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Climate Change Scientific and Technical Resources

These pages are designed to provide our tribal leaders and staff with information on how climate change may affect their tribe’s natural resources during the 21st century. Scientific research and data listed here project the effects of climate change in the Columbia Basin, including overviews of the issue and its effects, and projected impacts to water and terrestrial resources and fish and wildlife.  Also listed are tools and recommendations to assist with climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation. The threat of climate change is significant to the water, land, and native species of the Columbia Basin. The members of the Columbia Basin Indian Tribes are uniquely vulnerable to these effects because they are intimately tied to their traditional hunting and fishing grounds to gather their “first foods”, which have immense importance to their economic, cultural, and spiritual well-being.

Climate Change Impacts Summaries and Tribal Efforts Presentations

Fourth National Climate Assessment and CRITFC/member tribes’ response

Columbia River Climate Change Resources Presentation

Tribal Climate Change Needs Assessment Survey

CRITFC Member Tribes’ Climate Change Needs Assessment Survey.

Tribal Resilience Action Database

Tribal Resilience Action Database, developed by Tribes for Tribes. Creating this new tool was a collaborative effort involving project partners and advisors from over a dozen tribes across North America. This initiative aims to create a culturally sensitive, easily accessible, and invaluable resource hub for climate adaptation strategies and community examples already published by tribes.

The core team was led by the Upper Snake River Tribes (USRT) Foundation and included CRITFC and the Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT).  These three consortia represent 15 tribes in the Pacific Northwest and guided the overall project development process. Adaptation International and Valice provided technical and logistical support.

Climate Modeling Research

CRITFC. CRITFC Information System and Hydsim Modeling Overview Presentation. The CRITFC Information System (CIS) is the tribal tool for modeling multiple scenarios of Columbia River System operations under climate change.  The goals of CIS are 1) to continuously develop robust ecosystem data on key indicators for salmon survival by modeling different operating scenarios of the Columbia River System using historical hydrology as well as Climate Change streamflow projections; 2) to achieve efficiency in performing modeling runs by the limited tribal staff; and 3) to collaborate effectively with Federal Agencies on evaluating different operating scenarios for the Columbia River System.

University of Washington Climate Impacts Group.Tribal Climate Tool. This visualization tool enables users to explore and download climate change projections and climate change summaries for priority geographies at the scale of tribal decision-making.

CRITFC Tribes’ Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Plans

Yakama Nation. 2019. Yakama Nation Climate Action Plan

Yakama Nation. 2016. Yakama Nation Climate Change Adaptation Plan

CTUIR. 2021. Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Climate Change Adaptation Plan

CTUIR. 2015. Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

Nez Perce Tribe Climate Change Program

Nez Perce Tribe Climate Change Coordinator Stefanie KrantzClimate Change What Can We Do? Presentation

Nez Perce Tribe Water Resources Division. 2011. Clearwater River Subbasin Climate Change Adaptation Plan

Select Climate Change Work Published by CRITFC Staff

Graves D. 2022. Present and Future Projected Changes to Human Population and Land Use affecting Columbia River Tribal Lands and First Foods.

Graves D. 2021. Climate Change and Fish Habitat Restoration on Columbia River Tribal Lands.

Whelen G, L Gephart, M Matylevwich, et al. 2020. Tracking Fisheries Through Time: The American Fisheries Society as a Historical Lens. Fisheries Magazine 45:8

White S, D Graves, D Barton, and L Gephart. 2018. Conservation Planning for Climate Change Impacts to Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in the Columbia River Basin. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Technical Report 18-05, Portland, OR. 19p.

Chen F, A Farrell, A Matala and SR Narum. 2018. Mechanisms of thermal adaptation and evolutionary potential of conspecific populations to changing environments. Molecular Ecology 27

Justice C, et al. 2016. Can Stream and Riparian Restoration Offset Climate Change Impacts to Salmon Populations? Journal of Environmental Management 188

Sharma R, D Graves, et al. 2016. Investigating Freshwater and Ocean Effects on Pacific Lamprey and Pacific Eulachon of the Columbia River Basin: Projections within the Context of Climate Change CRITFC Technical Report 16-05

Ellis S. 2016. Effects of High Columbia River Temperatures in 2015 (presentation)

Smith T et al. 2014. Watershed History Revealed Through Government Land Office Surveys: Detecting Change Over A Century Of Land Use In The Columbia River Basin (poster).

Jenni K, D Graves et al. 2014. Identifying stakeholder-relevant climate change impacts: A case study in the Yakima River Basin, Washington, USA. Climatic Change 124:1

Graves D and A Maule. 2014. A stakeholder project to model water temperature under future climate scenarios in the Satus and Toppenish watersheds of the Yakima River Basin in Washington, USA. Climatic Change 124:1

Narum S, N Campbell et al. 2013. Thermal adaptation and acclimation of ectotherms from differing aquatic climates. Molecular Ecology 22

Dittmer K. 2013. Changing streamflow on Columbia basin tribal lands—climate change and salmon. Climatic Change 120:3

Sharma R et al. 2013. Relating spatial and temporal scales of climate and ocean variability to survival of Pacific Northwest chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Fisheries Oceanography 22

Gephart L, Day D, Shively D, Co-chairs. 2012, Inland Water Ecosystems Chapter – National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, U.S. Government Publication.

Graves D. 2012. Simulation of Water Temperature in the Upper Grande Ronde Basin with Future Climate Change Scenarios. CRITFC Technical Report 12-09

Gephart L. 2009. Tribal Salmon Restoration and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest.

Graves D. 2008. A GIS Analysis of Climate Change and Snowpack on Columbia Basin Tribal Lands.

(The last two articles were published in Ecological Restoration 27:3)

CRITFC Data Sets

CRITFC data includes GIS layers and databases produced through research, monitoring, and evaluation projects

CRITFC Climate Change Partner Organizations

Pacific Northwest Climate Science Center Website

North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative Website

Great Basin Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative Website

University of Washington – Climate Impacts Group. Website

Oregon Climate Change Research Institute.  Website

Pacific Northwest Tribal Climate Change Network.  Website

Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals Climate Change Program.  Website

Overview on Climate Change and the Pacific Northwest

Flores L, J Mojica et al. 2017.The Value of National Capital in the Columbia River Basin: A Comprehensive Analysis. Earth Economics.

Mote P et al. 2014. The Northwest. Chapter 21 in the US National Climate Assessment

Dalton M et al. 2013. Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for Our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities

NOAA Western Region. Climate Service Providers Database: An Online Directory

Effects on Hydrology and Water Temperature

Scientific Articles

Vano JA et al. 2015. Seasonal hydrologic responses to climate change in the Pacific Northwest. Water Resources Research 51:4

Hamlet AF et al. 2013. An overview of the Columbia Basin Climate Change Scenarios Project: Approach, methods, and summary of key results. Atmosphere Ocean 51

Isaak DJ et al. 2012. Climate change effects on stream and river temperatures across the Northwest U.S. from 1980 – 2009 and implications for salmonid fishes. Climatic Change 113:499-524

Elsner MM, et al. 2010. Implications of 21st century climate change for the hydrology of Washington State. Climatic Change 102(1-2): 225-260

Mantua N et al.  2010. Climate change impacts on streamflow extremes and summertime stream temperature and their possible consequences for freshwater habitat in Washington State.Climatic Change 102: 187-223

Tague C et al. 2008. Deep groundwater mediates streamflow response to climate warming in the Oregon Cascades. Climatic Change 86: 189-2010

Projections (Data) for Future Climate Change Scenarios

A new set of hydrologic climate change scenario projections were completed at the University of Washington in partnership with regional water management agencies in the Fall of 2017. The Columbia River Climate Change Project includes results from low (RCP4.5) and high (RCP8.5) emissions scenarios and multiple global climate models, downscaling methods, and hydrologic models in order to produce a robust range of future projected changes to river flows at 396 different sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. We recommend that tribal staff use these updated projections for hydrologic or water resource studies that require estimates of future river flows.

Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab, US National Forest Service (2013) NorWeST Stream Temp Regional Database and Model.  The NorWeST webpage hosts stream temperature data and climate scenarios in a variety of user-friendly digital formats for streams and rivers across the western U.S. The temperature database was compiled from hundreds of biologists and hydrologists working for >100 resource agencies and contains >150,000,000 hourly temperature recordings at >20,000 unique stream sites. Those temperature data were used with spatial statistical network models to develop 30 historical and future climate scenarios at 1-kilometer resolution for >1,000,000 kilometers of stream.

Effects on Salmon and other Fish and Wildlife

Scientific Articles

Tonina D. et al. 2022. Climate Change Shrinks and Fragments Salmon Habitats in a Snow-Dependent Region.Geophysical Research Letters

Crozier L. et al. 2020. Snake River sockeye and Chinook salmon in a changing climate:Implications for upstream migration survival during recent extreme and future climates. PLoS ONE 15(9)

Crozier L. et al. 2019. Climate vulnerability assessment for Pacific salmon and steelhead in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. PLoS ONE 14(7)

Mantua NJ et al. 2015. Response of chinook salmon to climate change. Nature Climate Change 5

Crozier L. 2015. Impacts of Climate Change on Salmon of the Pacific Northwest. US National Marine Fisheries Service ESA supplemental biological opinion: D1-D50

Wade AA et al. 2013. Steelhead vulnerability to climate change in the Pacific Northwest.Journal of Applied Ecology 50: 1093-1104

Rieman et al. 2011. Anticipated Climate Warming Effects on Bull Trout Habitats and Populations Across the Interior Columbia River Basin. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society

Independent Scientific Advisory Board. 2007. Climate Change Impacts on Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife. Prepared for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Effects on Forest and Vegetation

Scientific Articles

Schoennagel T et al. 2017. Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Vose JM et al. 2016. Effects of drought on forests and rangelands in the U.S.: A comprehensive science synthesis. US Forest Service technical report WO-93b

Littell JS et al. 2013. Forest ecosystems: Vegetation, disturbance, and economics. Chapter in Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for our landscapes, waters, and communities (Island Press).

Projections (Data) for Future Climate Change Scenarios

Integrated Scenarios Project. Modeled projections of future vegetation in the Northwest.  Derived from application of the VIC hydrology model, Unified Land Model, and two vegetation models (MC2 and 3-PC) for future climate scenarios.

Pacific Northwest Riparian Climate Corridors. Layers produced as part of the WGA/LCC Riparian Mapping Project, which identifies riparian corridors in the Pacific Northwest expected to facilitate climate-induced species range shifts and provide micro-climatic refugia from warming.

The Nature Conservancy’s Terrestrial Resilience Density.  Project to identify the most resilient sites in the Northwest that will collectively and individually best sustain native biodiversity even as the changing climate alters current distribution patterns.

Adaptation Strategies for Tribes

Atlas, WI, et al. 2021. Indigenous Systems of Management for Culturally and Ecologically Resilient Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) Fisheries BioSciences 71:2

Donatuto, et al. (Swinomish Indian Tribal Community). 2019. The “value” of values-driven data in identifying indigenous health and climate change priorities

Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. 2018. Tribal Climate Adaptation Guidebook

University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. 2018. Tribal Vulnerability Assessment Resources

Climate Adaptation Workbook (US Forest Service) A Climate Change Tool for Land Management and Conservation

Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) A Shared Knowledge Base for Managing Natural and Built Systems in the Face of Rapid Climate Change.

Adaptation Partners (US Forest Service) Science-Management Partnerships Focused On Climate Change Adaptation in the Western United States

Working with Beaver to Restore Streams, Wetlands, and Floodplains. 2015. The Beaver Restoration Guidebook

CRAVe (US Geological Survey) Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability

Climate and Traditional Knowledge Workgroup. 2014. Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges (TKs) in Climate Change Initiatives

National Wildlife Federation. 2011. A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

University of Oregon – Tribal Climate Change Project (includes A Guide for Tribal Leaders on U.S. Climate Change Programs)

Center for Science in the Earth System, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. 2007. Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments.

Principals for Salmon Habitat Restoration in an Era of Climate Change

Scientific Articles

Quaempts, E et al. 2018. Aligning environmental management with ecosystem resilience: a first foods example from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon, USA. Ecology and Society 23:2

Perry L et al. 2015. Incorporating climate change projections into riparian restoration planning and design. Ecohydrology 8.5

Beechie T et al. 2013. Restoring salmon habitat for a changing climate.River Research and Applications 29: 939-960

Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council. 2007. Helping Pacific Salmon Survive the Impacts of Climate Change on Freshwater Habitats

Battin, J et al. 2007. Projected impacts of climate change on salmon habitat restoration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104:16

To obtain a full copy of any of the articles listed above or other research articles, please contact the StreamNet Library at CRITFC at (503) 238-0667

Questions about this page or have suggestions for other resources that should be added? Please email us.