The Klamath Basin of southern Oregon and northern California is rich in history, culture, and natural resources. This report explores how the local communities and natural resources of the Klamath Basin are expected to be affected by climate change and identifies approaches to preparing for such changes. Many of the impacts from climate change are already becoming apparent, such as an increasing average global temperature, rising sea levels, earlier snow melt, loss of snow pack, and changing precipitation patterns and storm frequency. Without severe cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, these impacts and others will continue to accelerate and negatively affect local communities and natural resources. While efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases are essential to prevent the most severe impacts, we must also take steps to prepare for the impacts of climate change already inevitable due to emissions that have previously been released.
This project is the result of a collaborative effort. The USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station developed projections for the potential future climate of the Klamath Basin. The University of Oregon’s Climate Leadership Initiative and the National Center for Conservation Science and Policy presented these projections to local leaders and experts in the Klamath Basin through a series of workshops. Leaders and experts used these climate projections to identify likely changes to natural (aquatic and terrestrial species and habitats), built (infrastructure), economic (agriculture, forestry, business), human (health, education, emergency services), and tribal (resources of cultural and indigenous community importance) systems. Finally, recommended strategies and actions were developed to prepare communities and natural resources for those changes.