Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Galisteo, Albuquerque Convention Center
Ecologists and social scientists are exploring new ways to deal with the impacts of changing climate and associated extreme events. Floods, droughts, and hurricanes are expected to increase in frequency and intensity and sea level is already rising in many coastal zones.
Cumulative effects of these events are already adding severe stressors on sustaining ecosystem services provided by rivers, lakes and wetlands. The provision of clean, disease-free water supplies relies on many natural ecosystem processes and on engineered treatment facilities that are being redesigned and relocated to meet these environmental extremes. Both natural habitats in drainage basins and the built infrastructure have economic values that can be compared in different ways to derive new management concepts needed for dealing with uncertainty about climate. Ecological and related disciplines are generating new perspectives that illustrate regional responses to climatic impacts. Urban and agricultural planners have developed models for adjusting to water shortages and storm flows. Economists and planners are working with ecologists to improve management of water treatment facilities, surface and sub-surface storage reservoirs, hydro-power generation and agricultural irrigation to maintain biodiversity that is essential for sustaining ecosystem services.