Decision Support

Decision support work at the Climate Impacts Group focuses on developing, delivering, and supporting the use of decision-relevant science and technical guidance for managing climate risks. Current and recent decision support projects include the following.

Long-Range Planning and Infrastructure Design | Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning | Tools and Resources


Long-Range Planning and Infrastructure Design

An Applied Case Study to Integrate Climate Change into Design and Permitting of Water Crossing Structures

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife permits and provides technical guidance for construction of hundreds of fish passable culverts, a number which is expected to rise in response to a federal court injunction directing the state to repair thousands of culverts that inhibit salmon migration. This project will support the development of designs that provide connectivity benefits to aquatic organisms throughout the structures’ expected life of up to 100 years by incorporating projected climate-induced changes in hydrology. (Tohver, Mauger)

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Integrating Climate Resilience in Puget Sound Floodplain and Working Lands Programs

In response to the Floodplains by Design (FbD) and Puget Sound Natural Resource Alliance (PSNRA) funding opportunities, many communities have proposed projects that address floodplain restoration goals. To date, few such proposals have addressed climate impacts in risk assessments or project design. This project will distill information gathered from in-person interviews, aimed at developing an initial understanding the climate information needed for robust floodplain planning. (Mauger)

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Climate-Related Migration to the Pacific Northwest

Recent articles have suggested that the Pacific Northwest, which is projected to have a relatively hospitable climate in the future, will experience an exceptional influx of residents fleeing undesirable or inhospitable climate conditions elsewhere in the country and the globe. This research will present a systematic literature review on climate-related human migration and will illuminate the “push” forces that could drive certain people to move away from their homes under changing climatic conditions as well as the “pull” forces that could draw them to the Pacific Northwest. (Whitely Binder)

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Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning

Building Tribal Capacity for Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

Preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change are critical to the future well being of tribal communities. Recognizing this, federal, academic, and tribal institutions have increased efforts to promote the capacity of tribes to manage climate change risks. However, many tribes continue to experience difficulty initiating and completing the critical first step of the adaptation planning process: a climate change vulnerability assessment. This project will help address limited tribal capacity for vulnerability assessment by providing guidance and data tailored to the needs and capacities of Northwest and Great Basin tribes.

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Assessing the Climate Vulnerability of Key Species and Habitats for the Stillaguamish Tribe (complete)

Climate change is projected to have significant impacts on natural resources utilized by Washington tribes for economic, cultural, and subsistence purposes. To help reduce and prepare for those impacts, the Stillaguamish Tribe contracted with the CIG to assess the vulnerability of key species and habitats for the Tribe. (Krosby, Whitely Binder, Morgan)

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City of Seattle Climate Impacts Preparedness Strategy

CIG is partnering with GGLO Landscape Architects and SvR Design to assist efforts by the City of Seattle Office of Sustainability and the Environment to develop a comprehensive climate change preparedness strategy for the City of Seattle. The preparedness strategy will include a high level assessment of the vulnerabilities of city assets and services and priority actions for enhancing resilience across a range of city departments. (Whitely Binder, Snover)

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Developing an Adaptive Response to Climate Change – Yakama Nation

The CIG is partnering with Cascadia Consulting and Yakama Nation tribal staff to support the Yakama Nation’s development of a climate adaptation plan that will guide near term adaptation decisions and outreach as well as long-term strategic planning related to climate adaptation. (Whitely Binder)

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Tools and Resources

Aquatic Ecosystem Management Under a Changing Climate in the Pacific Northwest: A Handbook for Managers

This project builds on existing approaches to adaptation planning and surveys of U.S. Forest Service aquatic habitat managers and scientists in the Pacific Northwest to develop a resource-specific guide for: 1) synthesizing information about climate impacts to assess the sensitivity of aquatic habitats to climate change, 2) evaluating the resource’s climate change-related adaptive capacity, 3) identifying priority planning areas, goals and actions related to preparing for climate change, and 4) developing measures of resilience to track progress and update plans over time. (Snover, Hagerman)

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Time of Emergence of Climate Change Signals in the Puget Sound Basin

The Time of Emergence (ToE) project aims to develop and implement a new approach to climate change decision support based on the concept of identifying the time at which the distinctive trend due to climate change is projected to emerge from the noise of natural climate variability. Through a combination of climate statistics, engagement with policy and management entities, and data delivery platform development, researchers aim to develop a new approach to climate change decision support based on the concept of ToE for the Puget Sound basin in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). (Snover, Salathé)

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