Climate Change Adaptation - Idaho

State Seal of Idaho

  Threat - Water Supply or Quality     Threat from storm surge/weather events     Threat from Increased Drought     Threat to Wildlife or Habitat      
  Action: Planning in Progress     Action: Planning or Conducting Studies                  

Climate Change History

Executive Order 2007-05 by governor C.L. “Butch” Otter directed the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to develop a greenhouse gas inventory and provide recommendations for reducing greenhouse gases.  The 1996 Idaho State Water Plan mentions of “Climate Variability” as an issue for planning.

Current & Future Action

Idaho has partnered with the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to promote academic and scientific research on the potential effects of climate change.  The Salmon and Snake river basins are integral parts of this program, serving as ‘natural laboratories.’

In 2011 Idaho is scheduled to participate in the National Wetland Condition Assessment under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The State Water Plan, last updated in 1996, is currently being revised.  The existing policy on Climate Variability has been extensively revised to focus on preparedness, planning and flexibility to respond and adapt to address climate-induced changes in water supplies. It is expected that thiscurr revision process will move to the public comment phase in 2011.

The next step is long-term planning in specific basins.  Two such projects are underway currently: Treasure Valley and Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.

Pilot Programs/Current Studies

Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plans (CAMPs) are funded and in development in the Treasure Valley and Rathdrum Prairie Aquifers. When funding is available, additional planning will be undertaken for additional aquifers.  These are studies of the water supply and demand with a 50 year timeframe.  Climate Variability impacts are being studied as part of the program to aid in the long term planning component.  Pacific Northwest climate models are being downscaled to these basins.

For More Information

Update: April 2012:  Secure Water Act Report 2011: Climate Assessments & Climate Analysis Bureau of Reclamation: Managing Water in the West

Update: April 2012:  Idaho’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (Climate Change Focus), a collaboration between ID’s state universities:

State Water Plan, including older versions and current revisions (Climate Variability is in the revisions on page 37):

Comprehensive Aquifer Management Program (CAMPs):

For more information about Idaho’s climate change efforts, contact Toni Hardesty at .

For more information about the State Water Plan contact Brian Patton, Water Planning Bureau Chief, .