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 who supports 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 formed a 501 c(3) nonprofit organization in 2014. Dr. Jon Riedel, National Park Service, serves as the President and Chair of the Board. Larry Wasserman, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, serves as the Secretary and Treasurer and Vice-Chair of the Board.
SC2 has established a set of objectives 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.