Yampa Basin Rendezvous

Organized by the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), Colorado Mountain College, Friends of the Yampa, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, and Steamboat Resorts

Why is the Yampa Basin Important?

The Yampa River is one of the wildest remaining major tributaries of the Colorado River and supports a rich ecosystem, local agriculture and ranching, and a robust recreation industry. It also provides crucial water supplies to local stakeholders and locations as far removed as Arizona and Southern California. A multitude of environmental and societal factors are expected to be affected by climate change in the Yampa River Basin and are pertinent to other watersheds around the American West.

YBR Mission

The YBR strives to be an opportunity for reflection, communication, appreciation, and collaborative, interactive learning about the Yampa Basin ecosystems, environment, weather, climate, people, and culture and their intersections, for members of the Yampa Basin community as well as all the communities downstream who rely on the Yampa’s water.

YBR Goals

Connect students, researchers, institutions, and community members who live and work in the Yampa River Basin to share knowledge regarding climate variability and change that has impacts on the environment, people and the economy. Build community and encourage collaborative problem-solving and planning, and provide an opportunity for citizens and visitors to be informed about the state of the Yampa Basin and the people and plans in place and in process to protect it.

2021 Yampa Basin Rendezvous: A Dialogue on Drought, Water Availability, and Conservation

September 8-10, 2021; Colorado Mountain College, Steamboat Springs, CO

The Yampa River is one of the wildest remaining major tributaries of the Colorado River and supports a rich ecosystem, local agriculture and ranching, and a robust recreation industry. It also provides crucial water supplies to local stakeholders and locations as far removed as Arizona and Southern California. However, warming temperatures, rising snowlines, and increased drought occurrence and severity pose serious risks to the boreal, alpine, and riverine ecosystems of the Yampa River Basin. How are we, as a community, developing conservation practices and adapting to manage the impacts of current and expected droughts and water availability challenges? This question will be at the forefront of the 2021 Yampa Basin Rendezvous. This 2-day event will provide an overview of the current state of, and future planning for, water resources in the Yampa River Basin. It will also include a discussion of the role of economic, environmental, and cultural factors that influence conservation planning. The overarching goal is to provide a venue that encourages a science-based, community-centered approach to create informed, adaptive, and resilient management strategies for drought resilience and water conservation.

During the fourth-annual Yampa Basin Rendezvous, participants will examine the Yampa River Basin with a focus on drought and water conservation. The Rendezvous will include morning talks by regional experts, discussion panels, afternoon field learning, and a community event, and will be conducted in person as local guidelines allow. Options for virtual participation will be provided when possible. We will explore the impacts of drought in the Yampa River basin, science behind the projected changes in water availability and its effects on resource management and water conservation. Through this dialogue with the local community, we hope to pair CW3E’s research directions with the community’s expertise on the challenges and successes of resource management and conservation practices in the Yampa to identify how additional information and research may be beneficial.

This event is an ongoing effort to connect graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, researchers, staff and faculty from the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E; cw3e.ucsd.edu) to river basins throughout the west. CW3E is based at the University of California San Diego’s (UCSD) Scripps Institution of Oceanography and is building a regional community of scientists and engineers to work on western weather and climate problems. Building deep, meaningful connections with people who live, work, and steward rivers in the west is essential and it is preferable that this happen at an early career stage.

2020 Yampa Basin Rendezvous: A Dialogue on Measuring and Managing Seasonal Variability

More Information about the Rendezvous: We will explore the science behind projected changes in precipitation and temperature patterns and their effects on resource management, how we monitor and measure these changes, and whether or not our existing systems are capable of matching historical predictive skills for resource management. Through this dialogue with the local community, we hope to pair CW3E’s research directions with the community’s expertise on the challenges and successes of resource management practices in the Yampa to identify how additional climate and weather information and research may be beneficial.

Warming temperatures and rising snowlines pose serious risks to the boreal, alpine, and riverine ecosystems of the Yampa River Basin. How are we, as a community, measuring the existing seasonal variability and adapting to manage the impacts of current and expected seasonal changes? This question will be at the forefront of the 2020 Yampa Basin Rendezvous, which will be presented in a series of webinars throughout the year.

Join the dialogue, connection with others, and let’s talk about climate!

First Webinar: June 4, 2020

Information about the webinar and its layout: The first webinar will be an introduction to the series and provide an overview of the past year in the Yampa Basin with an eye to this year’s theme of Seasonal Variability. Our panelists will include Marty Ralph, Director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), Kent Vertrees, with Friends of the Yampa and Steamboat Powdercats, and Nathan Stewart, Associate Professor of Sustainability Studies at Colorado Mountain College. Carrie Hauser, President, and CEO of CMC, will kick-off the online event.

Second Webinar: July 9, 2020

The second webinar will be a panel discussion on Changes in Measurement with a Changing Climate, held on July 9, 2020 from 11-12:30 Mountain Time. The tools we use to measure seasonal change aren’t giving us the same predictive information as they have in the past. Learn about what our measurement data is showing us and ways we can adapt our strategies to be more effective. Our panelists will include Mike Dettinger, retired research hydrologist for the USGS, and a visiting research associate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Jeff Deems, Research Scientist with National Snow and Ice Data Center; and Gannet Hallar, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science at University of Utah.

Third Webinar: September 17, 2020

The third webinar will be a panel discussion on Shifting Seasons and Precipitation, held on September 17, 2020 from 11-12:30 Mountain Time. What are the changes we are seeing and how is that impacting our local and statewide watershed and forest health? Our panelists will include Russ Schumacher, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, Director of the Colorado Climate Center, and Colorado’s State Climatologist; David Stahle, Distinguished Professor of Geosciences at University of Arkansas; and Courtney Peterson, Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) Coordinator for the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science.

Fourth Webinar: October 22, 2020 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM (MT)

The fourth webinar will be a panel discussion on the Impacts of Seasonal Variability and Uncertainty in anticipated changes on our economy, environment and way of life in the Yampa River Basin. Our panelists will include David Anderson, Program Director for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program; Todd Hagenbuch, County Director and Agricultural Agent for CSU Extension; and Aneesh Subramanian, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UC Boulder.


2019 Yampa Basin Rendezvous: A Dialogue on Climate Projections and Building Community Resilience

June 4-5, 2019; Colorado Mountain College, Steamboat Springs, CO

During the event, which built directly off the inaugural Rendezvous held in 2018, participants examined the Yampa River Basin through the lens of climate change and community resilience. The workshop included talks by regional experts, discussion panels, afternoon field learning, and a community event. We explored the science behind climate projections with a focus on the Yampa, learned how climate change is expected to impact various stakeholders, and what adaptation and mitigation plans are in place, as well as where challenges remain. This dialogue with the local community allowed pairing of research interests of graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, researchers, staff and faculty from CW3E with the community’s expertise on challenges and successes of resilience planning and practice in the Yampa. This effort helped to identify how additional climate and weather information and research could support climate resilience planning in the Colorado River Basin and California, and strengthened connections between those who live in the Yampa basin and some of those who depend on its water.

2019 Yampa Basin Rendezvous News Story

2019 Yampa Basin Rendezvous Summary

2018 Yampa Basin Rendezvous

June 5-6, 2018; Colorado Mountain College, Steamboat Springs, CO

During the inaugural Rendezvous, participants examined the Yampa River Basin through the lens of weather, environment, and culture. The workshop included talks by local experts, discussion panels, afternoon field learning, and a community event. After building a foundation on the region’s history and environment, we explored the various demands on the Yampa’s water, and learned how these needs are met and where challenges remain. This dialogue with the local community introduced graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, researchers, staff and faculty from CW3E to the Yampa Basin. Drawing from the community’s historical knowledge and expertise on the challenges and successes of conservation and use practices on the Yampa, the Workshop has prompted new research directions for CW3E that will support weather and water decision-making processes in the Colorado River Basin and California.

2018 Yampa Basin Rendezvous News Story

YBR Steering Committee Members:

Anna Wilson, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, UC San Diego (2018-2021)

Sarah Jones, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation (2018-2021)

Matt Jost, Colorado Mountain College (2018-2021)

Marty Ralph, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, UC San Diego (2018-2021)

Mike Sierks, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, UC San Diego (2018-2021)

Nathan Stewart, Colorado Mountain College (2018-2021)

Tony Urbick, Steamboat Resorts by Vacasa (2018-2021)

Kent Vertrees, Friends of the Yampa & Steamboat Powdercats (2018-2021)

Lindsey Marlow, Integrated Water Management Plan and Yampa River Fund (2020-2021)

Madison Muxworthy, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council (2020-2021)

Holly Kirkpatrick, Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District (2021)

Tim Sullivan, The Nature Conservancy (2020)

Leah Campbell, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, UC San Diego (2018)

Tina Evans, Colorado Mountain College (2018)

Carrie Henderson, Steamboat Resorts by Wyndham Vacation Rentals (2018)