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Projects

EarthLab seeks to partner with decision-makers and to create relevant science-based solutions to our most urgent environmental issues. Together, we identify and work on projects that can effectively create real and positive change. For collaborations that are just starting and may become projects in the future, EarthLab offers an Incubator Program to help nascent ideas realize their full potential.

These are just a short selection of ongoing and past projects — visit each of our Member Organization’s webpages for a more complete list and details.

 


An Unfair Share: Exploring the Disproportionate Risks from Climate Change Facing Washington State Communities

Current and future climate risks, stemming from heat waves, floods and droughts pose challenges for all Washington communities. However, the degree to which communities are exposed to climate hazards is not uniform across the state. Similarly, the extent to which communities are vulnerable to or can cope with hazards varies across communities, and even among individuals. The Climate Impacts Group partnered with numerous organizations to produce a report aimed at supporting ongoing discussions at the local and state levels regarding the climate risks facing communities in Washington, with a special emphasis on risks faced by communities of color, indigenous peoples and communities with lower incomes. 

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Biological Responses to Ocean Acidification

Understanding the effects of ocean acidification on marine species is essential to promote adaptation that sustains coastal communities, maintain the vitality of the state’s seafood and marine recreation industries, and meet recovery goals for endangered species. Importantly, knowing more about how ocean acidification affects biology provides critical information for natural resource managers and others concerned with ocean acidification impacts.
The Washington Ocean Acidification Center and its partners study the effects of ocean acidification on numerous species that are ecologically and commercially important to the state of Washington. 

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Building Tribal Capacity for Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

Many tribal nations are actively engaged in efforts to understand climate risks to their natural and cultural resources, and what they can do to prepare. The Climate Impacts Group and the Northwest Climate Science Adaptation Center work in partnership with tribal communities across the Northwest to support their efforts to respond and build resilience to climate-related threats.
This project will help increase tribal capacity for vulnerability assessments by providing guidance and data tailored to the needs of Northwest and Great Basin tribes. 

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Camas Prairie Cultural Ecosystems

Common camas (Camassia quamash) was one of the most important cultural foods in Coast Salish territory and continues to play a key ecological role. Over the past 200 years these ecosystems and the cultural practices that maintained them have been severely disrupted. This project is developing an education and research program with the goal of revitalizing cultural practices by educating younger generations and engaging tribal and non-tribal members in conservation and restoration of these critical habitats. 

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Change from Within: Diversifying the Environmental Movement

Our first intern, Jasmmine Ramgotra, conducted research and choreography for Change from Within, a cross-disciplinary, interview-based dance performance and discussion exploring the lack of diversity in the environmental field and solutions for improvement. Performances have been held at UW and the Seattle Art Museum.
Change from Within explores the lack of diversity in the environmental field and solutions for improvement in the cross-disciplinary format of contemporary dance. 

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Co-locating Field Observations with Biological Sampling

Combining observations of seawater chemistry with biological samples taken in the same place and at the same time offers a powerful means of assessing the status and trends of ocean acidification and its impacts in Washington waters. Such observations can enhance our understanding of underlying processes and contribute to responsive management of Washington’s marine resources and adaptive strategies.
The Washington Ocean Acidification Center works with partners to initiate new observations and expand current monitoring activities. 

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EarthGames

EarthGames is an award-winning program at UW that develops video games and apps to teach environmental awareness and motivate sustainable choices. It consists of a studio class at UW, associated teachers’ guides, curated reviews of environmental games, an annual professional networking events and  occasional game jams. Part of a growing community, EarthGames started in 2015 as a dynamic group of students and faculty at UW, who in their first year won 1st place in the National Climate Game Jam for “Climate Quest” and 3rd place for “AdaptNation.” The next year they went on to capture 1st place and 2nd place in the Climate Game Jam for “Water Ways” and “Drop.”
 
In 2017 the Center for Creative Conservation helped grow the community, and the concept, with EarthGames on Tap, a fun and inspiring evening bringing together game, environmental, and education professionals to meet and catalyze new games that are good for people and the planet.  

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Effect of Climate Change on Flooding in King County Rivers

Climate projections indicate an increase in flooding in many Pacific Northwest watersheds over the course of the 21stcentury, in response to an increasing proportion of mountain precipitation falling as rain instead of snow. Global climate models also project an increase in the intensity in the type of heavy rain events that cause most river-scale flood events. In this study, the Climate Impacts Group used new projections to model changes in future streamflow and evaluate potential changes in peak flows on rivers across King County, Washington. 

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Effects of Climate Change on Wildfire Patterns and Forests in the Pacific Northwest

A warming climate in the coming century will have profound effects on fire frequency, extent and severity in the Northwest. Forest managers need information on likely changes in fire and forests in a warming climate to help guide management and sustain ecosystem services. To address this information need, researchers funded by the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center developed a state-of-science report on potential effects of changing climate on fire regimes in forests of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and western Montana. 

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Identifying and Evaluating Refugia from Drought and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

Researchers funded by the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center assessed spring-fed wetlands for hydrologic and ecological resilience to climatic water stress using freely available remote-sensing and climate data. The approach presented in this study could be combined with field-based assessments to help natural resource managers identify clusters of springs that are most likely to be resilient to climate change, to help support climate-aware conservation planning for wildlife and vegetation that depend on spring-fed wetlands. 

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