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Identifying stakeholder-relevant climate change impacts: A case study in the Yakima River Basin, Washington, USA


Abstract and Figures

Designing climate-related research so that study results will be useful to natural resource managers is a unique challenge. While decision makers increasingly recognize the need to consider climate change in their resource management plans, and climate scientists recognize the importance of providing locally-relevant climate data and projections, there often remains a gap between management needs and the information that is available or is being collected. We used decision analysis concepts to bring decision-maker and stakeholder perspectives into the applied research planning process. In 2009 we initiated a series of studies on the impacts of climate change in the Yakima River Basin (YRB) with a four-day stakeholder workshop, bringing together managers, stakeholders, and scientists to develop an integrated conceptual model of climate change and climate change impacts in the YRB. The conceptual model development highlighted areas of uncertainty that limit the understanding of the potential impacts of climate change and decision alternatives by those who will be most directly affected by those changes, and pointed to areas where additional study and engagement of stakeholders would be beneficial. The workshop and resulting conceptual model highlighted the importance of numerous different outcomes to stakeholders in the basin, including social and economic outcomes that go beyond the physical and biological outcomes typically reported in climate impacts studies. Subsequent studies addressed several of those areas of uncertainty, including changes in water temperatures, habitat quality, and bioenergetics of salmonid populations.
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Identifying stakeholder-relevant climate change impacts:
A case study in the Yakima River Basin, Washington, USA
K. Jenni &D. Graves &J. Hardiman &J. Hatten &
M. Mastin &M. Mesa &J. Montag &T. Nieman &F. Voss &
A. Maule
Received: 22 June 2012 /Accepted: 24 May 2013 / Published online: 20 June 2013
#U.S. Government 2013
Abstract Designing climate-related research so that study results will be useful to natural
resource managers is a unique challenge. While decision makers increasingly recognize the
need to consider climate change in their resource management plans, and climate scientists
recognize the importance of providing locally-relevant climate data and projections, there
often remains a gap between management needs and the information that is available or is
being collected. We used decision analysis concepts to bring decision-maker and stakeholder
perspectives into the applied research planning process. In 2009 we initiated a series of
studies on the impacts of climate change in the Yakima River Basin (YRB) with a four-day
stakeholder workshop, bringing together managers, stakeholders, and scientists to develop
Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384
DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0806-4
This article is part of a Special Topic on "Stakeholder Input to Climate Change Research in the Yakima River
Basin, WA" edited by Alec Maule and Stephen Waste.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0806-4)
contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
K. Jenni
Insight Decisions LCC, 2200 Quitman Street, Denver, CO 80212, USA
D. Graves
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, 729 NE Oregon Street, Suite 200, Portland
OR 97232, USA
J. Hardiman :J. Hatten :M. Mesa :A. Maule (*)
U.S. Geological Survey, WFRC, Columbia River Research Laboratory, 5501A Cook-Underwood Road,
Cook, WA 98605, USA
J. Montag
U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, 2150 Centre Avenue, Building C, Fort Collins, CO
80526, USA
T. Nieman
Decision Applications, Inc., 1390 Grove Court, Saint Helena, CA 94574, USA
M. Mastin :F. Voss
U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Water Science Center, 934 Broadway, Suite 300, Tacoma,
WA 98402, USA
an integrated conceptual model of climate change and climate change impacts in the YRB.
The conceptual model development highlighted areas of uncertainty that limit the under-
standing of the potential impacts of climate change and decision alternatives by those who
will be most directly affected by those changes, and pointed to areas where additional study
and engagement of stakeholders would be beneficial. The workshop and resulting concep-
tual model highlighted the importance of numerous different outcomes to stakeholders in the
basin, including social and economic outcomes that go beyond the physical and biological
outcomes typically reported in climate impacts studies. Subsequent studies addressed several
of those areas of uncertainty, including changes in water temperatures, habitat quality, and
bioenergetics of salmonid populations.
1 Introduction
Climate scientists and climate change researchers face a tremendous set of challenges,
extending from the fundamental difficulties of modeling the global climate system to questions
of how to make their data and analyses useful to resource managers and decision makers who
need to take potential climate impacts into account. Numerous ways of making this information
more useful are being explored, including the use of regional climate models and downscaling
of global models to more accurately project local and regional changes (Pierce et al. 2009),
learning what laypeople know and understand about climate change and tailoring risk commu-
nications to their mental models (Reynolds et al. 2010), improving the ways we communicate
about climate change and related uncertainties (Webster 2003), and including stakeholders in
local climate-related modeling and decision-making (Tidwell et al. 2004). From the decision-
making perspective, there is also recognition of the need to take climate change into account in
planning and management (Washington State Department of Ecology 2008; Interagency
Climate Change Adaptation Task Force 2011).
The impacts of climate change on water quantity and quality (including water temperature)
exacerbate the difficulties faced by water and natural resource managers and by modelers (Milly
et al. 2008). Perhaps because water management issues are so often contentious, there is a trend
towards comprehensive integrated assessments with direct stakeholder involvement in water
modeling and management (Tidwell et al. 2004;Holzkämperetal.2012). The first action plan
from the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force (2011) focuses on managing
freshwater systems, and one of the key recommendations is improve water resources and
climate change information for decision-making.The Western GovernorsAssociation (2008)
states that water managers should take the initiative to clearly communicate their needs for
applied science to the climate research community…”
A significant amount of work has been done on modeling climate change and the impacts of
climate change on hydrological systems in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region of the United
States (Mote et al. 2003). The Columbia River Basin (CRB) dominates the PNW and is
characterized by diverse hydroclimatic, physiographic, and ecologic regimens. Biologic-and
water-related issues are influenced by a multitude of factors including economic, social,
Federal and State interests, and Tribal trust interests. To prepare for the effects of climate change
in the PNW, it is imperative to forecast the effects of climate change on aquatic habitats, fish
health, fish and wildlife populations and vegetation in the basin. Furthermore, to make that work
meaningful to those most affected by the changes, it is important to connect those physical and
ecologic changes to economic and social factors that affect the day-to-day lives of the local human
populations. The objective of this study was to develop a conceptual model of potential climate
change impacts on stakeholder objectives to provide direction for a series of physical, biological,
social and economic studies that addressed climate change in the Yakima River Basin (YRB).
372 Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384
2 Methods
We used Decision Analysis (DA) methods to frame and structure a conceptual model of
water resource and water management issues within the YRB, with the direct involvement of
decision-makers and stakeholders. DA approaches have been used in similar contexts
elsewhere, generally focused on using the methods to better understand stakeholder objec-
tives to inform specific policy decisions (Marttunen and Hämäläinen 2008).
2.1 Decision analysis
DA is a broadly accepted and widely used method for evaluating complex decisions involving
uncertainty and multiple competing objectives (Clemen 1996). Three main steps in the DA
process are framing, modeling, and execution. In practice there is interaction between these
steps and the process is iterative. In framing, the focus is on developing a robust picture of the
decision problems: understanding who the decision-makers and stakeholders are, what types of
decisions each can make, and what are the outcomes of interest to each. This stage typically
includes defining the specific decision options to be considered and developing a set of detailed
attributes that can be used to value and compare the options. Modeling includes both conceptual
modeling, where the structure of the problem is defined to make explicit connections between
decisions and outcomes and to identify the uncertainties that affect the outcomes, and quanti-
fication of the model. The DA model is designed to provide information and support for the
final step,wheredecision-makers choose and implement management actions. Careful attention
to detail in the framing step and active engagement with decision-makers and stakeholders
helps to streamline the analysisand reduces the chances of developing a decision support model
that is disconnected from the actual decisions it is intended to support.
Traditional DA studies are designed to evaluate and compare well-defined decision options
under conditions of uncertainty. The DA application described herein differed from the
traditional DA study in two important ways. The primary difference was that the ultimate goal
of this study was not to build a complete model that could make recommendations for one or
more specific decisions. Rather, we framed the problem from the perspective of water resource
managers, but the goal was to help applied scientists design and tailor their studies to produce
results that would be broadly useful to those decision-makers and relevant to the stakeholders
affected by climate change, across a range of decisions that might be considered. The second
difference is the treatment of uncertainty. As noted by Polasky et al. (2011), a traditional,
complete decision analysis requires that all major uncertainties be quantified probabilistically,
while uncertainties in future climate are not typically modeled that way. Indeed, most climate
projections are done for a set of standard emission scenarios using a suite of models, and neither
the models nor the scenarios are assigned probabilities (IPCC 2000), and that is how un-
certainties were treated in the development of the conceptual model described below. While
textbook descriptions of DA often emphasize fully quantified analyses of individual decisions,
the DA process can be highly effective in identifying decision-maker information needs, and
used effectively in structuring and integrating models even absent the ability to fully quantify all
relevant uncertainties (Gregory et al. 2005; Coleman et al. 2006).
2.2 Framing and conceptual modeling
In the context of framing local and regional water management decisions, the first step was
to identify decision-makers and stakeholders and the types of decisions they make regarding
managing water and adapting to climate change. This focus on and inclusion of the
Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384 373
perspectives of stakeholders and decision makers in is becoming more common in environmental
analyses (e.g., Voinov and Bousquet 2010,Liuetal.2008, Marttunen and Hämäläinen 2008). For
this case study, the first step established the context for a conceptual decision-support model, and
for identifying what additional science might be useful. The next step was to identify a set of
objectives that represent what the decision-makers and stakeholders would want to know in order
to make decisions. As is common practice in DA (Keeney 2007), multiple approaches for
generating objectives were used, including brainstorming, structuring objectives into categories
and expanding, and discussing both the common and dissimilar objectives from various stake-
holder perspectives. The focus of the discussion was more on the breadth of the objectives
identified than on defining any particular objective in great depth, consistent with the goal of this
study to help design and tailor better applied science projects. Had the goal of the study been to
support specific water management decisions, more detailed objectives would likely have been
required. Early in the framing process each outcome that is of interest to the decision-makers is
specified independently. While no single management alternative is likely to achieve all objec-
tives, it is useful to clearly identify the characteristics of an ideal solution first, and to defer
discussion of the tradeoffs or balancing of different objectives to later in the process.
The frame was completed by identifying some of the major uncertainties that make it difficult
to predict decision outcomes. Once a decision framework was established, problem structuring
and modeling tools, including influence diagrams, assessment techniques, and simulation-based
modeling could be used to create a conceptual model linking climate change and associated
environmental stressors to their impacts on the objectives and outcomes of interest identified in the
framing steps. In the course of this project, we used influence diagrams to develop a conceptual
model, and then developed some simplified quantitative modeling using estimated data based on
the knowledge of stakeholders present, to illustrate how the overall conceptual model could
effectively link climate change impacts and decisions to outcomes of interest to decision-makers.
This process and the resulting conceptual model highlighted areas of uncertainty that could be
topics of future research. This is similar to the process used by Young et al. (2011) in its use of
conceptual models to identify scientific uncertainties, and differs by explicitly recognizing
stakeholder interests within the conceptual model structure and the need to connect technical
questions to decision-maker interests.
2.3 The case study: Yakima river basin
To test and illustrate the usefulness of direct stakeholder involvement, DA framing and conceptual
modeling early in the design of research, we conducted a four-day framing workshop involving
representative decision-makers and stakeholders interested in water management issues in the
YRB, along with members of our research team, who together created a conceptual model of
water management issues. That conceptual model, and the workshop discussion themselves, were
then used to redesign and focus on a set of connected, interdisciplinary studies of the effects of
climate change on flow, habitat, and fish population health so that the results of those studies could
be more clearly connected to local economic and social impacts of those changes. Our ultimate
goal as a research team was to design the studies that followed this workshop so that they would
produce information of value to the decision-makers and stakeholders across a variety of water
and natural resource management decisions.
2.3.1 Study location and climate impacts
The Yakima River is a tributary of the Columbia River in arid eastern Washington State. The
CRB stretches from British Columbia through Washington State, forming much of the
374 Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384
border between Washington and Oregon, and Oregon and Idaho (via the Snake River),
before discharging to the Pacific Ocean. The YRB covers over 16,000 km
, with its
headwaters in the snowy, high Cascade Mountains (annual precipitation >250 cm) and its
mouth in the desert (annual precipitation ~15 cm) (Fig. 1). Currently the YRB has water
storage capacity of 1.23 km
(1 million acre-feet), which represents about 30 % of annual
runoff. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, however, is committed to supply 2.09 km
irrigate over 182,000 ha (450,000 acres) of crop lands and, in dry years they cannot meet that
commitment (Washington State Department of Ecology 2009). Since 1990, the population of
Yakima County has increased by about 29 % and that growth is projected to continue into
the foreseeable future (U.S. Census Bureau 2012). Population growth has an impact on
water balance in the YRB as many new homes and developments rely on water from
unregulated wells (Washington State Department of Ecology 2009), resulting in potentially
significant, but unquantified, withdrawals from groundwater. All of these factors mean that
water management in the YRB is quite challenging even under current climate conditions,
and projected changes will only increase those challenges.
Two comprehensive summaries (Miles et al. 2000;Moteetal.2003)describesomeofthe
anticipated effects of climate change in the PNW. Since 1900, average temperatures in the PNW
have increased by 1.0 °C, which is 50 % greater than the global average. Global climate models
predict that in the next 30 to 50 years the PNW will experience slight increases in winter
precipitation and decreases in summer precipitation, and about a 0.5 °C increase in average
temperature per decade. The temperature increase means that more of winter precipitation will
come as rain rather than snow, leading to significant changes in water storage and runoff timing
and patterns. Imposed on these general trends in the future will be the El Niño/Southern
Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which determine warm and dry or cool
and wet trends in the PNW. Recent rapid, sustained declines in mass of glaciers in the Cascade
Mountains suggest that climate change is having a greater effect than past PDO-induced
variations in glacier mass-balance records (Miles et al. 2000;Moteetal.2003)
Climate-induced changes in flow regimes will affect aquatic ecosystems that are depen-
dent on surface water runoff patterns and groundwater recharge potential, as well as water
available for other uses. In general, watersheds of the CRB in eastern Washington, Oregon,
and southern Idaho (such as the YRB) are predicted to be the most vulnerable as they are
generally composed of wide, shallow streams at lower elevation and often lack riparian
cover in a relatively arid region (Miles et al. 2000; Mote et al. 2003). In the CRB about 25
stocks of salmonids are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) indicating popula-
tions of these important species of the aquatic ecosystems are already stressed (NOAA
2011). In the future, Pacific salmon will be subjected to continuing and potentially increased
predation pressure from non-native game fish and other invasive species which may thrive
under altered habitat conditions. Recent reviews of climate change in the CRB suggest that
habitat restoration is the most likely action to successfully mitigate the effects of climate
change (Mantua and Francis 2004).
Irrigated agriculture is one of the primary economic activities in the YRB, and Yakima
County is the nations leader in apple production and the states leader in pear, cherry, peach,
plum, asparagus, and sweet corn production. Vano et al. (2009) conducted a detailed
evaluation of the effects of climate change and changes in water availability on irrigated
agriculture in the YRB, with an emphasis on the economic impacts of those changes on
apple and cherry farming. Vano et al. (2009) found that water allocations are likely to be
reduced by an amount sufficient to affect crop productivity much more frequently in the
future than they have been in the past, leading to a reduction in the annual value of apple and
cherry production in the YRB by 4 % to 25 % under various climate scenarios.
Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384 375
2.3.2 Stakeholder workshop
The inclusion of representative decision-makers and stakeholders in development of an inte-
grated conceptual model of the YRB was a key element for ensuring that subsequent research
products were relevant, useful and usable for making important decisions. To insure broad
representation, workshop invitations were extended to members of the Yakima River Basin
Water Enhancement Project working group (USBR United States Bureau of Reclamation
2009). This group includes representatives from municipal, county, State, Federal and Tribal
governments, leaders of irrigation districts, and several non-governmental organizations.
Twelve members of this group, five members of our research team and two decision analysts
participated in the workshop, which was held in July 2009 in Yakima, WA.
The goals of the workshop were to (1) develop a shared conceptual framework for
conducting and integrating climate-related research in the YRB, (2) use the resulting
conceptual model as an organizing framework for ongoing and planned work by our
research team in the YRB, and (3) ensure that subsequent modeling focused on issues of
most relevance to the decisions being considered and to stakeholder goals. In developing the
framework, our aim was to identify relevant climate-related environmental stressors affect-
ing YRB ecosystems, as well as land-owner and policy-maker objectives for water
Fig. 1 The Yakima River in south-central Washington State. Notes: Rectangles (on the left) represent water
management decisions, and hexagons (on the right) represent outcomes of interest to Yakima River Basin
stakeholders. Oval nodes are values which are fundamentally uncertain, rounded rectangles represent values
calculated from other variables, and bold rounded rectangles represent sub-models. Arrows represent the
relationship between the various factors and small arrow heads indicate a relationship between the factor
shown and variables outside of the submodel
376 Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384
management, the various management approaches and changes that are considered possible
and for which forecasts and information would be useful, and relationships between those
changes and changes in ecosystem services.
3 Results
The result of the workshop was a conceptual model of how the stakeholders view the
relationships between broadly stated objectives for water management, the actions or de-
cisions they could take toward meeting those objectives, and the effects of climate change on
the effectiveness of those actions and on outcomes of interest to them. The specifics of the
conceptual model (Fig. 2) are described in the sections below.
3.1 Framing
Dozens of decision-makers and stakeholders were identified, ranging from those whose
decision-making authority is obvious (e.g., the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation manages flow on
the Yakima River) to those who are likely to be significantly affected by climate change and
water management decisions, but who do not have the ability to make management decisions
directly (e.g., current and future business owners and residents of municipalities in the YRB,
whose water rights and water costs will be affected). We identified decision-makers in four
categories: (1) regulators, (2) intermediaries, (3) water users, and (4) recreational industry and
environmental advocacy groups. The Supplementary Material (SM Table SM-1)includes
examples of specific decision makers and the types of decisions they make.
Participants spent half a day in facilitated discussions of water management objectives
from the perspective of several different stakeholders, and then developed a combined list of
high-level, broadly stated objectives (Right side of Figure 2), which, if all could be
accomplished, would maximize the benefits of water use in the YRB:
&Maximize environmental benefits, including water and habitat quality and quantity, and
species health for plants and animals dependent on the river
&Minimize adverse impacts on public health, both directly through ensuring safe and
sufficient water supply and indirectly by maintaining food availability
&Maximize economic benefits, including economic benefits from agriculture, recreation,
and community development
&Maximize social benefits
&Minimize costs of water and water management for management agencies and end-users
&Maximize ability of Tribal and other groups to exercise their water-related rights (i.e., specific
legal rights to volume and timing of water use, and to a portion of the salmon fishery).
Workshop participants were familiar with the ongoing work associated with the Final
Environmental Impact Statement: Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource
Management Alternative (FEIS; Washington State Department of Ecology 2009), released just
prior to the workshop. They viewed the seven elements of a water resource plan identified
within the FEIS as potential decisions that the management agencies could control and take
action on. Those seven elements were: (1) fish passage at existing reservoirs; (2) structural and
operational changes to existing hydro facilities; (3) new or expanded reservoir systems; (4)
ground water storage; (5) fish habitat enhancements; (6) enhanced water conservation; and (7)
market-based reallocation (i.e., buying and selling water rights) of water resources. These seven
Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384 377
elements were examples of the types of decisions that would need to be evaluated in the YRB
and for which additional science might be useful. Participants included these concepts in the
broad context of water management decisions and climate change impacts over the next
50 years. These elements are represented in the full conceptual model as four categories of
Fig. 2 Conceptual model illustrating Yakima River Basin water uses, water management options and
objectives and key uncertainties. Notes: Light grey highlights factors that are directly influenced by climate,
and darker grey highlights factors that can be directly affected by one or more of the management options
identified in the framing step
378 Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384
decisionsabout: (1) new or expanded reservoir systems, (2) reservoir management, (3) potential
habitat enhancements, and (4) ground water management (Fig. 2, rectangles on left). Arrows in
Fig. 2show influences between the various factors and sub-models: the light grey colored sub-
model labeled Future climateon the left of the figure represents uncertainty related to global
climate change and, as illustrated by the numerous arrows from this box, this uncertainty affects
almost every element of the conceptual model.
3.2 Conceptual model
After defining the decision framework, we focused on identifying critical uncertainties that
will determine how outcomes would unfold under different decisions, strategies and climate
scenarios. The conceptual model shown in Fig. 2was developed by constructing influence
diagrams interactively during the workshop. Participants organized the model by first
considering the flow of water through the basin: from snowpack, rainfall, groundwater
return flows and the tributaries through the reservoirs (Total water supply is on the left of
the figure, with detail in the bottom left), through the main stem Yakima River, with water
stored, removed, and returned to the river for agricultural, municipal and residential, and
other uses (the submodels in the middle portion of the figure, with some details in the bottom
right, and additional detail in Fig. 3). The various water uses, including in-stream flows and
its effects on fish populations lead to impacts on the water management objectives, or
outcomes of interest to stakeholders in the YRB. This water ultimately flows to the
Columbia River and to the ocean, and factors outside of the YRB do have some effects on
conditions within the basin (illustrated with the left-to-right flow of Fig. 2).
Given this basic flow, we added detail to several of the water uses and connected water
availability and use to the fundamental study objectives by adding climate-affected factors
Fig. 3 Conceptual model (sub-model) of the Yakima River Basin fishery (for anadromous salmonids)
Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384 379
and their influences, and by highlighting areas where the identified management options
could be applied to modify outcomes. For example, Fig. 3illustrates some of the detail
developed for the Fish health and population in the YRBsub-model from the bottom of
Fig. 2. To develop this detail, workshop participants started with a fundamental
objectivedefining Fish population health(in this case focusing entirely on anadromous
salmonids) as a reasonable proxy for the objective of maximizing environmental benefits
and then worked backwards to identify what they would need to know to estimate the health
of salmonid populations in the YRB. For each element of the conceptual model, participants
discussed current knowledge and information available to provide input on the variable,
providing an indication of the level of uncertainty and pointers to research that could be used
in the design of future studies related to that element. For example, projections of water flow
under future climate scenarios (an element of Fig. 3) have been made for the Yakima main
stem (Mastin, 2008), but not for the tributaries.
While there are a number of native and non-native fish species in the YRB, stakeholders
agreed that anadromous salmonids were the most important. This is especially true for the
Yakama Tribe, for whom salmon were historically a key element of their diet and their tribal
well-being (Montag et al. 2013). Indeed, based on stakeholder preferences discussed at the
workshop, our subsequent research focus was shifted from resident bull trout (Salvelinus
confluentus) to anadromous steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss; Hardiman and Mesa 2013).
Given this importance and the constraints of the workshop schedule, we focused the
fisheriesportion of the conceptual model on anadromous salmonids.
The health of these fisheries could be measured, to a first order, by the number of fish of each
species, species diversity and the genetic integrity of the salmon populations. The total number
of fish in a salmon population depends on the success of each stage in its life-cycle, three of
which occur wholly within the YRB (spawning, incubation, and rearing), two of which occur
largely outside the basin (outmigration and ocean survival) and the last of which (adult
spawning runs) occurs both outside and inside the YRB. Fish harvest affects the total number
of fish in the basin (Fig. 3); fish harvest in turn has the potential to yield economic, social and
cultural benefits, outcomes of interest to stakeholders. As shown in Fig. 3, key factors identified
as affecting the in-basin stages of their life cycles include availability of suitable habitat
(including water depth and flow rate), water temperature and food availability and needs, and
all of these factors are expected to be impacted by climate change.
Based on previous work and with the expertise present at the workshop, we conducted an
illustrative quantification of this portion of the conceptual model to test how much could be
done with the model and whether and where additional modeling and quantification would be
beneficial. Mastin (2008) developed a flow model for the Yakima River, building from climate
downscaling completed by Mote et al. (2003). Thus, Mastin (2008) created two climate change
scenarios based on a 1 °C and a 2 °C increased air temperature from current conditions to
represent an early decade (i.e., 20202029) and a mid-decade (i.e., 20402049) of the 21st
century. These two scenarios were used directly (projected stream flows) and indirectly (water
temperature as a function of changes in air temperature) in the illustrative calculations and are
represented as Future Climatein Fig. 3. Insights from a Pacific salmonid habitat decision
support system previously developed for the YRB (Bovee et al. 2008)wereusedtoestimate
how changes in flow and water temperature might affect the amount of suitablehabitat
available. No data were available to support estimates of how changes in the amount of
available habitat would affect salmonid populations, but participants were comfortable saying
that less habitat would lead to smaller populations. Clearly, the illustrative quantification
became both more narrow (habitat suitability can only be judged on a species- and life-stage-
specific basis) and more speculative (less spawning habitat leads to fewer salmon) as we
380 Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384
worked through the process from flow to the economic impacts from salmonid harvests, which
helped to highlight possible research needs. Portions of this illustrative quantification are
described in the SM, and the identified research needs are described in other papers of this issue.
A preliminary model of factors affecting agriculture and agricultural economics (for crops
only) in the YRB was developed and some illustrative quantification of that model was also
conducted during the workshop (SM, Figure SM-1 and associated discussion).
4 Discussion
4.1 Making applied science useful to decision makers
The primary goal of this study was to develop a sound conceptual model and an associated
qualitative decision logic, understanding and specifying the type of information that would
be useful for stakeholdersdecisions, before focusing on quantifying the uncertainties and
the relationships between problem elements. This conceptual model was intended to provide
a suitable framework for putting the present research (focused on increasing our understanding of
the impacts of climate change on salmonid populations in the YRB) into a decision-relevant
context. Kragt et al. (2013) argue that models and modellers greatly facilitate integrated research
projects, by bringing together various technical disciplines around a common problem definition;
we have found this to be the case in our work as well. The illustrative quantification of portions of
the model helped workshop participants develop a relatively complete model, as they identified
more uncertainties and more influencing factors during the quantification step than during the
general development of the conceptual model. The rigorous exercise of attempting to trace and
quantify the impact of climate change at a high level (such as changes in precipitation and
temperature) through to impacts on things that are of fundamental importance to stakeholders
(such as salmon populations and economic impacts on agriculture) revealed new questions and
new uncertainties, which were the basis of other papers of this issue.
The economic and social impacts of changes in climate and associated changes in water
supply were highlighted by participants in the stakeholder workshop as being some of the
most critical outcomes of interest to them. Yakima County is the largest contributor to
Washington States $9.5 billion agriculture industry, but the importance of water-dependent
tourism (e.g., fishing, river rafting) is increasing. For this conceptual model and the subse-
quent applied research to support water managers and their decisions effectively, it was
essential that we considered outcomes that were of fundamental interest to them and other
decision-makers. In this context, that meant providing information that went beyond flow
projections, and providing that information in a form and context that was meaningful to the
decision-makers and will ultimately allow decision-makers to consider tradeoffs between
alternative strategies. While the economic and social impacts models have not yet been fully
developed, some model development and illustrative quantification of impacts on agriculture
and fisheries were developed, and is described in the SM.
The most powerful insight from the DA framing and conceptual model development was
that science applications and modeling results were much more useful to stakeholders if the
evaluation pushed through to outcomes that were of fundamental interest to those stake-
holders. For example, participants were interested in fish health in the YRB generally, but
they were much more interested in the implications of healthy anadromous salmon popula-
tions on the quality of life in the YRB. Healthy salmon populations provide social and
economic benefits to the community, in addition to their value as an environmental resource.
Extending more traditional science analyses to forecast or enhance our understanding of the
Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384 381
full value of salmon highlights tradeoffs and factors not typically considered in a fish
population health study (see for example, Montag et al. 2013).
Stakeholders clearly recognized that decisions and uncertainties that influence the avail-
ability of water to support salmon populations necessarily affect how much water is
available for other uses (e.g., agriculture, municipal use), and models or studies which
ignore this basic fact were of little interest to them. Clearly recognizing that tradeoffs are
necessary was critical to stakeholder buy-in and interest in research results. The development
of conceptual models as illustrated here, with the involvement of decision-makers and
stakeholders, provides a useful framework for recognizing and communicating those
tradeoffs and explaining the usefulness of more narrowly-defined studies. For example,
the conceptual model (Fig. 2) can be used to explain why it is important to understand how
habitat quality and quantity will change under different climate scenarios and decisions:
because habitat affects the health of fish populations, which is both a direct environmental
consequence of interest and a contributor to economic benefits in the YRB.
Finally, the conceptual model development provides a platform to highlight areas of
uncertainty that limit the understanding of the potential impacts of climate change and
decision alternatives by those who will be most directly affected by those changes, and
indicates areas where both additional study and additional engagement of stakeholders
would be beneficial. For example, it would be useful to examine the effect of habitat
availability (Hatten et al. 2013) on salmon population sizes, to strengthen the connection
between habitat modeling and salmon populations. It would also be useful to better
understand the relationship between salmon growth rates at various life stages and salmon
survival, extending bioenergetics modeling results (Hardiman and Mesa 2013), which look
at effects on individual fish, through to implications for fish populations.
4.2 Impacts of the case study workshop on subsequent research
Our goal for the DA framing workshop was to develop a shared conceptual framework for
conducting and integrating decision-relevant, climate-related research in the YRB. A second
near-term goal was to use the discussions and resulting conceptual model to ensure that
research initiated by some of us addressed issues of interest and relevance to decision-
makers and stakeholders. Several key issues raised by stakeholders during the course of the
discussions and conceptual modeling led to changes in the scope of our planned research.
The most significant of these stakeholder-driven modifications to planned research were (a)
addition of modeling focused on predicting climate-driven changes to water temperatures in
the lower main stem Yakima River, critical habitat for ocean and spawning migrations of
Pacific salmon (Voss and Maule 2013), (b) change in one of the focal species for bioener-
getics modeling to steelhead, which spawn and rear in lower elevation, potentially warmer
tributary streams (Hardiman and Mesa 2013), (c) addition of water temperature modeling of
these lower elevation tributaries to the Yakima River (Graves and Maule 2013) and (d)
identification of two areas where economic and social implications of climate change could
be usefully modeled based on data available from other research and monitoring agencies in
the YRB (SM and Montag et al. 2013). Thus, in this study we have shown that DA concepts
and activities can be used successfully to define and formulate stakeholder needs, while
guiding research that extends our understanding of the effects of climate change on natural
resources and aids decision-makers as they deal with uncertainty.
Acknowledgements We thank the workshop participants, Lynne Koontz, and Jennifer Thorvaldson for their
support, and the reviewers for many helpful suggestions. Funding was provided by U.S. Geological Survey,
382 Climatic Change (2014) 124:371384
Science Applications and Decision Support Program. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for
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Supplementary resource (1)

... In this introductory article we provide an overview and synthesis of five successive articles that focus on the development of methods and tools useful for evaluating potential climatechange effects on cultural and fisheries resources in the YRB. Jenni et al. (2013) identifies stakeholder-relevant climate change issues in the YRB (e.g., objectives, water uses and management options, climate change uncertainty) with decision analysis and presents a conceptual model. Montag et al. (2014) explores cultural values and components that influence tribal well-being and uses the conceptual model to illustrate how federal natural resource managers can incorporate intangible tribal cultural components into their decision-making. ...
... A conceptual model that highlights climate-related research useful to natural resource managers is described in Jenni et al. (2013;Fig. 2). ...
... Importantly, managers identified that they can offset some of these uncertainties related to climate change with new or expanded reservoirs, groundwater and reservoir management, and fish habitat enhancements. An expanded fisheries sub-model (Jenni et al. 2013;Fig. 3) focuses on habitat requirements for anadromous salmonids. ...
Full-text available
We provide an overview of an interdisciplinary special issue that examines the influence of climate change on people and fish in the Yakima River Basin, USA. Jenni et al. (2013) addresses stakeholder-relevant climate change issues, such as water availability and uncertainty, with decision analysis tools. Montag et al. (2014) explores Yakama Tribal cultural values and well-being and their incorporation into the decision-making process. Graves and Maule (2012) simulates effects of climate change on stream temperatures under baseline conditions (1981–2005) and two future climate scenarios (increased air temperature of 1 °C and 2 °C). Hardiman and Mesa (2013) looks at the effects of increased stream temperatures on juvenile steelhead growth with a bioenergetics model. Finally, Hatten et al. (2013) examines how changes in stream flow will affect salmonids with a rule-based fish habitat model. Our simulations indicate that future summer will be a very challenging season for salmonids when low flows and high water temperatures can restrict movement, inhibit or alter growth, and decrease habitat. While some of our simulations indicate salmonids may benefit from warmer water temperatures and increased winter flows, the majority of simulations produced less habitat. The floodplain and tributary habitats we sampled are representative of the larger landscape, so it is likely that climate change will reduce salmonid habitat potential throughout particular areas of the basin. Management strategies are needed to minimize potential salmonid habitat bottlenecks that may result from climate change, such as keeping streams cool through riparian protection, stream restoration, and the reduction of water diversions. An investment in decision analysis and support technologies can help managers understand tradeoffs under different climate scenarios and possibly improve water and fish conservation over the next century.
... (ii) Matching information with user needs The uptake of climate information can be supported by matching it with specific user needs. This can only be done through interaction between producers and users to define the most relevant question for their needs ( Berkhout et al., 2014;Jenni et al., 2014). For example, climate information producers can gain a better understanding of what information will best support decision makers, as well as appreciating the political and socio-economic context within which decisions are taken. ...
... Thus, the efforts to integrate climate information into decision-making encounter challenges that are immediately observable and more easily documentable. However, there are fewer cases where the identified enabling factors are directly documented based on the successful application of climate information ( Barron et al., 2012;Corburn 2009;Jenni et al., 2014;Romsdahl 2011). In many cases, the enabling factors identified are practical responses to the observed and experienced challenges ( de Bremond et al. 2014;Camp et al., 2013;David et al., 2013;Runhaar et al., 2012;Srinivasan et al., 2011). ...
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We carry out a structured review of the peer-reviewed literature to assess the factors that constrain and enable the uptake of long-term climate information in a wide range of sectoral investment and planning decisions. Common applications of long-term climate information are shown to relate to urban planning and infrastructure, as well as flood and coastal management. Analysis of the identified literature highlights five categories of constraints: disconnection between users and producers of climate information, limitations of climate information, financial and technical constraints, political economy and institutional constraints and finally psycho-social constraints. Five categories of enablers to the uptake of long-term climate information in decision-making are also identified: collaboration and bridge work, increased accessibility of climate information, improvement in the underlying science, institutional reform and windows of opportunity for building trust. Policy relevance Our review suggests that stand-alone interventions aimed at promoting the uptake of climate information into decision-making are unlikely to succeed without genuine and sustained relationships between producers and users. We also highlight that not every decision requires consideration of long-term climate information for successful outcomes to be achieved. This is particularly the case in the context of developing countries, where the immediacy of development challenges means that decision makers often prioritize short-term interventions. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that information is targeted towards investments and planning decisions that are relevant to longer-term timescales.
... Especially relevant for coastal northern California tribes, projected climate changes increase the risks to salmon (Di mer 2013; Jenni et al. 2014;Montag et al. 2014). Increased sea level rise and ocean temperatures, along with ocean acidifi cation, increase risks of inundation of shellfi sh beds , pathogens that cause shellfi sh poisoning (Cozze o et al. 2013;Sloan and Hostler 2014), and damage to shellfi sh populations, which can cause cascading eff ects in food and ecological systems upon which some tribes depend (Feely et al. 2012;Dalton, Mote, and Snover 2013;Lynn et al. 2013). ...
... Ocean warming affects salmon and other fish on which Pacific Coast tribes rely for subsistence, livelihoods, and cultural identity. 307,317,318,319,320 Ocean warming and acidification, as well as sea level rise, increase risks to shellfish beds (which reduces access for traditional harvesting), 298 pathogens that cause shellfish poisoning, 307,311 and damage to shellfish populations, which can cause cascading effects in food and ecological systems upon which some tribes depend. 298,321 Although Indigenous peoples have adapted to climate variations in the past, historical intergenerational trauma, extractive infrastructure, and socioeconomic and political pressures 322,323 reduce their adaptive capacity to current and future climate change (Ch 15: Tribes, KM 1 and 3). ...
... In Australia, a number of LSR programs exist (Grice et al. 2012;Hill et al. 2012;Moritz et al. 2013;Jackson and Douglas 2015) and have achieved major environmental conservation outcomes [e.g., feral pig exclusion fencing to protect coastal wetlands (Ens et al. 2016;Waltham and Schaffer 2018), weed control, community education and water health monitoring (Grice et al. 2012)]. In addition to on-ground restoration and protection of natural landscape features, these collaborative research partnerships (Dobbs et al. 2016) contribute to mutual beneficial transfer of knowledge and understanding of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (Bohensky and Maru 2011;Jenni et al. 2014). Trust and respect is central in this partnership which is best accomplished by investing time with ranger groups (Jackson and Douglas 2015). ...
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Importance of community stakeholder participation in coastal freshwater and tidal wetland monitoring and restoration has become increasingly recognised. In Australia, Land and Sea Rangers (LSR) are appointed land and sea custodians from local indigenous communities and under guidance of experts learn a range of scientifically relevant and rigorous sampling techniques to protect and conserve Country. Scientific training to build LSR confidence to tackle restoration and conservation of sensitive and culturally important wetlands is shown here. Between May 2014 and May 2015 three training campaigns were completed where LSR on Boigu and Saibai Islands (the most northern islands in the Torres Straits, Australia), completed water quality and wetland flora/fauna surveys across both islands. Forty wetland fauna species were documented (with a similar wetland assemblage on each ANOSIM P > 0.4) comprising 35 fish species (including the invasive freshwater climbing perch, Anabas testudineus), two crustaceans, a freshwater turtle (Chelodina oblonga) (a relic freshwater species after the last sea level rise approximately 6,000 years ago in the region), and two mangrove snakes (Myron richardsoni and Fordonia leucobalia) (both snake records represent a range extension). This data was presented at community workshops with the purpose to build LSR confidence, and with the community, develop a plan to conserve wetland cultural and environmental values. Five thematic wetland conservation themes were identified which resulted in agreeing to management actions necessary on both islands. Since the inception of this program in 2014, additional LSR restoration and monitoring programs have extended to wetlands on other islands in the Torres Straits. We advocate the need for more remote area wetland monitoring and management programs facilitated through LSR programs.
... A number of recent case studies that highlight local water managers' identified strategies and barriers in adapting to climate-induced water supply variability compare well with our case study findings [29,31,36,45,[88][89][90]. In the Wasatch Range of northern Utah, for example, water managers described challenges with enhancing water supply to meet growing population demand, obtaining funds to build and restore aging infrastructure, and coordinating diverse water use interests [31]. ...
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In snow-fed inland river systems in the western United States, water supply depends upon timing, form, and amount of precipitation. In recent years, this region has experienced unprecedented drought conditions due to decreased snowpack, exacerbated by exceptionally warmer winter temperatures averaging 3–4 °C above normal. In the snow-fed Truckee-Carson River System, two sets of interviews were conducted as part of a larger collaborative modeling case study with local water managers to examine local adaptation to current drought conditions. A comparative analysis of these primary qualitative data, collected during the fourth and fifth consecutive years of continued warmer drought conditions, identifies shifts in adaptation strategies and emergent adaptation barriers. That is, under continuous exposure to climate stressors, managers shifted their adaptation focus from short-term efforts to manage water demand toward long-term efforts to enhance water supply. Managers described the need to: improve forecasts and scientific assessments of snowmelt timing, groundwater levels, and soil moisture content; increase flexibility of prior appropriation water allocation rules based on historical snowpack and streamflow timing; and foster collaboration and communication among water managers across the river system. While water scarcity and insufficient water delivery infrastructure remain significant impediments in this arid region, climate uncertainty emerged as a barrier surrounding adaptation to variable water supply. Existing prior appropriation based water institutions were also described as an adaptation barrier, meriting objective evaluation to assess how to best modify these historical institutions to support dynamic adaptation to climate-induced water supply variability. This study contributes to a growing body of research that assesses drought adaptation in snow-fed inland river systems, and contributes a unique report concerning how adaptation strategies and barriers encountered by local water managers change over time under continuous exposure to climate stressors. These locally identified adaptation strategies forward a larger collaborative modeling case study by informing alternative water management scenarios simulated through a suite of hydrologic and operations models tailored to this river system.
... Abiotic stress Climate change will affect future apple crop production in the US and worldwide. Changes in weather patterns that result in warmer winters, earlier springs with unpredictable spring frosts, and altered rainfall patterns and availability will affect where and what types of apple crops can be grown (Dempewolf et al. 2014;Jenni et al. 2013). A focus on breeding for late bloom to avoid spring frosts, and adaptation to fluctuating temperatures will be important. ...
Apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) is one of the top three US fruit crops in production and value. Apple production has high costs for land, labor and inputs, and orchards are a long-term commitment. Production is dominated by only a few apple scion and rootstock cultivars, which increases its susceptibility to dynamic external threats. Apple crop wild relatives, including progenitor species Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) M. Roem., Malus orientalis Uglitzk., Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill., and Malus prunifolia (Willd.) Borkh., as well as many other readily hybridized species, have a wide range of biotic and abiotic stress resistances as well as desirable productivity and fruit quality attributes. However, access to wild materials is limited and wild Malus throughout the world is at risk of loss due to human encroachment and changing climatic patterns. The USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) Malus collection, maintained by the Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, NY, US is among the largest collections of cultivated apple and Malus species in the world. The collection currently has 5004 unique accessions in the field and 1603 seed accessions representing M. × domestica, 33 Malus species, and 15 hybrid species. Of the trees in the field, 3,070 are grafted and are represented by a core collection of 258 individuals. Many wild species accessions are represented as single seedlings (non-grafted). The crop vulnerability status of apple in the US is moderate because although there are a few breeders developing new commercial cultivars who also access Malus species, threats and challenges include new diseases, pests, and changing climate combined with industry needs and consumer demands, with a limited number of cultivars in production.
Full-text available
The Trent-Severn Waterway in central Ontario, Canada, is a large inland water system. It is managed for a broad range of stakeholders with different needs and expectations, creating a complex management context. Although variations in water levels occur, extreme low water-level events may increase in the future due to climate change, challenging management practices, in addition to requiring adaptation to reduce impacts. A modified policy Delphi was used to generate and evaluate ideas related to historical and future water-level impacts and adaptations. The paper presents the perspectives of three groups-cottagers and homeowners (CH), government (G), and industry and business (IB)-on their experiences with historic low water-levels, as well as their perspectives on future impacts and adaptations using two water-level scenarios: a moderate decrease of 25 cm and a more severe 50 cm decline. Shared impacts and adaptations (individual and collective) were identified along with those that were unique to a group. The likelihood of and consensus on potential impacts and most adaptations increased with the severity of water-level reduction. All groups indicated a higher likelihood of using collective rather than individual adaptations with the severe scenario, and in some cases, their contacts for assistance with adaptation broadened. While the modified policy Delphi requires significant effort by the analyst and respondents, it Climatic Change (2016) 134:115-129 provides a useful framework for generating and analyzing perceptions and preferences of diverse stakeholders.
Technical Report
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A growing body of literature examines the vulnerability, risk, resilience, and adaptation of indigenous peoples to climate change. This synthesis of literature brings together research pertaining to the impacts of climate change on sovereignty, culture, health, and economies that are currently being experienced by Alaska Native and American Indian tribes and other indigenous communities in the United States. The knowledge and science of how climate change impacts are affecting indigenous peoples contributes to the development of policies, plans, and programs for adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This report defines and describes the key frameworks that inform indigenous understandings of climate change impacts and pathways for adaptation and mitigation, namely, tribal sovereignty and self-determination, culture and cultural identity, and indigenous community health indicators. It also provides a comprehensive synthesis of climate knowledge, science, and strategies that indigenous communities are exploring, as well as an understanding of the gaps in research on these issues. This literature synthesis is intended to make a contribution to future efforts such as the 4th National Climate Assessment, while serving as a resource for future research, tribal and agency climate initiatives, and policy development.
Technical Report
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We apply a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature to assess constraining and enabling factors to the uptake of medium- to long-term climate information in a wide range of sectoral investment and planning decisions. Common applications of climate information are shown to relate to adaptation of environmental policy and planning, urban planning and infrastructure, as well as flood and coastal management. Analysis of identified literature highlights five categories of enablers to the uptake of medium- to long-term climate information in decisionmaking, the most of frequent of which relates to greater collaboration and bridging between producers and users of climate information. Five categories of constraints are also identified, the largest comprising of scientific and technical limitations associated with available medium- to long-term climate information. We highlight that not every decision requires long-term climate information to be taken into account for successful outcomes to be achieved. This is particularly the case in the context of developing countries, where the immediacy of development challenges means that decision-makers often prioritize short-term interventions. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that information is targeted towards investments and planning decisions that are relevant to longer-term timescales.
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The fundamental objectives of any decision problem should define why the decision maker is interested in that decision. However, listing a complete set of the fundamental objectives for a decision is not a simple task. It requires creativity, time, some hard thinking, and the recognition that it is important. This chapter offers many suggestions to help do the task well and provides criteria to appraise the quality of the resulting set of fundamental objectives. For an analysis of the alternatives in terms of these objectives, an attribute to measure the achievement of each objective is required. Good attributes are essential for an insightful analysis. This chapter also includes many suggestions to help identify or construct useful attributes as well as criteria to appraise the quality of the resulting attributes. Collectively, the fundamental objectives and corresponding attributes provide the basis for any objective function and for any discussion of the pros and cons of the alternatives.
Technical Report
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The Yakima River Decision Support System (YRDSS) was designed to quantify and display the consequences of different water management scenarios for a variety of state variables in the upper Yakima River Basin, located in central Washington. The impetus for the YRDSS was the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study, which investigated alternatives for providing additional water in the basin for threatened and endangered fish, irrigated agriculture, and municipal water supply. The additional water supplies would be provided by combinations of water exchanges, pumping stations, and off-channel storage facilities, each of which could affect the operations of the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) five headwaters reservoirs in the basin. The driver for the YRDSS is RiverWare, a systems-operations model used by BOR to calculate reservoir storage, irrigation deliveries, and streamflow at downstream locations resulting from changes in water supply and reservoir operations. The YRDSS uses output from RiverWare to calculate and summarize changes at 5 important flood plain reaches in the basin to 14 state variables: (1) habitat availability for selected life stages of four salmonid species, (2) spawning-incubation habitat persistence, (3) potential redd scour, (4) maximum water temperatures, (5) outmigration for bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) from headwaters reservoirs, (6) outmigration of salmon smolts from Cle Elum Reservoir, (7) frequency of beneficial overbank flooding, (8) frequency of damaging flood events, (9) total deliverable water supply, (10) total water supply deliverable to junior water rights holders, (11) end-of-year reservoir carryover, (12) potential fine sediment transport rates, (13) frequency of events capable of armor layer disruption, and (14) geomorphic work performed during each water year. Output of the YRDSS consists of a series of conditionally formatted scoring tables, wherein the changes to a state variable resulting from an operational scenario are compiled and summarized. Increases in the values for state variables result in their respective backgrounds to turn green in the scoring matrix, whereas decreases in the values for state variables result in their respective backgrounds turning red. This convention was designed to provide decision makers with a quick visual assessment of the overall results of an operating scenario. An evaluation matrix and a variety of weighting strategies to reflect the relative importance of different state variables are also presented as options for further distillation of YRDSS results during the decision-making process.
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The Yakima River Basin (Basin) in south-central Washington is a prime example of a place where competing water uses, coupled with over-allocation of water resources, have presented water managers with the challenge of meeting current demand, anticipating future demand, and preparing for potential impacts of climate change. We took a decision analysis approach that gathered diverse stakeholders to discuss their concerns pertaining to climate change effects on the Basin and future goals that were collectively important. One main focus was centered on how climate change may influence future salmon populations. Salmon have played a prominent role in the cultures of Basin communities, especially for tribal communities that have social, cultural, spiritual, subsistence, and economic ties to them. Stakeholders identified the need for a better understanding on how the cultural, spiritual, subsistence, and economic aspects of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation could be affected by changes in salmon populations. In an attempt to understand the complexities of these potential effects, this paper proposes a conceptual model which 1) identifies cultural values and components and the interactions between those components that could influence tribal well-being, and 2) shows how federal natural resource managers could incorporate intangible tribal cultural components into decision-making processes by understanding important components of tribal well-being. Future work includes defining the parameterization of the cultural components in order for the conceptual model to be incorporated with biophysical resource models for scenario simulations.
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We evaluated the potential effects of two climate change scenarios on salmonid habitats in the Yakima River by linking the outputs from a watershed model, a river operations model, a two-dimensional (2D) hydrodynamic model, and a geographic information system (GIS). The watershed model produced a discharge time series (hydrograph) in two study reaches under three climate scenarios: a baseline (1981–2005), a 1-°C increase in mean air temperature (plus one scenario), and a 2-°C increase (plus two scenario). A river operations model modified the discharge time series with Yakima River operational rules, a 2D model provided spatially explicit depth and velocity grids for two floodplain reaches, while an expert panel provided habitat criteria for four life stages of coho and fall Chinook salmon. We generated discharge-habitat functions for each salmonid life stage (e.g., spawning, rearing) in main stem and side channels, and habitat time series for baseline, plus one (P1) and plus two (P2) scenarios. The spatial and temporal patterns in salmonid habitats differed by reach, life stage, and climate scenario. Seventy-five percent of the 28 discharge-habitat responses exhibited a decrease in habitat quantity, with the P2 scenario producing the largest changes, followed by P1. Fry and spring/summer rearing habitats were the most sensitive to warming and flow modification for both species. Side channels generally produced more habitat than main stem and were more responsive to flow changes, demonstrating the importance of lateral connectivity in the floodplain. A discharge-habitat sensitivity analysis revealed that proactive management of regulated surface waters (i.e., increasing or decreasing flows) might lessen the impacts of climate change on salmonid habitats.
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Stakeholders within the Yakima River Basin expressed concern over impacts of climate change on mid-Columbia River steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), listed under the Endangered Species Act. We used a bioenergetics model to assess the impacts of changing stream temperatures—resulting from different climate change scenarios—on growth of juvenile steelhead in the Yakima River Basin. We used diet and fish size data from fieldwork in a bioenergetics model and integrated baseline and projected stream temperatures from down-scaled air temperature climate modeling into our analysis. The stream temperature models predicted that daily mean temperatures of salmonid-rearing streams in the basin could increase by 1–2 °C and our bioenergetics simulations indicated that such increases could enhance the growth of steelhead in the spring, but reduce it during the summer. However, differences in growth rates of fish living under different climate change scenarios were minor, ranging from about 1–5 %. Because our analysis focused mostly on the growth responses of steelhead to changes in stream temperatures, further work is needed to fully understand the potential impacts of climate change. Studies should include evaluating changing stream flows on fish activity and energy budgets, responses of aquatic insects to climate change, and integration of bioenergetics, population dynamics, and habitat responses to climate change.
Effective management of environmental systems involves assessment of multiple (physical, ecological, and socio-economic) issues, and often requires new research that spans multiple disciplines. Such integrative research across knowledge domains faces numerous theoretical and practical challenges. In this paper, we discuss how environmental modelling can overcome many of these challenges, and how models can provide a framework for successful integrative research. Integrative environmental modellers adopt various roles in integrative projects such as: technical specialist, knowledge broker, and facilitator. A model can act as a shared project goal, while the model development process provides a coordinated framework to integrate multi-disciplinary inputs. Modellers often have a broad generalist understanding of environmental systems. Their overarching perspective means that modellers are well-placed to facilitate integrative research processes. We discuss the challenges of interdisciplinary academic research, and provide a framework through which environmental modellers can play a role in guiding more successful integrative research programmes. A key feature of this approach is that environmental modellers are actively engaged in the research programme from the beginning—modelling is not simply an exercise in drawing together existing disciplinary knowledge, but acts as a guiding structure for new (cross-disciplinary) knowledge creation.
The goal of this study was to support an assessment of the potential effects of climate change on select natural, social, and economic resources in the Yakima River Basin. A workshop with local stakeholders highlighted the usefulness of projecting climate change impacts on anadromous steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), a fish species of importance to local tribes, fisherman, and conservationists. Stream temperature is an important environmental variable for the freshwater stages of steelhead. For this study, we developed water temperature models for the Satus and Toppenish watersheds, two of the key stronghold areas for steelhead in the Yakima River Basin. We constructed the models with the Stream Network Temperature Model (SNTEMP), a mechanistic approach to simulate water temperature in a stream network. The models were calibrated over the April 15, 2008 to September 30, 2008 period and validated over the April 15, 2009 to September 30, 2009 period using historic measurements of stream temperature and discharge provided by the Yakama Nation Fisheries Resource Management Program. Once validated, the models were run to simulate conditions during the spring and summer seasons over a baseline period (1981–2005) and two future climate scenarios with increased air temperature of 1 °C and 2 °C. The models simulated daily mean and maximum water temperatures at sites throughout the two watersheds under the baseline and future climate scenarios.
The societal benefits of hydropower systems (e.g., relatively clean electrical power, water supply, flood control, and recreation) come with a cost to native stream fishes. We reviewed and synthesized the literature on hydropower-related pulsed flows to guide resource managers in addressing significant impacts while avoiding unnecessary curtailment of hydropower operations. Dams may release pulsed flows in response to needs for peaking power, recreational flows, reservoir storage adjustment for flood control, or to mimic natural peaks in the hydrograph. Depending on timing, frequency, duration, and magnitude, pulsed flows can have adverse or beneficial short and long-term effects on resident or migratory stream fishes. Adverse effects include direct impacts to fish populations due to (1) stranding of fishes along the changing channel margins, (2) downstream displacement of fishes, and (3) reduced spawning and rearing success due to redd/nest dewatering and untimely or obstructed migration. Beneficial effects include: (1) maintenance of habitat for spawning and rearing, and (2) biological cues to trigger spawning, hatching, and migration. We developed a basic conceptual model to predict the effects of different types of pulsed flow, identified gaps in knowledge, and identified research activities to address these gaps. There is a clear need for a quantitative framework incorporating mathematical representations of field and laboratory results on flow, temperature, habitat structure, fish life stages by season, fish population dynamics, and multiple fish species, which can be used to predict outcomes and design mitigation strategies in other regulated streams experiencing pulsed flows.