Sixth Annual FIRO Workshop

August 12, 2019

The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), Sonoma Water, Orange County Water District and Yuba Water Agency co-hosted the 6th Annual Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) workshop at Scripps Institution of Oceanography on August 6th-8th. The three-day meeting brought together over 100 US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Bureau of Reclamation officials, dam operators, local water agencies, researchers, and academics to discuss the progress and future of FIRO.

The meeting began with CW3E Director, Marty Ralph welcoming attendees, providing a brief retrospective of FIRO over the past 5 years and thanking workshop co-sponsors as well as FIRO funders. USACE FIRO Program manager, Cary Talbot, provided opening remarks. The first session highlighted the three current FIRO projects, Lake Mendocino, Prado Dam and Yuba-Feather (New Bullards Bar and Oroville Dams), followed by presentations on the utilization of FIRO decision support tools over the last year.

The second day began with a review of the current FIRO operations and challenges as well as the environmental concerns at the three FIRO project locations. These were followed by presentations and discussions about forecast challenges, novel observations that support improved forecasts and watershed understanding, and hydrologic modeling efforts. Lively discussion focused on how research addresses operational changes both in forecasting and water management. Presentations ended with a perspective of how science and technology enable FIRO. The last panel provided different perspectives on potential adaptive management strategies that could leverage improved forecast skill over time. The day wrapped up with a reception and poster session highlighting FIRO related research.

The last day was a look toward the future of FIRO. The morning session focused on subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasting and the climate change-FIRO nexus. The final session centered on potential future FIRO applications. CW3E Director Marty Ralph provided closing remarks.

The range of participants and expertise in the room demonstrated the highly collaborative community of agencies, institutions, and individuals who have taken FIRO from concept to application and continue to learn from each other.