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Adapting Landscape Plants, Policies, and Management to a Water-Limited Future

Tree experiencing stress from water shortage

Adapting Landscape Plants, Policies, and Management to a Water-Limited Future
September 13, 2017

Tom Brown, USDA Forest Service
Heidi Kratsch, University of Nevada, Reno

Climate change, growing populations, and increasing water demands across sectors increase the vulnerability of water supplies across the US to shortage, driving a range of policies and community- and site-scale choices on water management in urban and community landscapes. It is critical for policy makers and water resource planners to have accurate estimates of the extent to which these changes are likely to occur and for property owners and managers to understand the choices available to them for appropriate landscape plant selection and proper irrigation of trees and shrubs. Tom Brown will present his work from the 2020 RPA Assessment on projected large scale changes in temperature, precipitation, water yield, water, demand, and water shortages. Heidi Kratsch will speak to behavior change, particularly in irrigation practices, that can help individuals and communities adapt to water shortages and increasing water costs, sustain tree canopies, and avoid the negative effects of canopy loss.


View the webinar podcast »

Future Water Supply Vulnerability in the U.S (PDF)
Tom Brown
USDA Forest Service

Keeping Urban Trees Alive Now and into the Water-Limited Future (PDF)
Heidi Kratsch
Horticultural Specialist, Cooperative Extension
University of Nevada, Reno


Resources Mentioned in the Webinar

Projected Freshwater Withdrawals in the United States under a Changing Climate
Published in Water Resources Research, this paper summarizes past water use and projects future water use based on trends in water use efficiency and major drivers of water use.

Twenty-First Century Climate in CMIP5 Simulations: Implications for snow and water yield across the contiguous United States
This article in the Journal of Hydrometeorology projects water yield and snow water equivalent for fourteen alternative climate futures.

Water-Efficient Landscaping in the Intermountain West
This working manual provides complete information on the technical aspects of designing, building, and maintaining waterwise landscapes in the Intermountain West. Purchase required

Value Landscape Engineering: Identifying costs, water use, labor, and impacts to support landscape choice
This article in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association presents a spreadsheet model that identifies the costs, water, labor, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, energy, carbon emissions, and particulates required of and generated by a user-specified residential or commercial landscape over its economic life. It also highlights strategies water conservation programs can use to encourage property owners to install and adopt water-conserving landscape features and practices.

US Forest Service Resources

Resource Planning Act (RPA) Assessments
The Forest Service has conducted natural resource analyses for over a century. The 1974 RPA legislation established a periodic reporting requirement and broadened the coverage to all renewable resources on US forests and rangelands. The RPA Assessment includes analyses of forests, rangelands, wildlife and fish, biodiversity, water, outdoor recreation, wilderness, urban forests, and the effects of climate change on these resources.

Evaluation of Seven Drought Tolerant Species for Central California
Published in Western Arborist, this articledescribes a 14-year evaluation of seven drought tolerant species and assesses their survival, growth, and water tolerance under a variety of site conditions.