The Skagit Climate Science Consortium (SC2) is a group of scientists working with local people to assess, plan and adapt to climate related impacts.
Comprised of research scientists from federal, state, municipal, tribal, and university and non-governmental organizations working in the Skagit basin, SC2 members seek to understand how the landscape, plants, animals and people may be affected by changes in the patterns of rain, snow, temperature, storms and tides.
Reduce the vulnerability of human communities and ecosystems in the Skagit River basin to the impacts of a changing climate.
To support Skagit communities as they adapt to climate change. SC2 achieves this by:
Fostering collaborative scientific research to understand the diverse and interrelated ipacts of climate change from the Skagit headwaters to Puget Sound;
Producing relevant climate-related products closely integrated with the Skagit community’s needs and concerns;
Serving as a conduit between Skagit communities and SC2 scientists to assist in the development of adaptation strategies.
What We Do
SC2 collaborates across disciplines to help understand and quantify the impacts of a changing climate. We pool our funding, expertise and research ti improve the accuracy of our findings. We conduct meaningful analyses that can point out where communities are vulnerable and we can help provide information that allows decision-makers to weigh various options.
We respond to the local communities and integrate their concerns and inquiries into our research initiatives. We present our findings and correct inaccuracies in the data and the findings based on feedback from those with additional information.
We are a bridge between state efforts and directions on climate change and local, on-the-ground efforts. SC2 can help Skagit Basin communities apply Washington State policy recommendations by localizing data and information to be relevant for decision-makers and communities.
We reach out to decision-makers and stakeholders with our findings by providing important information to cities, utilities, farmers, and businesses that seem vulnerable to us based on the research and information available to us. Decision-makers can determine what is or isn’t of use to them as they move forward or work with us to refine our improve our work to be more relevant or useful.
We are dedicate to high-quality, objective science that can be used confidently by Skagit basin communities, leaders, stakeholders and decision-makers. We seek to make our findings available on-line and to publish in peer-reviewed publications for evaluation by scientists and other interested parties.
We have wide-ranging expertise and come from federal, municipal, tribal, university and non-profit organizations. We specialize in topics ranging from climate variability and glacial history to hydrology and fisheries biology. Many of us call the Skagit basin home and most of us spend hours and hours in the field conducting our research.
History and Motivation
The Consortium began forming in 2009 as a result of conversations between staff at Seattle City Light, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington. Leaders in these organizations convened a meeting and subsequently a workshop with climate research scientists and others to discuss Skagit climate research and findings. Through these discussions the scientists began to see how the research they had been conducting separately could be improved by working more closely together.
For example, Dr. Jon Riedel’s research on glaciers was an important component to Dr. Alan Hamlet’s research on changes in river flows. Dr. Eric Grossman’s research on the movement of sediment down the Skagit River was influenced by Riedel’s and Hamlet’s findings on the retreat of glaciers and the changing hydrology. Where Grossman’s sediment was deposited had tremendous implications for Dr. John Rybczyk and Dr. Greg Hood’s research on changing plant communities in the Skagit Delta and Padilla Bay. Grossman’s research also had implications for Dr. Ed Conner and Mr. Ron Tressler who support Seattle City Light’s dam operations. Modeled changes in the amount and timing of the water coming down the Skagit and the pressures of the tides pushing water up the Skagit had significant implications for Dr. Tarang Khangaonkar’s modeling work on the floodplain.
As a vision for integrated climate research in the Skagit began to emerge, the scientists sought joint funding to improve and integrate their research and support the development of an organization they came to call SC2 or the Skagit Climate Science Consortium. As their conversations evolved they realized that in addition to their commitment to conducting high quality research, they were also committed to not only making their findings available to local planners, decision-makers, habitat restoration organizations and others but sought to work interactively with the local community to ensure their finding were relevant and usable.
In 2010, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community successfully received a grant from EPA and donations from Seattle City Light and the City of Anacortes to provide additional resources to SC2. The Swinomish Tribal Community is interested in supporting SC2 efforts because of their desire to protect their community and understand how climate change may impact their own infrastructure as well as the natural resources they depend on. The tribe also benefits as others understand the research findings so they too can plan proactively for a changing future landscape. This limited funding, secured through 2013, is allowing the SC2 scientists to meet quarterly, integrate their research efforts and analysis, pool and seek funding, improve this website and host local workshops and gatherings.
The Skagit Climate Science Consortium members are still in the foundational process of creating SC2. SC2 is in the process of establishing a non-profit organization.
Alan Hamlet of the University of Notre Dame (formerly at the University of Washington) and Larry Wasserman with the Swinomish Tribe are SC2’s current Co-Chairs. They have served in this capacity since the group’s initiation.
SC2 has established a set of objectives (listed in the sidebar) to guide their efforts. They have also established membership criteria to inform discussion about potential new members. New members are currently accepted into SC2 based on consensus of the group.