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Climate Change Workshop to Assess Risks to Sun Valley
Tuesday, November 27, 2018


How will climate change affect Sun Valley? And what can we do to mitigate the risks?

Several local agencies and organizations are hosting a workshop on Monday, Dec. 3, to identify possible scenarios and prioritize projects to address those scenarios.

The Blaine County Resilience Scenario Planning Workshop, open to the public, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday in the Minnie Moore Room of the Community Campus, 1050 Fox Acres Road in Hailey.

Lunch will be provided.

It is co-hosted by Blaine County, the City of Ketchum, the Sun Valley Institute and Warm Springs Consulting.

“The Blaine County commissioners have felt strongly about the need to get ahead of the risks facing us. We want to determine what climate change means for our economy, our community and what are the risks and security concerns,” said Aimee Christensen, executive director of the Sun Valley Institute, which holds a forum each summer addressing such concerns.

The county is funding the workshop, along with the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute at the University of Idaho. Warm Springs Consulting from Boise has expertise in conducting these types of workshops.

This will be the first of two workshops. It will identify the potential risks, priorities and potential projects that need to be put in place.

It will feature a panel discussion moderated by Katherine Himes, director of the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy at the University of Idaho. Panelists include Ron Abromovich, hydrologist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Snow Survey Office in Boise, either Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson or Matt Filbert, assistant fire management office for the U.S. Forest Service, and Michelle Griffith, executive director of ARCH Community Housing Trust.

Some interviews with community leaders have been done to set the stage.

“We want to determine how we can get ahead of risks and turn our response to those risks into opportunities,” said Christensen.

A second workshop, tentatively slated for February, will flesh the projects out, determining what needs to happen to make them happen and who needs to take them forward.

“The recent release by the U.S. Government of the congressionally mandated Fourth National Climate Assessment reminds us that damage to communities is already happening with major economic harm,” said Christensen, noting in particular the recent Paradise, California’s Camp Fire, which became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, as well as extreme rain events like Hurricane Harvey, which dumped 60 inches of rain on Texas in 2017.

“Earlier this year the world’s leading global climate change experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their special report warning us we must act quickly or face severe impacts to our security and our economy,” she added.

That report said that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.  And it said that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to two degrees Celsius could ensure a more sustainable and equitable society.

The leading edge of action in the United States is with states, cities and businesses, one of the report’s authors Andrew Light told NPR.

To register for the workshop, go to

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