Implications of Water Impacts from Climate Change: Preparing Agricultural Educators and Advisors in the Pacific Northwest

2016 Annual Report for EW15-012

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $75,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2018
Grant Recipient: Washington State University
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Joe Harrison
Washington State University

Implications of Water Impacts from Climate Change: Preparing Agricultural Educators and Advisors in the Pacific Northwest


The Implications of Water Impacts from Climate Change: Preparing Agricultural Educators and Advisors in the PNW has two major components: 1. The regional conference (Climate Impacts to Water: Managing the Uncertainties of Water Supply and Quality Conference) aimed at agricultural educators and advisors and 2. The short film products highlighting regional water conservation stories under the context of climate change.

  1. We are anticipating the PNW regional Climate Impacts to Water: Managing the Uncertainties of Water Supply and Quality Conference taking place on Jan 25-26, 2017 on the Columbia River at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA. This conference committee comprised of university related climate projects and NRCS has been planning for the past year to organize this event. At the current time, we are accepting abstracts for the event as well as advertising to groups to attend the conference. Please see the attachments to view the advertisement and press release. The conference website is:
  2. The three short films consist of documenting water conservation success stories and promising management in the region. The videos feature:
    1. Low Elevation Precision Application/Low Elevation Spray Application Irrigation- Dr. Troy Peters with WSU Extension is interviewed as the expert on the topic. We also interviewed Doug Simpson on his Mint and Grape farm in Mabton WA using the LEPA irrigation system. The irrigation system has drop hoses that come down from the pivot to direct apply closer to the earth vs. 12 feet up off of the center pivots. He uses soil probes and is so impressed by the system after trying it for the past 3 years, that he will be installing flow meters to monitor water use and efficiency.
    2. Dry farming on small vegetable farms in Western Oregon- we interviewed 4 small farmers (Cathryn and Dan Herz; Harz Farm, Darlene Gowen; Gowen Farm, Keegan Caughlin; Taproot Growers at Two Rivers Farm) that are growing tomatoes, melons, and dry beans under dry farming conditions. Amy Garett, with OSU is interviewed as the expert on the topic during the OSU field day on the topic of dry farming. Dry farming is practiced in Northern California and is becoming more popular as water and periods of water shortage are becoming more common in the Pacific Northwest. The variety of vegetables are chosen because of their vertically expansive root system and their adaptability to the region. The plants are not watered and have a 3 inch layer of dirt mulch on top of them preventing competition with weeds.
    3. Reactive Adaptation ( Dairy Farming in a Jr. Water Rights Irrigation District)- We interviewed Dr. Guilluame Mauger with the University of WA Climate Impacts Group, Jay Gordon with the WA state Dairy Federation, Dr. Joe Harrison a livestock nutrient management and dairy extension specialist with WSU Ext, Jason Sheehan with J&K Dairy and Jason’s agronomic consultants: Scott Stephens (AgriManagement) and David Trautman (Simplot Solutions). The video focuses on lessons learned from the 2015 drought and how the farm is planning for the future by reactive adaptation. For example, they planted sorghum because of the lesser water use compared to corn. Also their rows are closer together to keep the soil protected from the sun increasing water moisture holding capacity.2017-water-impacts-from-cc-briefclimateimpacts-card_register_2updraft-schedule

Objectives/Performance Targets

  1. The objectives of the conference is to educate and inform the agriculture professionals in the region on the climate impacts to the regions water supply. Also, an overarching theme of this meeting is for water users, managers and sharers in the PNW to learn each other’s values, so ultimately we can conserve and properly use the regions’ resource effectively, especially under future climate predictions.
  2. The objectives and intent of the three water conservation and management videos is to show water conservation and use: through new technology (LEPA/LESA), new management practices that are being adapted from Northern CA and being now being tried in OR (dry farming) and reactive adaptation (dairy farming within a Jr. water rights district).


  1. The progress with organizing and planning the conference is well underway.
  2. The three videos have been filmed, and are currently being edited. The videos will be available for viewing at the end of 2016.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

  1. We plan to record the plenary sessions of the conference so the presentations can be viewed online. Also the submitted abstracts will have one page length brief papers to be housed in a single document online.
  2. The three video conservation stories will be finished by the end of 2016, ready to be viewed at the Climate Impacts to Water conference at the end of January 2017 and housed on our program YouTube channel and embedded on the PNW regional climate hub, our project website , distributed through our regional climate affiliated projects and networks including, and then also through social media.


Chad Kruger
Director of Mt Vernon Research and Extension Center and Director for the Center of Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources
Washington State University
16650 State Route 536
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273-4768
Office Phone: 3608486120
John Stevenson
Regional Extension Climate Specialist
Oregon State University
104 CEOAS Admin
Corvallis, OR 97331
Office Phone: 5413735689
Troy Peters
Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist
Washington State University
24106 N. Bunn Road
Prosser, WA 99350-8694
Office Phone: 5097869247
Elizabeth Whitefield
Research and Extension Assoc.
Washington State University
2606 W Pioneer
Puyallup, WA 98371
Office Phone: 14017416563
Dr. Kristy Borrelli
Extension Specialist
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive
Moscow, ID 83844-2339
Office Phone: 2088851220