Climate Science to Engineering Operations for Watershed Management

A CCAWWG Workshop for Scientists, Engineers, and Water Resource Managers

August 25-27, 2015,  University of Washington, Fisheries Science Building, Seattle, WA

The purpose of this workshop was to bring together scientists, engineers, and water resource managers, working collaboratively to:

  1. Review and discuss the research and applications begun since 2011 that can help CCAWWG agencies address their current goals for mainstreaming climate change information into their mission activities
  2. Present and share different perspectives on recurring and emerging needs for climate science and climate change information which impede that mainstreaming today, and help CCAWWG articulate those needs for its planned updated assessment of its partners information needs
  3. Provide attendees with a fuller scope and context for their mainstreaming work within their agencies while working also in the larger, common and collective contexts of climate change and variability.

In 2011, CCAWWG issued the user needs report, “Addressing Climate Change in Long-Term Water Resources Planning and Management: User Needs for Improving Tools and Information Report”. Since then, CCAWWG agencies have engaged in multiple research and application activities to address those needs. CCAWWG hosted this workshop to review that work and to help design its planned 2016 update to that 2011 assessment of its agency partners’ needs for climate science and climate change information, as well as to discuss recurring and emerging needs for using climate science in mainstreaming climate change in water resources planning and operations.

Since 2011, most water-resources agencies have progressed beyond making vulnerability assessments to the point of considering how they can best mainstream climate change information into their climate-relevant mission activities. This workshop featured presentations and focused discussion of specific resource management issues and problems within four nature-based themes having components of climate change and variability:

  • changes in basin climate, water supply and drought, including effects on surface water and groundwater
  • changes in wet weather extremes, from heavy downpours to regional floods
  • effects at coasts and shorelines
  • effects in watershed ecosystems, including natural, agricultural, and other managed landscapes.

For each theme, science and engineering perspectives were sought on multiple issues, including:

  • future water needs for agricultural, urban, and other uses
  • resilience needs for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and natural infrastructure
  • resilience needs for dams, river regulation, and other built infrastructure
  • translation and communication of products for inclusion in decision-making and for other formal requirements.

Federal and non-Federal participants who produce or use science and engineering inputs for the resource management themes listed here were invited to talk with their agency representatives on the CCAWWG Program Committee to make their agency selections for attendance.

The workshop organizing committee will complete a short summary report of the workshop aims and major themes, which will be made available across the agencies comprising CCAWWG. Presentations and the agenda are available on the CCAWWG website.