The Association conducted two climate change risk assessments using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT). BCWA used their assessments to build on existing modeling and monitoring efforts to better understand how climate change threats could affect utility operations and watershed health within the upper watershed above Evergreen and within the lower watershed above Bear Creek Reservoir. Each model assessment provided similar climate change threats, adaptations, and risks but with different management options.
The CREAT models predict the watershed between 2020 – 2050 will become significantly hotter on average with an increased potential for drier conditions. The lower Bear Creek Watershed Model predicts an average 6.12°F increase in annual temperature in Middle Bear Creek Drainage and at Bear Creek Reservoir by 2050. As with all climate modeling there is an understanding that future conditions can vary from predictions. However, planning for the expected changes of hotter and drier is a prudent management strategy. The results of a CREAT assessment provide information the BCWA can use for long-term watershed water quality planning processes.