Stewarding the natural and cultural resources of the Cienega Watershed of Southeastern Arizona.

Adaptive Management
and Climate Change

In the Cienega Watershed, adaptive management is collaborative, science-based management in tandem with stakeholder, public, and partnership involvement. The watershed is already experiencing changing vegetation communities, higher temperatures, and ecological change associated with climate change. Because the ecological processes and components that define this landscape are not stagnant, the decisions, policies, and practices that guide living in and managing the watershed cannot stand still.

In the field: researchers with yellow bluestem

In the field at Las Cienegas National Conservation Area: researchers discuss the impact of climate change, including invasive species.
Photo by Tahnee Robertson.

Adaptive management responds to uncertainty, change, and challenges.
Current efforts to assess the watershed conditions and annual monitoring of key indicators are meant to define trends and changes and to determine whether management decisions and practices are working. One picture coming clear is that climate change adds to the stress already on the land.

A critical element in adaptive management is participation by managers, scientists, stakeholders, and the public. Cienega Watershed Partnership plays a key role in bringing together partners to practice larger land-scale, adaptive, science-based management and to plan for a future in which climate change is a major challenge.

Scenario planning session

Scenario planning session at a recent State of the Watershed workshop.
Photo by Tahnee Robertson.

Adaptive management and climate change planning efforts by CWP and our partners include:

Climate Change Scenario Planning Workshops

Beginning in 2013, CWP led a series of Scenario Planning in the Cienega Watershed workshops. View the updates:

Related climate change scenario planning work is ongoing. To participate, please contact us.

Science on the Sonoita Plain Annual Symposium

The Science on the Sonoita Plain Symposium is held annually to share results of scientific investigations and land management activities that are occurring within the upper watersheds of Cienega Creek, Sonoita Creek, and the Babocomari River.

State of the Watershed Workshops and Watershed Indicators Assessment Project

Over the past two years, CWP has convened a series of workshops, conducted an electronic survey, and held several smaller working group sessions to gauge the state of the Cienega Watershed, including the development of watershed indicators and assessment tools.

Support for the Bureau of Land Management’s Biological Planning Semi-Annual Field Days

CWP partners with the Bureau of Land Management’s Tucson Office on biological planning semi-annual field days at Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. The field days provide an ongoing opportunity for researchers and administrators to come together in the field to discuss issues related to the watershed, as well as solutions incorporating adaptive management.

Get the latest information by viewing the Biological Planning newsletters, edited by CWP:

Additional Adaptive Management and Climate Change Resources

CWP also manages grants for assessment, research, restoration, and education activities that support understanding challenges to the watershed and adapting to change. The following publications and resources are the result of CWP and partner adaptive management and climate change research and workshops:

For additional information, or to participate in CWP’s adaptive management and climate change activities, please contact us.

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