Advancing Climate Adaptation in Flagstaff

Advancing Climate Adaptation in Flagstaff: Expert Discussion Session

On August 20, 2013 at the Global Institute of Sustainability, in preparation for workshops with Flagstaff’s Public Works and Police Departments, a team of researchers is convening a small workshop with experts on climate and health, transportation materials, fire, storm water management, and emergency management. This discussion session will lead to a deeper understanding of the critical issues faced by the two departments. The Flagstaff City Council recently adopted strategies based upon the City’s 2012 City of Flagstaff Resiliency and Preparedness Study. Flagstaff’s management team hopes to implement these strategies through its performance measure and budgeting processes. The University of Arizona’s Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) program and Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) and Center for Integrated Solutions to Climate Challenges is assisting the City in this process. The team will work with Flagstaff’s management team to convene workshops targeted at the police and public works departments. The goals for the workshops will be to identify adaptation strategies that can be implemented now and planned for in the medium- and long-terms as climate and social conditions evolve. Once these strategies have been identified, we will develop performance measures and progress indicators for each strategy.

Expert Discussion Session Objectives

  1. Document expert opinions on how human vulnerability as they relate to health, storm water drainage, street pavement, forest fire, population, and emergency managers will be impacted by climate changes (impacts germane to the City of Flagstaff public works and police departments).
  2. Develop an understanding of the ideal strategies available to adapt to the aforementioned climate change impacts, the information necessary to implement those strategies, and metrics to measure their success (ostensibly improving resilience).
  3. Identify, in general, the information and tasks Flagstaff will likely need to plan and implement these strategies. This information will be incorporated into subsequent workshops with the City of Flagstaff.


  • 10:00 – 10:20 Introductions and Overview of Project (Zack Guido)
  • 10:20 – 10:35 Overview of Flagstaff Resiliency Study (Nicole Woodman)
  • 10:35 – 10:50 Why we are here (Ray Quay)
  • 10:50 – 11:50 Q1: In your expertise area, in what ways will human vulnerability be impacted by climate changes? What impacts could potentially be the most severe? (All)
  • 11:50 – 12:00 Break
  • 12:00 – 12:30 Working Lunch: Q1a: What are the overlapping issues of these topics? (All)
  • 12:30 – 1:30 Q2: If you were charged with developing strategies to deal with these risks in Flagstaff, what strategies would you focus on? (All)
  • 1:30 – 1:50 Break
  • 1:50 – 2:50 Q3: What information and or tasks would you need to plan and implement these strategies? (All)
  • 2:50 – 3:30 Next steps (Ray Quay)
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Q4: In your area of expertise, what practical metrics would you use to estimate or rate resiliency to climate change? (All)


  • Mark Brehl, City of Flagstaff
  • Mariano Gonzales, AZ Dept. of Emergency Management
  • Jon Fuller, JE Fuller/Hydrology & Geomorphology Inc.
  • Abe Springer, NAU, School of Earth Science & Environmental Sustainability
  • Shane Underwood, ASU, Department of Civil, Environmental, & Sustainable Engineering
  • Vjollca Berisha, Epidemiology
 Maricopa County Department of Public Health
  • Kimberly Sharp, Comprehensive Planning Manager, City of Flagstaff
  • Tamara Lawless (convener), City of Flagstaff
  • Zack Guido (convener), University of Arizona
  • Michele Roy (convener), Arizona State University
  • Ray Quay (convener), Arizona State University
  • Nicole Woodman (convener), Sustainability Manager, City of Flagstaff

September 4 Water/Climate Briefing

Challenges of Communicating Sustainability in Complex Systems for Public Policy

In our first Water/Climate Briefing for the 2013-2014 academic year, DCDC set the stage for a wide-ranging discussion of critical issues in the realms of science and policy for this year’s theme: Communicating Sustainability in Complex Systems for Public Policy.

Our panelists explored:

  • Understanding sustainability and complex systems
  • Communicating sustainability and climate change for public policy
  • Design of governance arrangements to transcend political borders
  • Design and administration of complex organizations
  • The role of global governance organizations in sustainability
  • Incorporating complexity into water resources decision making
  • Innovative tools for communicating complexity for public policy

We aim to provide opportunities for researchers, policy makers, and the interested public to engage in informed dialogue about the challenges and opportunities for decision making about sustainability in complex systems.

Join the conversation!


Jonathan Koppell WCB Sep 4 2013
Dean, College of Public Programs
Lattie and Elva Coor Presidential Chair, School of Public Affairs
Arizona State University

Michael Schoon
Assistant Professor, Environmental Policy
School of Sustainability
Arizona State University

Doug Toy
Water Regulatory Affairs Manager
City of Chandler

Dave White
Co-Director, Decision Center for a Desert City
Arizona State University


Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Thank you for your interest! We are at seating capacity. RSVPs will now be wait listed. Video of the discussion will be posted on September 9 at /outreach/waterclimate-briefings/


Decision Center for a Desert City, 21 East 6th Street, Suite 126B, Tempe Map

U. S. Drought Monitor

Concerns for water in the West are reflected in recent articles in the news such as Las Vegas water chief seeks disaster aid for Colorado River drought via Las Vegas Review-Journal; Arid Southwest Cities’ Plea: Lose the Lawn via The New York Times; New Mexico is the driest of the dry via the Los Angeles Times.

US Drought MonitorTracking drought blends science and art. No single definition of drought works for all circumstances, so people rely on drought indices to detect and measure droughts. But no single index works under all circumstances, either. That’s why we need the Drought Monitor, a synthesis of multiple indices and impacts, that represents a consensus of federal and academic scientists. The product will be refined over time as find ways to make it better reflect the needs of decision-makers and others who use the information.

The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Eastern Time. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Check out the U.S. Drought Monitor and the Arizona Drought Monitor.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.