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.
CRITFC Tribe’s Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Plans
Yakama Nation. 2016. Yakama Nation Climate Change Adaptation Plan
Nez Perce Tribe Water Resources Division. 2011. Clearwater River Subbasin Climate Change Adaptation PlanStefanie Krantz. Climate Change What Can We Do? Presentation
Select Climate Change Work Published by CRITFC Staff
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
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
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.
(The last two articles were published in Ecological Restoration 27:3)
CRITFC Data Sets
CRITFC Climate Change Partner Organizations
Pacific Northwest Climate Science Center Website
North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative Website
Great 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
Columbia Basin Partner Forum. Website
Overview on Climate Change and the Pacific Northwest
Mote P et al. 2014. The Northwest. Chapter 21 in the US National Climate Assessment
NOAA Western Region. Climate Service Providers Database: An Online Directory
Effects on Hydrology and Water Temperature
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
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
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
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
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.
Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute, The Evergreen State College. 2006. Climate Change and Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations
Principals for Salmon Habitat Restoration in an Era of Climate Change
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 104:16StreamNet Library at CRITFC at (503) 238-0667 email us.