This report summarizes the results of a two-day adaptation planning workshop for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests as part of their forest plan revision process. The workshop focused on identifying adaptation options for eight key resource areas, including forested vegetation, non-forested vegetation, wildlife, hydrology, fisheries, recreation, cultural/heritage values, and ecosystem services. The report includes a general overview of the workshop methodology and provides a suite of possible adaptation strategies and actions for each key resource area. Adaptation actions were linked with the climate-related vulnerabilities they help to ameliorate as well as the direct/indirect effects they may have on other resource areas.
This report summarizes the results of a vulnerability assessment for 28 focal resources, including 8 ecosystems and 20 species, identified as important by Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests as part of their forest plan revision process. The report includes a general summary of past and projected climate trends for the region; downscaled climate data and trends; vulnerability assessment methods; and vulnerability assessment findings for 28 ecosystems and species.
The Southern California Climate Adaptation Project was initiated to improve understanding about the vulnerability of important southern California habitats to climate change and to develop adaptation strategies designed to reduce vulnerabilities and/or increase resilience of habitats. This project used a collaborative, stakeholder-driven process that involved soliciting input from land and resource managers, conservation practitioners, scientists, and others from federal and state agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations.
In Colorado, climate change presents a broad range of challenges.
Colorado has warmed substantially in the last 30 years and even more over the last 50 years.1 Future estimates project temperatures rising an additional 2.5oF to 5oF by 2050,2 meaning the warmest summers from our past may become the average summers in our future. With increasing temperatures come shifts in snowmelt runoff, water quality concerns, stressed ecosystems and transportation infrastructure, impacts to energy demand; and extreme weather events that can impact air quality and recreation. The challenges we face will affect everyone, and require collaborative solutions.
The goal of this document is to promote state policy recommendations and actions that help to improve Colorado’s ability to adapt to future climate change impacts and increase Colorado’s state agencies level of preparedness, while simultaneously identifying opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) at the agency level. In this plan, the major sectors of the state government are addressed, specific actions are called for, and policy recommendations are made. Because addressing climate change is best addressed collaboratively, this plan has been developed collectively by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), with input from key stakeholders.
This plan has also been developed to meet the requirements of C.R.S. 24-20-111, which calls for the development of a state climate plan setting forth a strategy to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while taking into account previous state actions and efforts. This plan represents advances in the discussion on how to best address climate change at the state level, however, we know that more conversations are necessary and we look forward to a continued dialog with climate experts and the public. Therefore, over the next year, each state agency that has helped to develop this plan will hold public engagement sessions on climate change that are specific to their sector. This will include:
- The CDPHE, following the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Clean Power Plan, will expand outreach to stakeholders, government agencies, and interested Coloradans in a public process to develop and implement a state plan to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel fired EGUs. The CDPHE will host meetings and solicit public comment to gather ideas and attempt to reach some consensus on the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions while preserving or enhancing electric grid reliability and the economy. The CDPHE will continue to fully cooperate with the Public Utilities Commission, the CEO and the General Assembly to optimize the state plan.
- The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will serve as the public forum for future conversations on fish and wildlife adaptation. The Commission will schedule a series of conversations in the next year to hear recommendations from experts and the public about science and management options to inform management decisions.
- The CWCB will continue to be a leader on climate change adaptation in the water sector and will host an open discussion with experts and the public on climate change at a board meeting(s) during fiscal year 2016. CWCB staff will also engage with stakeholder groups around the state to gather feedback on this plan and recommendations to explore and enhance future actions.
- The CEO, in conjunction with the Public Utilities Commission, will continue to serve as subject matter experts concerning energy efficiency technologies, markets, and practices involving electric utility end-users. In this role, Colorado Energy Office will convene one or more forums over the next year to engage stakeholders and ensure energy efficiency options best fit within a compliance plan for the state. The development of these forums will also include collaboration with the CDA, who has partnered with the CEO on several energy programs.
- The DOLA will deliver trainings to local government planners and emergency managers on integrating information regarding changing hazard risks and resilience principles into local plans and land use codes using their forthcoming Colorado Hazard Mitigation and Land Use Planning Guide as a framework.
- The Colorado Tourism Office will include as session on climate change as part of the agenda at their annual conference. The conference will be held in Crested Butte in September.
- The CDA will work with the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts to provide an informative, science-based panel and discussion at the annual conference for conservation districts to explore the projected climate change impacts on production agriculture in Colorado and steps that can be taken to adapt and prepare for those changes.
- The CDOT will work with the State Transportation Advisory Commission to develop a stakeholder engagement process to take place over the next year.
In 2007, Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. released a Climate Action Plan laying out goals for the state through 2050. The plan was primarily focused on mitigation efforts and detailed a handful of measures that would help in reducing overall GHG emissions. Since that time the state has moved forward with many of these measures and has worked to implement additional mitigation efforts as well as greatly expand adaptation initiatives. Federal regulation has also expanded to address some of the goals laid out in 2007. Major State actions, such as the adoption and expansion of Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) also simultaneously addressed several the 2007 goals, and positioned the state well to respond to the recently released EPA Clean Power Plan rule. Below is a timeline illustrating the measures that have been accomplished since the 2007 plan was released.
Colorado is a state full of talented innovators who come together to tackle challenges and overcome obstacles on a daily basis. That collaboration and creative thinking is at the heart of this plan. The strategies and recommendations laid out here, in addition to the proposed stakeholder engagement opportunities, are commitments by state agencies to continue moving us forward and provide state level policies and strategies to mitigate and adapt. Over the coming months state agencies will work to incorporate the recommendations of this plan, schedule opportunities for continued stakeholder engagement, and continue to ensure that we are taking steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a balanced and responsible way, while also pursuing adaptive strategies that protect the core elements that make Colorado such a desirable place to live, work, and play.
The scientific evidence is clear: the Earth’s climate is warming. Multiple independent measurements confirm widespread warming in the western United States; in Colorado, temperatures have increased by approximately 2°F between 1977 and 2006. Increasing temperatures are affecting the state’s water resources. (Sections 1, 2, 4, 5, 6)
This report is a synthesis of climate change science important for Colorado’s water supply. It focuses on observed trends, modeling, and projections of temperature, precipitation,snowmelt, and runoff. Climate projections are reported out to the mid-21st century, because this is a relevant time frame for development of adaptation strategies.
Although many published studies and datasets include information about Colorado, few climate studies focus only on the state. Consequently, many important scientific analyses for Colorado are lacking. This report summarizes Coloradospecific findings from peer-reviewed regional studies, and presents new graphics derived from existing datasets. The state is home to many experts in climate and hydrology, and this report also draws from ongoing work by these scientists.
An international, peer-reviewed publication released each summer, the State of the Climate is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from scientists from around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.
State of the Climate in 2015
This is the 26th edition of the annual assessment now known as State of the Climate. The year 2015 saw the toppling of several symbolic mileposts: notably, it was 1.0°C warmer than preindustrial times, and the Mauna Loa observatory recorded its first annual mean carbon dioxide concentration greater than 400 ppm. Beyond these more recognizable markers, trends seen in recent decades continued.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes this report to communicate information about the science and impacts of climate change, assess trends in environmental quality, and inform decision-making. Climate Change Indicators in the United States 2016 is the fourth edition of a report first published by EPA in 2010. This report presents 37 indicators to help readers understand changes observed from long-term records related to the causes and effects of climate change, the significance of these changes, and their possible consequences for people, the environment, and society. While the indicators presented in this report do not cover all possible measures of the causes and effects of climate change, as might be found in the full body of scientific literature, they represent a wide-ranging set of indicators that show observed changes in the Earth’s climate system and several climate-relevant impacts.
Yellowstone National Park collaborated with the National Park Service Geologic Resources Division (NPS GRD) to examine the causes of shoreline erosion on Peale Island and to identify adaptation options for protecting the shoreline and a historic cabin on the island.
Climate change is well documented at the global scale, but local and regional changes are not as well understood. Finer, local- to regional-scale information is needed for creating specific, place-based planning and adaption efforts. Here the development of an indicator-focused climate change assessment in Idaho is described. This interdisciplinary framework couples end users’ data needs with observed, biophysical changes at local to regional scales. An online statewide survey of natural resource professionals was conducted to assess the perceived impacts from climate change and determine the biophysical data needed to measure those impacts. Changes to water resources and wildfire risk were the highest areas of concern among resource professionals. Guided by the survey results, 15 biophysical indicator datasets were summarized that included direct climate metrics (e.g., air temperature) and indicators only partially influenced by climate (e.g., wildfire). Quantitative changes in indicators were determined using time series analysis from 1975 to 2010. Indicators displayed trends of varying likelihood over the analysis period, including increasing growingseason length, increasing annual temperature, increasing forest area burned, changing mountain bluebird and lilac phenology, increasing precipitation intensity, earlier center of timing of streamflow, and decreased 1 April snowpack; changes in volumetric streamflow, salmon migration dates, and stream temperature displayed the least likelihood. A final conceptual framework derived from the social and biophysical data provides an interdisciplinary case example useful for consideration by others when choosing indicators at local to regional scales for climate change assessments.
It is increasingly apparent that the global climate is rapidly changing and that these changes will affect the people, ecosystems, economy, and culture of the North Olympic Peninsula. The most noticeable impacts will likely include:
- A diminishing snowpack lowering the region’s summer river flow and extending the summer drought season;
- Shifts in the timing and type of precipitation, creating rain on snow events and unseasonably high stream flows that scour river bottoms and flood low-land areas;
- Ongoing sea level rise driving coastal flooding, saltwater inundation, and enhanced shoreline erosion;
- Extended warm temperatures which result in increased river water temperatures, enhanced wildfire risk, decreased soil moisture, and stressed forests through disease and insect outbreaks; and
- Increasingly corrosive ocean waters (i.e. ocean acidification) from the ongoing absorption of human emissions of CO2.
These changes will affect the natural resources and livelihoods of the people of the North Olympic Peninsula, as well as the entire regional economy.