An Integrated Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Rocky Mountain National Park and its Gateway Community: Interactions of Multiple Stressors

EPA Grant Number: R827449
Title: An Integrated Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Rocky Mountain National Park and its Gateway Community: Interactions of Multiple Stressors
Investigators: Hobbs, N. Thompson , Baron, Jill S. , Coughenour, Michael B. , Covich, Alan , Loomis, John , Ojima, Dennis , Stohlgren, Thomas J. , Theobald, David M. , Weiler, Stephan
Current Investigators: Hobbs, N. Thompson , Baron, Jill S. , Cooper, David J. , Coughenour, Michael B. , Covich, Alan , Dickens, Joyce , Galbraith, Hector , Landrum, Laura , Loomis, John , McDuff, Mallory , Ojima, Dennis , Theobald, David M. , Weiler, Stephan
Institution: Colorado State University
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2002 (Extended to September 30, 2003)
Project Amount: $894,846
RFA: Integrated Assessment of the Consequences of Climate Change (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Water , Ecosystems , Climate Change

Description:

Gateway communities are concentrations of human population and commerce in close proximity to conservation areas. We propose to assess effects of changes in climate and land-use on Rocky Mountain National Park and its gateway community, Estes Park Colorado. Specifically, our objectives are to:

  • Assess the potential consequences of changing land-use and climate for landscape structure, water quality, aquatic biota, terrestrial wildlife and native plant communities.

  • Extend these biotic effects to predict likely changes in visitation and the implications of those changes for the local economy.

  • Based on the understanding gained above, help stakeholders identify and evaluate potential ways to respond to a changing landscape and climatic context.

Approach:

In gateway communities like Estes Park, natural processes are tightly linked to commerce by the behavior of Park visitors. To represent this link, we will investigate responses of visitors to direct effects of a changing climate (e.g., seasonal shifts in opening of roads and trails) as well as responses to indirect effects mediated by changes in the natural system (e.g., changes in wildlife populations, landscape structure, aquatic biota). Using human responses to mediate climate and land-use drivers, we will extend effects of climate change to the local economy.

The project will be organized in three phases. In phase one, we will conduct a preliminary assessment dealing broadly with natural processes and human economic behavior. In phase two, we will assemble stakeholders to react to the preliminary assessment and to inform our science team about interventions that could exploit beneficial effects of climate change and ameliorate harmful ones. We have enlisted three partners, the Estes Valley Improvement Association, the National Parks and Conservation Association, and Rocky Mountain National Park to help organize the stakeholder process. In phase three, we will use stakeholder input to focus the assessment on evaluating plausible alternatives for coping with climate change.

Expected Results:

Our partners have committed from the outset to help us disseminate findings and, where appropriate, to incorporate those findings into advocacy, management, and policy. Thus, we are confident that the science we propose will achieve results by helping citizens, mangers, and advocates anticipate and cope with effects of a changing climate.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 16 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 8 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

collaborative design, landscape change, economic preferences, aquatic systems, terrestrial systems., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecology, Hydrology, climate change, Ecological Risk Assessment, ecosystem models, environmental monitoring, biodiversity, gateway communities, terrestrial ecosystems, economic models, water quality, biotic response, aquatic ecology, landscape characterization, land use

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final Report