change drivers, impacts, and actions within some of our most climate vulnerable and limited-English communities in King County, Washington. Over a series of meetings with community leaders from trusted community-based organizations, we worked together to come up with content and visuals which reflect the concerns and priorities of the community they serve. After co-creating the infographic, we had the infographic translated then hosted focus groups for each language group for feedback and to verify if the content was clear and translation was accurate. The two pilot language groups were Spanish and Arabic, with Chinese and two more languages to be come. This presentation will outline the transcreation process, co-benefits and outcomes, and provide resources for those looking to try this approach in their own work.

2:30 - 4:00


Towards Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Water Quality and Quantity in Oregon's Clackamas River Watershed

Arielle J. Catalano (Portland State University), Christina Aragon & Paul C. Loikith     

Anthropogenic climate warming is projected to result in changes to several factors that influence the quality and quantity of fresh water across the Pacific Northwest. These include changes in the timing and intensity of precipitation, a higher proportion of precipitation falling as rain instead of snow, decreases in the extent and persistence of snowpack, and increases in water temperature. The Clackamas River, located in the southern portion of the Portland Metropolitan Area in Oregon, is an important source of drinking water, irrigation, and recreation across a region that spans the Cascade Mountains through urbanized and industrial communities. However, the watershed is relatively small in spatial scale, in a region of complex and meteorologically influential topography, and fed by both rain and snow making climate projections at a granularity that helps resiliency planning challenging. Towards addressing this challenge, we identify and characterize key climatological contributors to variability in water quality and quantity across the watershed in the current climate, focusing primarily on heavy precipitation, in order to understand where best to focus climate change assessment and to provide a baseline to measure projected change against. This observational assessment includes identifying the key synoptic meteorological drivers of heavy precipitation over the watershed, assessing the contribution to extreme precipitation events from atmospheric rivers versus other meteorological phenomena, and characterizing the key differences between storms that produce heavy rainfall across the basin versus those that contribute to snowpack at higher elevations. We then leverage this observational foundation to evaluate the ability of climate models to simulate these influential phenomena so that we can best constrain uncertainty in projections of future climate.


An Empirical Prediction Model for Summer Temperatures in Washington State

Nick Bond (University of Washington), Karin Bumbaco & Joe Casola     

An empirical model has been developed and tested for forecasting seasonal temperature, with the initial application focusing summer mean temperatures for Washington state as a whole. This model is based on three predictors: sea surface temperatures (SSTs) off the coast of the Pacific Northwest during the month of May; forecasts of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean (represented by the NINO3.4 index) for June through August; and predictions of the mean 500 hPa geopotential height (Z) for the months of June through August for an area encompassing the states of Oregon and Washington.

The empirical forecast model relates the three predictors to Washington summer temperature using a generalized additive model, which can capture complex (i.e., not just a linear fit) relationships between predictor and predictand. The model has a training period of 1949 through 1992 and a validation period of 1993 through 2017. The results indicate that the forecast model is skillful, and that much of the variability in summer temperatures can be accounted for by the values of the regional SST, NINO3.4 index, and predicted 500 hPa Z.

Our focus on forecasts of summer temperatures emerged from discussions with managers familiar with planning decisions related to wildfires and agriculture. These discussions indicated that forecasts of summer temperature are already being used in the region, but that there are substantial limitations of the currently available format, which only describes the chances of having a warm or cool summer, but not the magnitude. The new forecast method has the potential of delivering information about magnitude, and to allow managers to relate forecasts to historical observed analog conditions (e.g., the forecast shows that the summer of 2018 is liable to resemble warm examples from the recent past). Use of our forecast could be instructive for learning more about climate change adaptation options in the region. The actions that managers contemplate pursuing in response to a warmer-than-average forecast for the summer are likely to resemble the options in preparation for the impacts associated with an upward trend in summer temperatures.


Characterizing the Drivers of Extreme Changes in Watershed-Scale SWE in the Context of Climate Change

Christina Aragon (Portland State University), Paul Loikith & Arielle Catalano     

Snow is a keystone component of social-ecological systems in Western North America, with particular spatial-temporal vulnerability to climate warming. Warmer climates have been linked to a decreased proportion of precipitation falling as snow, decreased snow water equivalent (SWE), earlier snow disappearance dates, slower snowmelt rates, and an overall decrease in annual streamflow. Ecologically, peak snow accumulation, and the timing and duration of snow melt is important for forest greening, and annual forest carbon uptake, while socially, snowmelt is essential for drinking water, flood mitigation, and agricultural productivity. Atmospheric factors, such as water vapor, are crucial to snow accumulation and ablation. The timing and magnitude of snow-related processes are key to resiliency planning but provide unique challenges because snow regimes accompany complex topography that is difficult to resolve given the granularity of most climate models. In order to tackle this issue, we first cluster watersheds based on SWE regimes, and then characterize the climatological factors that result in watershed-scale extreme snow accumulation and ablation events. This characterization illustrates the primary synoptic-scale meteorological patterns and moisture pathways that influence the varied snow regimes of the Western United States and allows for trends in the frequency of occurrence in these events to be assessed. Our foundational characterization is provided at a spatial-scale readily resolved by climate models, allowing us to assess future projections of change in these key meteorological patterns in order to support planning for local impacts. Preliminary work comparing SWE regimes of the Western Cascades to the Blue Mountains show considerable variability in in the distribution of daily SWE change curves, particularly when looking at extremes. Climatologically, the position and orientation of land-falling atmospheric rivers (ARs) likely play a large role in different SWE regimes. For example, examination of ARs surrounding the Clackamas Watershed in Oregon, suggests that extreme ablation events are associated with ARs located slightly to the north of the watershed, whereas extreme accumulation events are linked to ARs centered to the south. Understanding the synoptic-scale mechanisms that drive local, rapid changes in SWE, such as the atmospheric water vapor, atmospheric rivers, and the storm track, can provide insight to future snow conditions for planners and practitioners.


Large-Scale Meteorological Patterns Associated with Heavy Precipitation and Storm Water Impacts in Portland, Oregon in Observations and Climate Models

Paul Loikith (Portland State University), Christina Aragon, Nick McCullar, Arnel Mandilag, Beth Gilden & Arielle Catalano     

Extreme precipitation events are associated with a multitude of impacts in the city of Portland, Oregon. Combined sewer overflows (CSOs), which occur when a combination of storm and waste water are released into local waterways, are one of these effects. The possibility of anthropogenic climate change altering the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events, and consequently storm water impacts, has resulted in interest by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) in climate information at local scales. However, obtaining future projections at the scales needed by BES is challenged by the resolution of state-of-the-art climate models being too coarse. This is especially acute in a city like Portland where small-scale topography is influential on precipitation rate and storm total. As a way to address this challenge, we use the large-scale meteorological patterns associated with local scale rainfall extremes over Portland as an approach to assess projections of changes in extremes. This presentation will provide an overview of the first phase of this project, which focuses on identifying and characterizing the synoptic meteorological patterns associated with heavy precipitation in the current climate, and the second phase which evaluates these patterns in a suite of climate models. We employ self-organizing maps to elucidate the range of synoptic patterns associated with heavy precipitation events over the city and as a basis for understanding the mechanisms behind these high impact events. CSOs are then mapped onto the different synoptic patterns to highlight the most problematic storm types. We then evaluate the ability of climate models to capture these patterns with realistic frequency, seasonality, and physical characteristics.

2:30 - 4:00


Makah Cultural and Traditional Resource Assessment: A Preliminary Framework to Utilize Traditional Knowledge into Climate Change Planning

Michael Chang (Makah Tribe), Katie Wrubel, Haley Kennard, Rebekah Monette & Janine Ledford     

Since time immemorial, the Makah Tribe has lived on the Northwest Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Climate change has already impacted the Makah Tribe, and will continue to do so in the future. Our history, archaeological archives, stories, and knowledge show that the Makah Tribe has an extensive history of adapting to changing climates. Traditional, cultural, and Indigenous knowledges can play an important role in climate adaptation planning, and for Tribes and Indigenous peoples, the use of different types of knowledge can be a crucial component in ensuring that planning strategies and outcomes are culturally-appropriate and aligned with tribal values. The Makah Climate Change Workgroup, an internal workgroup for the Makah Tribe, has begun a Makah Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Resource Assessment to complement our Makah Climate Impacts Assessment and Makah Climate Adaptation Plan. In this presentation, we outline a preliminary framework in how Tribes and Indigenous groups can utilize Traditional and Indigenous Knowledges within their own planning processes in the following ways: 1) provide historical baselines and fill in gaps in monitoring data; 2) identify cultural resources that are vulnerable to future climate change; 3) use traditional, cultural, and historical knowledge and stories to engage the community on climate change impacts; and 4) identify potential climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.


Changing Ranges and Phenology of Culturally Important Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest

Janet S. Prevéy (USDA Forest Service), Constance A. Harrington & Lauren E. Parker   

Climate change is altering both the suitable habitat and phenology of plant species around the world, with cascading effects on people and animals who rely on those plant species as food sources. We examined how the ranges and phenology of culturally important food-producing shrubs of the Northwest are changing as the climate changes. To address this question, we utilized a wide variety of citizen scientist observations, US Forest Service monitoring plot data, and current climate data to identify climate variables that best predicted the current bioclimatic niches and the timing of flowering and fruit ripening of four food-producing shrubs that are important to tribes of the Northwest: black huckleberry, salal, Oregon grape, and hazelnut. We then used projected climate data to predict how species ranges and the timing of flowering and fruiting of the four species would change in the future.

The modeled bioclimatic niches for the current time period were good matches for our observations, with the models predicting a high probability of occurrence where the species were observed. Suitable habitat for the highest elevation species, black huckleberry, was predicted to substantially shrink across the Northwest USA in the future, and losses in predicted probability of occurrence were most common on the lower elevation and drier portions of the current range of the species. We found that flowering dates of all species were best predicted by mean or maximum spring temperatures, whereas timing of fruit ripening was best predicted by mean summer temperature and accumulated growing degree days. Preliminary phenology models for these species indicate that the ripening of fruits and nuts will advance an average of 25 days by 2055 based on high emissions climate projections. These large shifts in phenology have the potential to greatly alter trophic relationships and the timing and location of traditional harvests in the future. Results from our project can help determine suitable areas for restoration projects involving these shrubs, and indicate how the timing of berry harvests may change in the future.


Learning to Braid: Incorporating Traditional Knowledge and Western Science in a Climate-Smart Wetland and Riparian Restoration Toolkit

Stefanie L Krantz (Nez Perce Tribe), Rue Hoover, Amber Ziegler, Eric Walsh, Alan Marshall & Josiah Pinkham     

Indigenous peoples around the world are working together to integrate cultural survival and indigenous knowledge (e.g. phenological observations, wild cultivation expertise, and ecosystem management expertise) in the ecological restoration, environmental change, and indigenous rights conversation. There is growing recognition of the need for including different types of knowledge in ecological research and restoration efforts, and a need for tools to help integrate different ways of knowing.

Restoration projects have important potential to increase the resilience of ecosystems, wildlife, and plants. Changing landscapes and weather patterns challenge restoration professionals to be intentional and forward thinking in order to develop restoration projects that increase the ability of ecosystems to cope with future disturbances. Wetland and riparian restoration is particularly important to consider due to the vulnerability of wetlands to changes in precipitation and temperature, land use patterns, hydrologic regimes and shifting species distributions. To address these issues, Point Blue Conservation Science developed a Climate-Smart Restoration Toolkit to assist restoration practitioners in building evolutionary resilience and ecological insurance into riparian restoration projects in California.

This toolkit provides a way to assess the functional performance of a planting design by helping to evaluate the climate-related traits of plants, the resources that plants provide for wildlife, and the seasonal availability of flowers and seeds. However, it does not include the cultural attributes of plants that are most valuable to Native Americans. The Nimiipuu (the Nez Perce people) have traditionally derived much of their food, fiber, and medicines from wetland and riparian plants. In addition, salmon, steelhead, and lamprey― important food sources for the Nimiipuu―depend on wetland habitats for spawning, foraging and rearing.

In response to these challenges, the need to bring together Traditional Knowledge and Western Science, and in order to develop resilient wetland restoration projects that serve the unique location and culture of the Nimiipuu, the Nez Perce Tribe’s Water Resources Division is modifying Point Blue’s toolkit to work in the Interior Columbia Basin. We are also integrating cultural values into the toolkit to provide a way to evaluate the cultural performance of a planting design and draw awareness to the value of plants for cultural survival and food sovereignty. This presentation will demonstrate the practical incorporation of Traditional Knowledge and Western Science, the value of and customization of the original toolkit, and discuss lessons learned and the path forward to finishing the toolkit and testing it through implementation.


Untangling Climate Change: CTUIR Climate Planning and Community Outreach

Colleen Sanders (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation)     

Climate change impacts are complicated and interrelated, and planning for adaptation requires the participation of everyone. As CTUIR begins to embarks on developing an adaptation plan to mitigate these impacts on traditional First Foods, gathering meaningful participation from tribal departments, community, and government requires a level of understanding about climate change science that may not be shared by all. Developing a communication strategy that cuts across disciplines and speaks to varying levels of scientific background will ensure the larger tribal community and their cultural resource priorities are accurately represented in the final product. These communication tools are centered around traditional knowledge inherent in the First Foods mission, as well as other aspects of built-environment tribal life, and ultimately addresses the ways climate change threatens tribal sovereignty and cultural connectivity through the exercise of treaty rights for the CTUIR community.

2:30 - 4:00


Lessons Learned from Science-Management Partnerships for Climate Change Adaptation: A Forest Service Perspective

Organizer: Holly Prendeville, USDA Northwest Climate Hub   

Jessica Halofsky, Charlie Luce, Dan Isaak, Natalie Little & Linh Hoang (USDA Forest Service)

Over the last decade, teams of Forest Service land managers and scientists have worked together to identify climate change vulnerabilities and develop adaptation options to increase resilience and facilitate transition to new conditions. The objective of this panel discussion is for land managers and scientists to share experiences from these activities. The discussion will focus on best practices for conducting vulnerability assessments, improving land manager and scientist collaborations, and bridging gaps between stakeholder groups. This panel will be accessible beyond those working on federal lands, as lessons learned are applicable for others managing or planning for state and private entities.



4:30 - 5:30
Grand Ballroom


Adaptive Rangeland Management for Climate Resilience

Facilitator: Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, USDA Northwest Climate Hub

Hannah Gosnell, Oregon State University
Heidi Schmalz, The Nature Conservancy
Mike Hale, The Nature Conservancy
Bill Hazen, Rancher from Gooding, Idaho

5:45 - 8:00 pm

View Poster Presentations


Incorporating Data into Your Decision Making: Building Dashboards

Format: Demo and Training on how to find data and create dashboards
Organizer: Laura Satkowski, Future Earth   

This session will demo how to discover relevant and reliable data for climate adaptation and resilience planning and how to build dashboards to track key climate, geophysical and socioeconomic indicators on PREPdata. PREPdata is a free, open source tool for adaptation practitioners to access curated, credible datasets, map them to visualize a specific region’s vulnerability, and track the indicators most relevant to them on customizable dashboards. The session will showcase how to discover data, request additional data be added to the platform, overlay datasets for visual analysis, create custom data visualizations and bring in external graphs or charts to be included on dashboards. In addition, the session will demo example dashboards for the Northwest. The goal of the session is to increase participants’ capacity to access and communicate data to decision makers.

BREAKFAST (provided), 7:00 - 8:30 AM

8:30 - 9:30
Grand Ballroom


State of Pacific Northwest Climate 2018

John Abatzoglou, University of Idaho     

Dr. Abatzoglou has been at the University of Idaho since 2009, after receiving his bachelor's degree in Atmospheric Science from UC Davis and doctorate in Earth Systems Science from UC Irvine. John's academic interests are centered around climate and weather of the American West and their impacts to people and natural resources of the West. John and his Climatology Lab at the University of Idaho have published over 100 papers and book chapters on climate science, meteorology, and applied climate science connecting climate to water resources, wildfire and agriculture. The research group also develops web-based climate services that connect climate data with decision makers to help improve climate readiness of societies and ecosystems.



— • —

10–11:30 AM

Agriculture — Cinnabar Room
Climate & Society — Liberty Room
Collaboration & Working Across Boundaries — Aspen Room
Infrastructure & the Built Environment (Special Session) — North Star Room

— • —

10:00 - 11:30


Characterizing and Forecasting Hazardous Climatic Events Across the Snake River Valley American Viticultural Area

Charles Becker (Boise State University) & Alejandro Flores     

The Snake River Valley is quickly becoming a highly desirable area for viticulture. However, the complex terrain is characterized by high variance in regional climate which often leads to large differences in yield and quality across small spatial extents and year-to-year production. Freezing temperatures are the leading cause of damage to grapes and grapevines in the Snake River Valley, though other climatic factors such as bacterial and fungal outbreaks, hail, extreme heat, and drought can also have significant impacts on grape yields and quality. Driven by a 30-year, high resolution regional climate dataset, we can geospatially characterize damaging events in the Snake River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) through time. The relationships between a variety of large scale teleconnection patterns such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the hazard characterization is then exploited utilizing machine learning techniques to produce a geospatial seasonal forecast of hazardous conditions. The result of this project is an interactive webtool that provides site-specific exploration of climate data, trends, statistics and hazard forecasts to help inform local winegrowers and aid in decision making such as site selection, varietal selection, and seasonal mitigation of harmful climatic events.


Farmer Vulnerability to Managed Aquifer Recharge Requirements in Southeast Idaho

Vicken Hillis (Idaho State University), Morey Burnham, Katrina Running, & Meg du Bray     

Climate and other social-ecological changes are expected to decrease the water available for agricultural production across much of the western United States. The future success of agriculture in these regions hinges on the capacity of public and private actors, such as agricultural producers and water management institutions, to adapt to future water resource constraints. While the subject of how perceptions of environmental change, risk, access to technology, and political economy influence farmer adaptation to climate change have been the subject of much research, little attention has been paid to how public adaptation to social-ecological change will affect farmers. This gap is important because it is likely that farmers will need to adapt to both social-ecological change and the policies put in place by public adaptation and understanding the interactions between the two is necessary for the development of effective adaptation policy. To provide a proxy for understanding how farmers will be impacted by public climate change adaptation, this paper will investigate how groundwater irrigators in southeast Idaho were impacted by and adapted to the implementation of a managed aquifer recharge program that required them to cut between 4% and 20% of their water use starting in the 2016 irrigation season. Drawing on interviews with 40 farmers and a farm operator survey (n=264), we use a vulnerability framework to investigate how farmers were impacted by the reduced water availability, how they adapted, and factors that shape which farmers were most vulnerable. We find the amount of water farmers had to cut had little impact on how vulnerable they were to the water cuts, measured as the percent of farm income lost. Instead, differing levels of adaptive capacity, driven by factors such as the level of influence farmers had of the policy making process and the constraints market related challenges poised to their ability to adapt, were the primary determinants of which farmers were most vulnerable. Our findings suggest that to enhance adaptation policy development and reduce agricultural producer vulnerability to climate change, it is crucial to identify the multiple drivers of particular adaptation decisions as they provide information about the range of risks that inform agricultural and livelihood decision-making among agricultural producers. Doing so provides an understanding of the processes that create flexibilities and rigidities within an agricultural system and thus facilitate or impede the ability of producers to adapt and shape differential vulnerability to climate and other forms of change.


Talking Climate Change with the Agricultural Sector – What We've Learned

Sonia Hall (Washington State University), Georgine G. Yorgey, Chad E. Kruger, Elizabeth Allen & Kirti Rajagopalan     

Over forty-three million acres in the Pacific Northwest are croplands, pasture or rangelands. How farmers and ranchers manage these lands impacts a substantial portion of the region’s land base. Helping farmers and ranchers understand and use climate change science to adapt to changes and to help mitigate agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is therefore critical. Climate change impacts on agriculture comprise a complex, integrated problem whose solutions do not follow the same pattern as many practices that agronomic research has tackled in the past. Yet neither is it completely different, with similarities to many other environmental problems that are hard to directly observe and have complex causes and effects. For almost 15 years, our team has worked with researchers and stakeholders on a range of projects with the goal of helping disseminate climate change-related research to those who can use it to inform their decisions, such that Pacific Northwest agriculture becomes more climate-friendly and climate-smart. We will discuss some of the issues we have faced in doing climate change outreach, and share the approaches that are helping increase our regional capacity to address climate change impacts. These approaches include:

  • Focusing on traditional agricultural stakeholders who are already feeling the impacts of a changing climate, and on non-traditional stakeholders and decision-makers working at broader scales.
  • Starting with a focus on practices and methods that provide co-benefits, such as buffering climatic variability, while improving resilience to a changing climate, even if this is not the explicit goal.
  • Approaching climate risks in the context of other environmental and economic risks that producers are already managing.
  • Investing in co-production, including working together to identify the overlap between the scales of decision-making and the scales at which climate research – much of it modeling – provides reliable and useful information.
  • Focusing communications and tool delivery in ways that build from stakeholders sophisticated awareness of change and variability, and the decision-support tools they already use.

We will use past and current projects, such as Climate Friendly Farming, the Columbia River Water Supply and Demand Forecast, the Farmer-to-Farmer and Rancher-to-Rancher case study series, BioEarth and the Columbia FEW project, the Waste To Fuels Partnership, and codling moth pressures under a changing climate, to exemplify these different approaches. We will share lessons learned in talking to agricultural professionals about climate change and what the agricultural sector can do to adapt and mitigate its impacts across the Pacific Northwest.


Agricultural Risk in a Changing Climate: Assessing and Delivering Cause of Loss Information Using Crop Insurance Data

Julian Reyes (USDA Southwest Climate Hub), Andrew Eischens, Mark Shilts, Jeb Williamson & Emile Elias     

The synthesis and analysis of existing 'big data' in the agricultural sector can yield additional insights of such knowledge in a changing climate, as well as increase the collective value of these data. The creation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Climate Hub network prioritizes this with information synthesis and tool development as tangible outputs. The Hubs’ mission is to develop and deliver science-based information and technologies to agricultural and natural resource managers to enable climate-informed decision-making. As part of this, Hubs work across USDA agencies to synthesize existing information to meet the needs of our ultimate stakeholders - farmers, ranchers, and land managers.

The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) is responsible for overseeing the Federal crop insurance program and works with private insurance companies. RMA has collected annual cause of loss (COL) data since the mid-1900s with monthly data beginning in 1989. These data describe the reason for loss (e.g., drought, wind, irrigation failure), indemnity amount (i.e., total cost of loss), as well as relevant spatio-temporal information (i.e., state, county, year, month).

We first describe an initial retrospective analysis of COL at multiple spatial and temporal scales over the contiguous U.S. and use the Pacific Northwest (PNW) as a regional case study. While drought, excess moisture, and hail represent the top three nationwide COL since 2001, the top three COL for the PNW are drought, heat, and freeze which comprise about 83% of climate-related crop loss payments. Causes of loss over time show distinct trends as a function of major weather disasters and long-term climate events, such as drought. Using this information, we engage our partners and stakeholders to develop decision-relevant products related to crop insurance and create opportunities for future research co-production. We also developed the AgRisk Viewer, a web-based tool, to deliver these crop insurance data to our partners and stakeholders for increased accessibility, discoverability, and usability. Ultimately, we envision the project supporting targeted adaptation in high production risk areas, multi-scale land management decisions, and ecosystem resilience.

10:00 - 11:30


Social Resilience: Measuring and Strengthening the "Soft" Stuff

Emily York (State of Oregon), Sandi Phibbs & Margaret Braun     

When it comes to building resilience and adapting to climate change, there is no doubt that certain infrastructure improvements will be required - higher bridges, deeper wells – but what about the soft stuff? How do we invest in our social infrastructures? A growing body of research indicates that social resilience (such as a community’s level of social cohesion and social capital) are key protective factors, enabling a community to effectively prepare, respond and adapt to climate stressors in healthy and innovative ways. As part of the planning process that lead to the publication of Oregon's 2017 Climate and Health Resilience Plan, a diverse set of partners and advisors named social resilience as a key concept to further explore. In response to this input, the plan recommends that the state’s Climate and Health Program collaborate with community partners to conduct a social resilience study that evaluates public health's role and capacity to strengthen social networks and social cohesion in Oregon. The plan also recommends that the program provide guidance on assessing community resilience (assets, strengths and adaptive capacity) and gathering diverse narratives as part of climate and health assessments. Together with our partners, the program has made progress on these strategies and we have some findings to share. Our social resilience study team conducted a survey of local and state health department employees to assess familiarity with these concepts, their confidence in using social cohesion strategies, and what opportunities they have identified for building social resilience within the communities they serve. Almost 200 individuals responded to the survey. We have also completed multiple literature reviews and identified a set of potential social resilience indicators for incorporating into future climate and health assessment work. The findings help to illuminate next steps for modernizing Oregon’s public health system to address social, environmental, and historical determinants of health that have led to existing health disparities and vulnerabilities. This information may also be applicable to an array of partners across many sectors who are interested in incorporating more social considerations into their assessments, planning, and project design. These concepts and strategies may be soft, but that doesn’t mean they can't also be incredibly strong.


Climate Change Beliefs and Ethical Perceptions Across the United States

Victoria DePalma (University of Idaho)     

Research determining whether Americans view climate change as an ethical issue or not is a burgeoning field. Less work has been done to determine which major ethical framework people find most persuasive when thinking about climate change as an ethical issue. Because of this gap in knowledge, I look at the three main ethical frameworks: deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics, and determine which framework Americans find most persuasive as reasoning to reduce the effects of climate change. 1,202 respondents, in a representative sample across the United States were polled. The majority of Americans find an appeal to utilitarianism most persuasive, followed by deontology, then virtue ethics. The older the person, the more likely s/he is to find utilitarianism the most persuasive reasoning. The more important religion is to someone's life, the more likely s/he is to find an appeal to deontology as more persuasive than an appeal to utilitarianism. While virtue ethics is chosen as the most persuasive reason among only 12.5% of respondents, the less likely people think climate change is a serious problem, the more likely they will see virtue ethics as the most persuasive reason to reduce the effects of climate change. This opens new opportunities to reach people that do not seriously contemplate the problems associated with climate change. This research brings insight to climate change and ethical perceptions research with more specificity, teasing out what we actually mean when we say 'ethical' in regard to climate change perceptions.


State of the Art in Stating Risk: Vulnerability Assessments for Cultural Resources in the Northwest and Beyond

Pei-Lin Yu (Boise State University) & Marcy Rockman     

The National Park Service has worked with researchers to create Vulnerability Assessments for climate change impacts to archaeological sites, tribal Traditional Cultural Properties, museum collections, historic structures, cultural landscapes, and more. This presentation shares results of a comparative analysis of these vulnerability assessments, identifies data gaps, and makes recommendations for best practices in vulnerability studies that can be applied to cultural and natural resources in other settings.


Climate Impacts on Agricultural Productivity in the Fruitful Rim

Nicholas Potter (Washington State University), Michael Brady & Kirti Rajnagopalan     

We use a matching algorithm based on the concept of climate analogues to estimate the economic effect of climate change on agriculture in the United States in the Fruitful Rim. A location is a climate analogue of another location if it is most climatically similar to that location according to a matching estimator distance metric (e.g. propensity score). We estimate climate change effects by gridding geographic space and matching the future climate of one county to the present day climate of another. Matching estimators have received a great deal of interest in economics in the last decade because they reduce bias in causal effect estimation compared to traditional regression approaches. This is a novel method that to our knowledge has not yet been used. It holds potential because it implicitly assumes farmers will adapt and respond to changing conditions in the ricardian tradition, but also can account for non-linear relationships between climate change, agricultural productivity, and profitability.

Previous efforts to estimate the effect of climate on agricultural productivity have generally used one of three approaches: agronomic, panel-data, or cross-sectional. Cross-sectional approaches benefit from a ricardian approach in which farmers are able to adapt to climate pressure by switching crops or implementing new technologies or crop varieties, but have difficulty establishing causality. Panel-data models benefit from fixed-effects to establish a causal estimate of the effect of climate on crop yields, but since net income varies so substantially from year to year, panel-data models cannot use the ricardian approach to account for farmer adaptation. As a result, where ricardian approaches are likely optimistic in their estimates of impacts, fixed-effects models are likely pessimistic.

Our approach uses climate analogues to build on the strengths of both approaches. We examine irrigated land rents, allowing for farmer adaptation to changing climate by shifting crop production to make the best possible use of their land. In addition, by using a matching process to estimate outcomes in future periods we are able to achieve a cleaner causal identification. Matching processes are increasingly used for causal inference in the economics literature to reduce imbalances in observational data.

10:00 - 11:30


Strengthening Climate Resilience Through Regional Collaboration: The Puget Sound Climate Preparedness Collaborative

Lara Whitely Binder (King County), Anna Marandi, Steve Adams & Annie Bennett     

As more communities work to prepare for climate change, many are finding that by working with their neighboring jurisdictions through regional collaboratives, they are able to catalyze action at broader regional scales and more effectively understand and address climate change impacts. Strategic regional collaboration on climate preparedness can help leverage limited resources, reduce duplication of effort, facilitate institutional learning, and increase the competitiveness of grant proposals designed to support regional preparedness needs. Additionally, regional collaboration on climate preparedness can strengthen ongoing efforts to increase community resilience to natural hazards such as droughts, wildfire, flooding, and seismic and extreme weather events. Investments in climate preparedness also provide opportunities to address broader regional inequities in health, mobility, and access to economic opportunity. Given that the impacts of climate change and other stressors cross jurisdictional lines, a collaborative approach can help to ensure that neighboring adaptation efforts complement each other, while making the best use of limited local resources and staff capacity.

This presentation will discuss the role of regional collaboratives in supporting and aligning climate preparedness efforts at local and regional scales, including in the Puget Sound region. The presentation will describe how existing collaboratives are engaging in climate preparedness efforts around the country and summarize emerging research on promising practices, factors influencing the success of collaboratives, and emerging priorities around urban-rural collaborative connections. The presentation will also reflect on experiences and insights to date in establishing the Puget Sound Climate Preparedness Collaborative, which was created in 2017 to enhance coordination and improve the outcomes of climate change preparedness efforts in the Puget Sound region.

Through this presentation, participants will develop a better understanding of how collaboratives are working across scales to advance climate preparedness efforts and how collaboration can help local jurisdictions and other partners address some of the practical challenges of preparing for climate change.


Climate Impacts Research Consortium: Lessons Learned from the Evaluation of Co-Production Projects

Iva Sokolovska (Oregon State University), Jessica Lee Andrepont & Denise Lach     

The Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) is a climate-science-to-climate-action team funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); it is a member of NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program. The internal evaluation of the last 6 years of CIRC’s work focused on the process of the co-production of knowledge. The multifaceted evaluation was based on CIRC's Reflection and Logic model and used a mixed methods design. During regular monthly meetings in 2014/15, all CIRC Principle Investigators (PIs) reflected on the co-production process and presented an evaluation of the projects on which they worked. Additionally, CIRC teams administered surveys to assess participants' experiences of the co-production process as they were engaging in it; and, semi-structured interviews were conducted with CIRC participants, purposefully targeting key informants. Results of the interviews and surveys revealed that identifying and cultivating an informant from the local stakeholder group with deep, accessible roots within the target community can lead to better co-production results than building those relationships from naught. Across projects, most participants agreed that the project (and the co-production process) increased their understanding of their local area's hazards. By the end of the project, most participants were confident that the project would produce useful results for themselves, and most participants intended to share what they had learned from this experience with their colleagues. It was, also, found that the co-production process successfully built the capacities necessary for communities to incorporate climate change into their local policy and planning discussions even after the end of CIRC's participation in their area. Finally, across the projects, the involvement of non-traditional participants — along with experts — was critical to each projects' success and an extensive amount of preparation was needed to accurately utilize co-production in stakeholder meetings to build community trust and overcome any barriers to communication.


Fired Up: Improving Washington Wildland Fire Outcomes Through Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Patricia Tillmann (Cascadia Consulting Group) & Marc Daudon     

Washington's record fire seasons in 2014 and 2015 were devastating: the loss of life, homes, and structures; damage to habitat and other natural and cultural resources; and local communities suffering from poor air quality and fewer visitors and revenue. The state spent millions of dollars in direct suppression costs, and millions more were spent mitigating the social, cultural, and economic impacts from these fires. These seasons represent a trend of large, uncharacteristic wildfires that is expected to continue due to climate change, development pressure, and other factors.

Washington state is developing a Wildland Fire Protection Strategic Plan, working with well over 500 jurisdictions representing fire responders, land managers, and communities as well as experts in forest and rangeland health and fire-adapted community practitioners. The goal is to develop a blueprint for effective wildland fire management and inform associated policy and resource decisions. Methods ranging from multi-stakeholder workshops to one-on-one interviews and an executive-level working group are being used to bridge geographic, institutional, and jurisdictional boundaries across the state and bring together those most affected by wildfire with those making resource decisions about wildfire. Crucial to this process is seeking common ground and a shared vision amid sometimes-conflicting individual mandates, constraints on time, funds and resources, and familiar silos that can occlude identification of shared objectives. Equally important is incorporating lessons learned from previous collaborative efforts in the state and the latest science on landscape resilience, climate projections, and preparedness psychology.


Best Practices for Collaborative Research Between Tribal and Non-Tribal Partners

Chas Jones & Amelia Marchand (Affiliated Tribes of NW Indians & Colville Confederated Tribes)     

Indigenous peoples occupy an important space within the history of the US federal government, it’s states, and the local governments. Many entities are very interested in or have obligations to work collaboratively with those native populations. While this type of work can be honorable and rewarding, it can also be challenging to navigate and difficult to initiate. In this talk, we introduce and discuss the key issues and best practices for non-tribal, academic, non-governmental, or agency researchers to working ethically and effectively with tribal communities. We discuss important issues, such as tribal sovereignty, self-determination, tribal consultation, and government-to-government relations. We also discuss some of the ethical considerations about working with tribes, traditional knowledge, and the protection of the sensitive information that can result from that work. We will also discuss the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center's tribal projects and their available resources for supporting tribes and tribal partners in adapting to the impacts of climatic extremes and environmental trends.

10:00 - 11:30


Data and Tools for Climate Challenges in the Northwest Electricity Sector

Organizer: Crystal Raymond, University of Washington   

Nathalie Voisin, Pacific Northwest National Lab
Sean Turner, Pacific Northwest National Lab
Oriana Chegwidden, University of Washington
Chris Frans, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Shaun Seaman, Chelan PUD
Ronda Strauch, Seattle City Light

The electric sector in the Northwest is managing multiple challenges including changes to energy markets, integrating renewable technology, transportation electrification, and a regional push for climate resilience and a low-carbon economy. Among these challenges, climatic variability, extremes, and natural hazards continue to pose challenges to regular grid operations and hydropower generation. This special session will include a set of talks on tools, data, and analysis of climate impacts to electric utilities, followed by a panel discussion (30 minutes) with representatives from electric utilities in the Northwest.

LUNCH PLENARY (provided)
11:30 AM
Grand Ballroom


State and Local Government Action on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Rep. Chris Lee, State of Hawaii   

"The Science and Strategies That Enabled Hawaii's Aggressive Climate Policies And Why Success Is Possible In The Pacific Northwest"
Hawaii has successfully passed a 100% Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2045, and a mandate for utility business model transformation in the electric sector, a statewide commitment and progress to achieve zero-emissions ground transportation by 2045, and this year's new law tying these efforts together under a single directive to achieve a zero-emissions clean economy and statewide carbon neutrality by 2045. These successes were passed with bipartisan support and with the backing of the Chamber of Commerce and business community. This success can be replicated in northwest states by translating science into actionable policy using the same strategies Hawaii did. I will cover the strategies employed, lessons learned, and outcomes of Hawaii's effort to localize and translate climate science into policy, and explain how elected officials and policy makers from Hawaii and PNW states are already coordinating behind the scenes and demonstrate that Hawaii's success can be replicated in every state.

Christopher Lee is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Hawaii House of Representatives. He was the youngest member and only millennial serving in the Hawaii State Legislature when elected in November, 2008. He currently serves as Majority Whip and Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection. He also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and commissions. Lee is a supporter of addressing climate change and has authored laws making Hawaii the first state to mandate 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, the first state to commit to economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2045, and the first state requiring all public schools and universities to upgrade and become net-zero facilities by 2035.

Steve Burgos, City of Boise     

"How Cities are Leading the Way: Urban Climate Adaptation"
Steve's experience includes over 20 years in the environmental industry as a private consultant and now public sector director. As Director, Steve is responsible for overseeing an $88.2 million annual budget and more than 250 employees. His department's responsibilities include wastewater collection and treatment; trash collection, recycling and composting; management of sustainability planning; management of the city's geothermal heating system; water resources planning, and providing engineering support for public streetlights, storm water drainage, hillside protection, flood plain review, construction management. Prior to joining the city, Steve was an environmental consultant for Brown and Caldwell Environmental Engineers and Scientists, where he served as a vice president. Steve is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in civil and environmental engineering and a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

1:00–2:30 PM

Coastal & Marine Systems — Liberty Room
Infrastructure & the Built Environment — Cinnabar Room
Collaboration & Working Across Boundaries (Special Session) — North Star Room
Tribal Communities (Special Session) — Aspen Room

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1:00 - 2:30


Ameliorating Ocean Acidification: Towards a Model Relating pCO2, Irradiance, and Leaf Area Index of Zostera Marina (Eelgrass) in Padilla Bay, WA

Tyler Tran (Western Washington University), Brooke Love, Sylvia Yang & Cinde Donoghue     

In nearshore, soft-sediment habitats of the Salish Sea, eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows have been identified as potential mitigators of ocean acidification (OA) because their photosynthetic activity can decrease pCO2, increase pH and provide refuge for organisms sensitive to OA. The diurnal light cycle controls photosynthetic production of eelgrass and therefore, along with tidal cycles, exerts strong controls on variations in pCO2 in nearshore environment. In this study, we investigate the carbon uptake rates for eelgrass under varying light, ambient pCO2 conditions and eelgrass densities (leaf area index). The magnitude of changes predicted based on experimentally derived photosynthetic rates, measured light and water depth in Padilla Bay, WA compare well with observed variability in the field. The ambient pCO2 conditions we tested, however, did not appear to be a major control in carbon uptake rates for eelgrass. Combining lab, model, and field results will strengthen our understanding of the variability of OA in the nearshore environment and help shellfish managers understand the drivers of that variability and inform further studies of its effects, such as potential OA refuge for shellfish and other sensitive organisms. 


Monitoring the Vital Trophic Triad of the Salish Sea: How Climate Change Impacts the Dynamics of Larval Crab, Forage Fish, and Juvenile Salmon

Evelyn Brown (Lummi Natural Resources), Nicholas T. Jefferson, Paul McElhany & Julie Keister     

Salmon, Dungeness crab, bivalves, and forage fish such as herring and anadromous smelt form the basis of the socio-economic and cultural underpinning of coastal tribes within the Salish Sea. The reservation system and fixed treaty fishing areas, limit cultural and economic alternatives for tribes. Habitat destruction, urbanization, pollution, and overharvest have led to precipitous declines in salmon. Now climate change, along with insufficient environmental regulatory enforcement and data needed to improve management, add to causes of declines. With less salmon and their preferred forage fish prey, the Lummi Nation has become ever more dependent on hatcheries to maintain salmon populations and crab as an economic base. Yet salmon, crab, and forage fish are intertwined in a trophic dance. Juvenile and adult salmon prefer fatty forage fish such as herring, sand lance, and smelt; in the absence of these, they eat larval, juvenile, and adult crab. Forage fish also provide a prey shelter for immature salmon from predation by marine mammals, especially seals and sea lions which also prefer the fatty forage fish. With successful hatchery program increasing the numbers of hungry juvenile salmon, the risk to crab populations is unknown if the dependency on larval crab as prey increases; ocean acidification and anthropogenic impacts on plankton community structure further threaten crab. Little is known about the dynamics and environment factors affecting trends for crab and forage fish. In contrast, salmon have monitoring programs that have long time series. In order to amend this data gap and better understand the dynamics of this vital trophic triad, Lummi Natural Resources, in partnership with other tribes, agencies, and regional organizations have initiated a lower trophic monitoring program in the Salish using light traps at nearshore sites to monitor larval crab settlement and larval forage fish abundance and zooplankton nets at offshore sites. The zooplankton program, initiated as a bottom-up trophic study of salmon prey, has multiple sites spanning US and Canadian waters in the Salish Sea. Results and trends from the light traps, zooplankton net sampling, and juvenile salmon monitoring programs will be analyzed with environmental factors such as physical ocean conditions and changes in input from watersheds to better understand the temporal and spatial patterns and critical drivers affecting the dynamics of the triad. Preliminary results from three years of these programs will be presented as well as a conceptual model of the triad and key environmental forcing factors.


City of Olympia Sea Level Rise Response Plan

Andy Haub (City of Olympia)     

The City of Olympia has long been aware of the vulnerability of its downtown to sea level rise. While currently able to protect itself from widespread flooding during high tide events, even a minimal amount of sea rise poses an untenable risk to downtown services.

City staff has over many years developed a clear technical understanding of how sea rise will affect our downtown. The dynamics and implications of marine flooding are well quantified. In 2017, our City Council directed staff to begin focused and tangible planning. Proactive implementation is necessary. The City in partnership with the Port of Olympia, and the LOTT Clean Water Alliance are near completion of a formal sea level rise response plan. The plan prioritizes strategies and investments for best responding to sea rise, while protecting downtown economic, social and environmental values. The plan identifies needed actions, estimated costs, implementation schedules and responsibilities.

The specificity of the anticipated plan presented numerous challenges but became clearer and easier to conceptualize as the effort progressed. We have provided our community with a 100-year plan to protect downtown Olympia and the necessary City programming to sustain implementation.


Effect of Climate Change on Stream Flow and Flushing Time in Western Puget Sound – A Model Study

Zhaoqing Yang (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Ning Sun & Taiping Wang     

Climate change has affected the hydrologic and thermal processes in the Pacific Northwest region, which in turn influence coastal circulation and transport processes in large estuaries as well as small embayment. There are many studies to investigate the impacts of the climate change on stream flow and coastal circulation under various future climate change scenarios using coupled regional hydrological and coastal circulation modeling approaches. However, most of these studies mainly focus on the effects of stream flows on large estuarine systems such as the entire Puget Sound basin but stream flows discharged to small coastal embayment or tidal inlets are neglected. The Western Puget Sound, which consists of Sinclair Inlet, Dyes Inlet and Liberty Bay, is a multi-inlet system that has experienced water quality problems largely attributable to stormwater runoff and low flushing rate of the system. As the climate continues to change, changes in streamflows, thermal regimes and water quality are expected to pose a greater challenge on the Western Puget Sound water systems. However, reliable assessment of impact is largely hindered by the lack of detailed, temporally and spatially varying stream flow and temperature data. In this study, the hydrological model DHSVM and coastal ocean model FVCOM were used to evaluate the importance of stream flow and heat fluxes on the hydrodynamics in this multi-inlet system. Both DHSVM and FVCOM were validated with observed stream flow and temperature, tidal elevation and current data. The coupled models were applied to simulate the effects of climate change on the variability of stream flow and temperature patterns and the change of residence time in the Western Puget Sound. Results from this modeling study will provide useful information for the development of coastal adaptation plan to mitigate the impact of climate change in the Western Puget Sound basin.

1:00 - 2:30


Preparing Stormwater Infrastructure for Climate Change Impacts in King County

Jessica Engel (King County)     

King County's stormwater management program ensures new stormwater facilities have adequate flow control and water quality treatment. Stormwater conveyance and treatment systems in unincorporated King County have been designed to accommodate runoff generated by historical rainfall patterns. As climate change is projected to shift rainfall patterns to more frequent and larger storms, it is possible that some of the stormwater system may be undersized for future conditions, with the possibility of increased flooding and need for emergency response. Stormwater program managers will learn about a grant funded program the county recently completed to assess the impacts of climate change on the precipitation patterns and stormwater infrastructure requirements as part of the County’s Surface Water Design Manual, used by developers when building new stormwater infrastructure and maintaining existing infrastructure. The goal of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of King County’s current stormwater design standards under projected future rainfall patterns and make recommendations for updating the design standards to account for climate change impacts. This analysis will inform the next Stormwater Design Manual update, and will result in long-term savings in stormwater infrastructure investment. The results show that facilities will need to be larger in the future and potential retrofits of existing systems may be needed.


Adapting for Increases in Urban Heat and Development Density: Designing the Built Environment for Climate Change

Dana Hellman (Portland State University), Jackson Voelkel & Vivek Shandas     

With new development reshaping the long-term landscape of cities, existing urban design standards and a warming climate are amplifying the effects of climate-induced stressors on infrastructure, ecosystems, and human health. Our ongoing research examines the opportunities for adaptation to one such stressor -- urban heat -- which is known to vary by as much as 15C across an urban area. We ask: (1) what landscape factors help to explain variation in microclimates across five bioclimatically distinct urban areas in the United States? (2) To what extent do sources and sinks of microclimate vary in the study regions; and (3) what urban design specifications enable an increase in urban development density, while maintaining or cooling relative local temperatures. We address the questions beginning with field collection of ambient temperatures during three one-hour periods during a heat wave in our five cities using a highly sensitive thermocouple and GPS units. We combine the data from these field campaigns with machine learning algorithms to identify the primary landscape factors creating and affecting microclimates (1x1m resolution). Using geostatistical and modeling techniques, we further create landscape surfaces that describe difference in temperatures across all five metropolitan regions. We combine information about the relatively hottest places in an urban region with knowledge about the areas imminently undergoing land use. These priority locations -- those with the relatively hottest evening temperatures along with areas that will increase in urban density -- provide a means for applying a complex fluid dynamics model, ENVI-Met, to evaluate changes in microclimates based on varying urban design specifications. Using a case study of a change from single-family to multi-family zoning in Portland (OR) -- where urban development density will increase from 16 to 64 units in one city block -- we test difference in temperatures with a combination of known ambient 'cooling strategies.' Overall, we find that six landscape variables generally help to explain 95% of the variation in urban temperatures, though the specific variable and their strengths vary across the five study cities. In addition, we find that only through the application of an extensive and diverse set of cooling strategies can changes in urban density maintain or reduce pre-development temperatures. The insights from the evaluation of the design options prompt consideration of how new developments may be more responsive to local climate effects, and what strategies are most effective.


Adapting Energy Efficient Building Design to Future Climate

Trevor Murdock (Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium), Steve Sobie, Ralph Wells, Malin Ek, Brittany Coughlin & Guido Wimmers     

Future weather files to support climate resilient building design. Local weather and climate greatly affect the construction and performance of buildings. For this reason, good quality weather data is essential when simulating building energy performance. It is well understood that climate change will affect future weather, and there is a growing interest in generating future weather files to support climate resilient building design. This presentation will report on a project that produced hourly weather files for future climate conditions in British Columbia, following the 'morphing' method proposed by Belcher et al. (2010) applied to statistically downscaled daily climate projections. The impact of climate change on a multi-unit residential building located on the University of BC campus was studied using the energy modeling software EnergyPlus. The simulated results indicate that the changing climate in Vancouver will have a significant effect on the building energy performance and the energy demand due to decrease space heating and increased cooling requirements. The weather variables adjusted were temperature, solar radiation, cloud cover, wind speed, relative humidity and atmospheric pressure. A sensitivity analysis was performed to determine the importance to heating and cooling loads of temperature relative to other parameters. This analysis also showed how representative a simple analysis based on readily available projected seasonal or annual temperature change would be vs using morphed daily statistically downscaled projections.

This analysis formed the basis for making best practice recommendations to facilitate practical and easy to implement ways that professionals can account for future climate in energy efficient building design, including explicitly using statistically downscaled projections to adjust weather files used for energy modeling.


Resilience Taking Shape: Green Infrastructure Networks for the Ecoregion

Daniel Cronan (University of Idaho)     

As our communities and regions are impacted by changes in the environment, economic pressure, and social change, resilience has emerged to combat these issues. Various solutions have been developed over the past decade to address issues such as gentrification, flooding and contamination of urban streams, and cost-effective solutions for the sustainability of our communities. Green infrastructure has proven itself as a sustainably viable solution to address many of the existing interventions that have been left to degrade from our previous planning efforts. Throughout the Northwest United States, many of these networks have been explored as solutions specific to a region. Using the ecoregion classification (Omernik, 2004), the idea of an ecoregion approach to siting and design of green infrastructure can be used to address issues in the resilient landscape. This project investigates three different ecoregions within Magic Valley, Idaho through the use of GIS tools. By using suitability analysis catered to each ecoregion, this project offers a solution for how green infrastructure interventions and networks can be sited, planned, and engineered through the lens of resilient design.

1:00 - 2:30


Mainstreaming Climate into Organizations: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Organizer: Dan Siemann, Washington Department of Natural Resources   

Lara Whitely Binder, King County
Lynn Helbrecht, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Crystal Raymond, University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group

Many organizations are attempting to integrate climate change considerations into their policies, decisions, and operations, with varied success. This special session will provide case studies from three large organizations and one sector describing the paths they are taking to mainstream climate-informed decision-making, the lessons learned, and some of the findings and changes that have resulted so far. The presentations will provide strategies and approaches that can be used by others to support integration of climate considerations into operations and decision-making.


Working Outside City Limits: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation for Remote Rural and Indigenous Communities

Organizer: Nicole DeCrappeo, USGS Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center   

Jeremy Littell, Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center
Erin Trochim, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Malinda Chase, Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center and Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association
Meade Krosby, University of Washington
Chas Jones, Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
Hannah Gosnell, Oregon State University

Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are huge western states with rural and indigenous communities spread across hundreds of thousands of square miles of land. The 4th National Conservation Assessment states clearly that rural and indigenous communities will be disproportionately affected by climate change, as their economies tend to be place-based and rely on natural and subsistence resources and practices. Climate-related hazards that threaten remote communities in Alaska and Northwest include: 1) wildfire and associated smoke effects on human health and 2) changes in the timing, amount, and quality of water available to plants, animals, and people. In this session, we explore the impacts of these climate-related hazards on rural and indigenous communities, describe some of the challenges working with remote communities, and provide examples of successful climate adaptation efforts that include direct and sustained engagement with the people affected by environmental change in these areas.



3:00 - 4:30


Safeguarding the Northwest's Economy and Environment in a Changing Climate: Opportunities and Risks in Building a Sustainable Business Future

Moderator: Julia Grant, Micron Technology Inc

Presenters/Panel Discussion:
Julia Grant, Micron Technology Inc
John Bernardo, Idaho Power Inc
Erin Mader, Idaho Forest Group
Karl Kupers, Shepherd's Grain and Columbia Plateau Producers


Closing Comments