Most organized discussion about climate change within the Colorado River Basin (CRB) has addressed projected climate impacts and specific rules for operating under surplus and shortage. This project will move the discussion from awareness to action and coordination by assessing regional adaptation capabilities and cataloging existing adaptation efforts in the broader CRB. In collaboration with the WWA and CNAP, we convened a workshop of key stakeholders and agencies from across a spectrum of sectors in the CRB to (a) foster communication of the extent of existing and planned climate adaptation initiatives, (b) catalogue projects, documents, and alliances whose work, expertise, and connections can be leveraged to develop sustained and ongoing assessment, (c) evaluate the scientific capacity within the region to address climate adaptation issues and to leverage existing federal labs, data centers, and new climate services initiatives (NOAA, DOI), and (d) assess science, decision-making, and communication needs in the region.
The workshop focused on water as the major medium through which climate change impacts will manifest in the CRB, and looked broadly at issues of both water and land management, as well as recreation, tourism, environmental flows, and urban adaptation. Follow-up from the workshop will include a webinar series, designed to maintain communication, invite new participants, and to give an opportunity for ongoing and new initiatives to “show and tell” and for participants to network.
This project is part of the US National Climate Assessment (Assessment) coordinated by the US Global Climate Research Program.
The Assessment’s purpose is to synthesize, evaluate, and report on what we presently know about the potential consequences of climate variability and change for the US in the 21st century. It has sought to identify key climatic vulnerabilities of particular regions and sectors, in the context of other changes in the nation’s environment, resources, and economy. It has also sought to identify potential measures to adapt to climate variability and change. Finally, because present knowledge is limited, the Assessment has sought to identify the highest priority uncertainties about which we must know more to understand climate impacts, vulnerabilities, and our ability to adapt.
This project is part of a more comprehensive assessment led by CLIMAS that includes: “Assessing Regional Climate Service Through Cooperative Extension”, “Poverty and Climate Change in the Southwestern U.S.”, and “Climate Mitigation and Agriculture—Public Policy Education”.
These projects seeks to build upon CLIMAS’s well established network of stakeholders and collaborators to: 1) broaden the scope of our existing work into new domains (e.g., urban poor populations), emerging challenges (e.g., impact of mitigation policies on agriculture in the Southwest), and underrepresented parts of our region (e.g., the Rio Grande river basin); 2) make critical linkages amongst ongoing adaptation efforts across the region, and 3) expand the reach of CLIMAS’s network (e.g., by directly engaging the Cooperative Extension service on climate adaptation needs and capacity). Collectively, these projects will contribute tangible inputs to the US National Climate Assessment effort (e.g., new analyses of climate vulnerabilities and implications of mitigation policies, catalogs of ongoing and planned regional adaptation and mitigation efforts, and locally focused understanding of adaptation and mitigation needs and capacity). In addition to these product-based inputs, these projects will also help develop critical knowledge network infrastructure in support of the explicit desire for this National Climate Assessment effort to build a robust and enduring process.