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Case Studies Illustrate How Water Utilities May Adapt to Climate Change

Changing climate has far-reaching impacts, and is testing parts of society’s ability to continue doing business-as-usual.  Among these are water utilities, the entities responsible for delivering clean, fresh water to our nation’s households and managing wastewater and stormwater. The UW Climate Impacts Group in partnership with the Water Utility Climate Alliance is currently helping meet that need by assisting water managers and water utilities understand how climate change will impact their systems and what measures they can adopt now to be proactive in preparing for the future. 

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CIG Research on Climate-Resilient Design for Fish Passages is Part of Effort Winning 2020 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award

Research conducted by Climate Impacts Group scientists on climate-resilient design for culvert and fish habitat restoration projects in Washington is part of a larger effort by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife that recently won a 2020 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award. This award from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies recognizes outstanding leadership to advance climate resilience of America’s natural resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them.

The climate-resilient culverts project was initiated by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to help inform Washington State’s current investments in repairing fish passage barriers that hinder the recovery of imperiled salmon stocks. 

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Forest Ecologist Backs Inslee’s Assertion that Wildfires are Worsened by Climate Change

Gov. Jay Inslee has continued his stance that the hundreds of thousands of acres burned by wildfires in Washington state are a result of climate change, bringing a forest ecologist to back research that shows the connection in his latest meeting with the media. Crystal Raymond, climate adaptation specialist, is quoted.

“As bad as it is now, as high as the risks are now, they will continue to worsen as long as climate change continues to worsen,” Raymond said. 

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Gov. Inslee Points to Climate Change as Wildfires Choke Washington State, West Coast

[Gov. Jay Inlsee] and a fire ecologist warned during a news conference that if something isn’t done about climate change, conditions will worsen for the U.S. Crystal Raymond, climate adaptation specialist and fire ecologist, is quoted. 

“As bad as it is now (and) as high as the risks are now, they will continue to worsen as long as climate change is an issue,” Raymond said. “We can expect to see more extreme fire danger days, longer fire seasons and overall greater acreage burned.”  

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Wildfire News Updates, September 15: What to Know Today About the Destructive Fires in Washington State and on the West Coast

Destructive wildfires continue to rip through the state, with firefighters battling some 30 fires in Washington and Oregon. Crystal Raymond, climate adaptation specialist and a fire ecologist, is quoted.  

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As Nearby Fires Reach Containment, Inslee Points to Climate Change

As fires in Eastern Washington slowed down Tuesday, tens of thousands of acres continued to burn in the state, a fact Gov. Jay Inslee attributes to climate change. Crystal Raymond, climate adaptation specialist, is quoted.  

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Gov. Inslee: Too Much Suffering to ‘Ignore Clear and Present Danger’ of Climate Change Induced Fires

The air quality across Washington state this week is “unhealthy at best, hazardous at worst,” said Governor Jay Inslee in a Tuesday press conference. Crystal Raymond is quoted.

“The connection between climate change and increasing fire potential across the west has been clearly established by scientists for over a decade,” Raymond said. “The situation that we are in now is unfortunate, but it does not come as a surprise to fire scientists who have been studying this issue for several years across the region.” 

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What Makes Smoke Forecasts So Hard to Predict — and How Tech Could Help

For reasons seemingly as numerous as current air pollution readings, guessing at how wildfire smoke will behave is tricky business. Crystal Raymond is quoted in this article from GeekWire. 

“Studies of climate change effects on wildfire show that with continued warming and drier summers, we expect to see more acreage burned and more large wildfires throughout the western US,” Crystal said. “And where there is fire, there is smoke.”  

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Why Western Washington Air Doesn’t Smell So Smoky Anymore (But is Still Harmful)

The air in the Puget Sound region remains unhealthy because of wildfires, but it doesn’t smell as smoky as it did last week. [That’s because] the smoke we’re breathing around western Washington, days after it arrived, is kind of old. Crystal Raymond is quoted. 

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Climate Change Front of Mind as Cloud of Smoke Chokes Washington Again

Fires and smoke are sometimes called the “new normal” of climate change in the Northwest. But some hope these events will be yet another wake-up call. Climate Impacts Group Director Amy Snover is quoted.

“It’s terrifying to see what’s happening,” Snover said. “It’s upsetting to see what’s happening. And the worst of it is, it’s only going to get worse until we decide we don’t want it to get worse anymore, and reduce and eliminate greenhouse emissions.” 

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