Climate Change in the Laguna Watershed: Addressing Hydrologic and Ecologic Impacts

Publication Type  Conference Presentation
Authors  Lorraine Flint; Alan Flint
Affiliations  U.S. Geological Survey, Placer Hall, 6000 J St., Sacramento, CA 95819
Year  2009
Key Words  climate change; watershed; hydrology; ecology

Climate change in the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed will be manifested by numerous changes in the surface water and groundwater resources, as well as in the stressors for ecological landscapes and species diversity. Future projections of the changes in air temperature and precipitation from global climate models for the next 100 years are downscaled to fine scale resolution (270-m grid spacing) that captures the differences within habitats and stream drainages. These data are applied to watershed-scale models and translated into hydrologic outcomes and ecologic stressors or drivers in the watershed at that same spatial resolution. Streamflow and groundwater recharge projections for the 21st century, along with changes in evapotranspiration, soil moisture, air temperature, climatic water deficits, and various other environmental drivers will have the potential to impact species distributions and diversity, water availability and competition. Watershed-scale projections and spatially distributed data provide tools and information for land and resource managers to prioritize their resources and actions to approach the task of adaptation to climate change.


LORRAINE E. FLINT: U.S. Geological Survey, California Water Science Center, Sacramento, CA 95819-6129; Phone (916) 278-3223, email:

Lorrie has a PhD in Soil Physics from Oregon State University and has been with the USGS as a Research Hydrologist since 1986. Her current research involves downscaling future climate projections to ecologically relevant scales (1-km to 30-m) and using that as input to a regional scale hydrologic model with the same scale output. The research provides precipitation, min and max air temperature, soil moisture, potential and actual evapotranspiration, solar radiation, climatic water deficit, snow accumulation, snow melt, sublimation, recharge, and runoff. Projects are being conducted throughout the western US for analyses of water availability, flow and transport, snowmelt processes, and ecosystem change. In addition to climate change research, Lorrie has spent the last 3 years working on the Laguna floodplain developing a conceptual model of floodplain sedimentation, measuring sedimentation, and developing a 2-D hydrodynamic model of flow and sediment transport.

Conference Name  2009 State of the Laguna Conference and Science Symposium
Presentation Type: 
2_FLINT-Wed session 1.pdf8.77 MB