Climatic Change

, Volume 124, Issue 1–2, pp 371–384 | Cite as

Identifying stakeholder-relevant climate change impacts: A case study in the Yakima River Basin, Washington, USA

  • K. Jenni
  • D. Graves
  • J. Hardiman
  • J. Hatten
  • M. Mastin
  • M. Mesa
  • J. Montag
  • T. Nieman
  • F. Voss
  • A. Maule


Designing climate-related research so that study results will be useful to natural resource managers is a unique challenge. While decision makers increasingly recognize the need to consider climate change in their resource management plans, and climate scientists recognize the importance of providing locally-relevant climate data and projections, there often remains a gap between management needs and the information that is available or is being collected. We used decision analysis concepts to bring decision-maker and stakeholder perspectives into the applied research planning process. In 2009 we initiated a series of studies on the impacts of climate change in the Yakima River Basin (YRB) with a four-day stakeholder workshop, bringing together managers, stakeholders, and scientists to develop an integrated conceptual model of climate change and climate change impacts in the YRB. The conceptual model development highlighted areas of uncertainty that limit the understanding of the potential impacts of climate change and decision alternatives by those who will be most directly affected by those changes, and pointed to areas where additional study and engagement of stakeholders would be beneficial. The workshop and resulting conceptual model highlighted the importance of numerous different outcomes to stakeholders in the basin, including social and economic outcomes that go beyond the physical and biological outcomes typically reported in climate impacts studies. Subsequent studies addressed several of those areas of uncertainty, including changes in water temperatures, habitat quality, and bioenergetics of salmonid populations.


Climate Change Impact Salmon Population Influence Diagram Columbia River Basin Salmonid Population 



We thank the workshop participants, Lynne Koontz, and Jennifer Thorvaldson for their support, and the reviewers for many helpful suggestions. Funding was provided by U.S. Geological Survey, Science Applications and Decision Support Program. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement of the U.S. Government.

Supplementary material

10584_2013_806_MOESM1_ESM.docx (172 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 172 kb)


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Copyright information

© U.S. Government 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Jenni
    • 1
  • D. Graves
    • 2
  • J. Hardiman
    • 3
  • J. Hatten
    • 3
  • M. Mastin
    • 6
  • M. Mesa
    • 3
  • J. Montag
    • 4
  • T. Nieman
    • 5
  • F. Voss
    • 6
  • A. Maule
    • 3
  1. 1.Insight Decisions LCCDenverUSA
  2. 2.Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish CommissionPortlandUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Geological SurveyWFRC, Columbia River Research LaboratoryCookUSA
  4. 4.U.S. Geological SurveyFort Collins Science CenterFort CollinsUSA
  5. 5.Decision Applications, Inc.Saint HelenaUSA
  6. 6.U.S. Geological SurveyWashington Water Science CenterTacomaUSA

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