Preparing for Climate Change in the Rogue River Basin of Southwest Oregon
The Rogue River Basin, located in southwest Oregon, consists of a diverse array of communities, economies and ecological systems. The Basin’s rich history, beautiful setting, and recreational and employment opportunities, attract visitors and residents to the region year-round. Climate change is likely to produce significant new stresses and alterations to water quantity and quality, fish, wildlife, plant life, forests and fire regimes of the Rogue Basin. The Rogue will not be the only region to experience the effects of climate change. Every region of the West, nation, and the world will be affected. These changes will, however, have important consequences for the economy, infrastructure, and human services on which the people and communities within the Rogue Basin rely on for their quality of life.
In the summer of 2008, the University of Oregon Climate Leadership Initiative, in partnership with The National Center for Conservation Science & Policy and the MAPSS Team at the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, initiated a project to assess the likely consequences of climate change for the Rogue River Basin. The project began by downscaling three climate models (CSIRO, MIROC, and Hadley) and incorporating a global vegetation change model (MC1) used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A panel of scientists and land managers then assessed the likely risks posed by changing climate conditions to natural systems and made recommendations for increasing the capacity of ecosystems and species to withstand and adapt to those stressors. In turn, a panel of policy experts used the information provided by the scientists to assess the likely risks to economic, built, and human systems within the Rogue Basin posed by climate change and recommended ways to increase resistance and resiliency of those systems.