Education & Engagement

The Willamette Water 2100 project included education and outreach components for K-12 students and educators, undergraduate and graduate students, and community and professional audiences. Over its six years, the project trained eight MS and five PhD students and conducted graduate courses on (1) the use of focus groups in stakeholder engagement and (2) multi-scale hydrologic modeling. The project also supported a multi-day watershed education workshop for K-12 teachers, research experiences for K-12 teachers and high school students, and developed a place-based children’s book on water. Through its Learning and Action Network, the project team hosted many events for regional water stakeholders and managers, and gave more than 100 professional and outreach presentations to regional and professional audiences including 10 workshops, 3 field trips and 13 webinars.

Photos from WW2100 broader impacts activities.

Graduate Education

Graduate students in a variety of fields received mentoring and carried out research as part of the WW2100 project team. Their studies resulted in eight MS and five PhD theses (Table 1). In addition, we conducted two graduate-level courses, one on the use of focus groups in stakeholder engagement (WRP 599) and a second on multi-scale hydrologic modeling (WRS 599). We also delivered two special seminar courses (WRS 507) focused on water sustainability, and climate projects and issues, one in spring term 2011, the other in spring term 2015. An average of 25 students enrolled, and the seminars were also open to and attended by the public. Further description of these courses is provided below.

WRP 599 course enrolled ten students, WRS 599 enrolled 12 students at OSU and was cross-listed at Portland State University where an additional 12 students were enrolled.

WRP 599 Practicum in Conducting Focus Group Interviews - Spring 2012

Course Description from Syllabus: This graduate-level practicum course is centered around an NSF funded water experts stakeholders engagement workshop, applies the theory and practice of focused group interviews to elicit expert information and capture expert knowledge through the use of concept maps of water management in a major river basin. The course begins with a set of targeted readings and an introductory lecture to provide an overview of (1) the theory and practice of focus group process, including elements of IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval (2) the specific goals of the focused interviews in the context of the NSF funded Willamette Water 2100 research project. In the second and third week students will participate in interactive discussions to help refine interview questions and follow-up questions. In weeks four and five, students will assist in facilitation of a practice focus group followed by a written critique of the process. In Week 6 students will use the techniques learned to facilitate and record up to 6 different focus group interviews at the Willamette Water 2100 May 9 symposium. Following the symposium Week 6, students will critique and report on interactions in their own focus group. In weeks 7-10, Denise Lach will present a guest lecture on inter-investigator consistency in coding interview responses, students will code and summarize the data collected from their focus group notes and flip charts. The course final will be a report from the focus group you facilitated, and class discussion and synthesis of the major findings.

WRS 599 Multi-scale Hydrologic Modeling - Spring 2013

Course Description from Syllabus: This graduate-level course addresses issues related to water resource scarcity under changing landscape conditions. To accomplish this, the course focuses upon the theory and practice of hydrologic modeling at various spatial scales from small catchments to a major river basin such as the Willamette River Basin, and compares different modeling approaches used to evaluate potential future impacts of global change.The models discussed and presented represent different elements of a complex water resource system, and are linked by their use in a common project, the Willamette Water 2100 project.The course begins with a set of readings and an introductory lecture to provide an overview of (1) the specific goals of modeling approaches used in the context of the Willamette Water 2100 research project and (2) the theory and practice of hydrologic modeling. In weeks 2-9, collaborators on the WW 2100 project will each give two lectures discussing their modeling approach in the specific context of the Willamette Water 2100 project. Each lecturer will address the same set of key topics and themes in their lectures, using their modeling approach to illustrate the advantages and constraints imposed by that approach, how the model “plugs in” to Envision or if the model is not coupled as a plug-in, the way that this model helps to inform the larger project and other modeling efforts. Each lecturer will provide a homework assignment. In the laboratory sessions students will learn to use Envision and the associated HBV-FLOW model. For the group projects, groups of 3-4 students will select and focus on an interdisciplinary research question that can be addressed by the Envision model and use Envision to explore the potential outcomes associated with this research question. Students will prepare a group technical summary and give a 30 minute presentation on the results of their project. In week 10, the course wrap-up, students will examine and critique reference runs of the Envision model and prepare in class a joint assessment of the application of this model in the WRB and recommendations for its improvement. On the final day of class, we will discuss technology transfer and application of Envision and other models in other regions.

WRS 507 Seminar - Spring 2011 and WRS 507 Seminar- Spring 2015

Course Description from Syllabus:The seminar is a chance for students to learn from and interact with water resources professionals with many different experiences and perspectives. Speakers were chosen both to cover specific topics and to represent different disciplines and career tracks. Students are expected to be engaged listeners and to ask questions about the presentation. Learning Objectives include:

  1. To become familiar with current research in the area of Water Resource Science, specifically with respect to interdisciplinary water resources research on Water Sustainability and Climate

  2. To observe various ways of presenting research results

  3. To practice critiquing presentations and developing questions to ask of presenters

  4. To provide students with opportunities to meet scholars and practitioners in the field

Table 1. Graduate student theses supported by the Willamette Water 2100 project.

Primary Subject Area

Project Advisor

Thesis Citation

human dimensions

Sam Chan

Ferguson, L. 2015. Characterizing and Assessing the Researcher-Stakeholder Engagement Process for Water Sustainability: The Willamette Water 2100 Project, Master of Science (MS) in Marine Resources Management. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

snow hydrology

Anne Nolin

Gleason, KE. 2015. Forest Fire Effects on Radiative and Turbulent Fluxes over Snow: Implications for Snow Hydrology. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Geography: 202. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

applied economics

Andrew Plantinga

Bigelow, DP. 2015. How Do Population Growth, Land-use Regulations, and Precipitation Patterns Affect Water Use? A Fine-scale Empirical Analysis of Landscape Change. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Applied Economics: 199. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

geography and applied economics

Julia Jones and William Jaeger

Moore, KM. 2015. Optimizing Reservoir Operations to Adapt to 21st Century Expectations of Climate and Social Change in the Willamette River Basin, Oregon. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Geography: 183. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.


Naomi (Christina) Tague

Garcia, ES. 2014. Ecohydrologic Modeling in Three Western U.S. Mountain Watersheds: Implications of Climate, Soil, and Carbon Cycling Interactions for Streamflow. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Geography: 142. UC-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA.

human dimensions

Anita Morzillo

Atkinson, M. 2014. Attitudes toward Water Allocation Policy in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Masters of Science (MS) in Natural Resources: 91. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.


Stan Gregory

Williams, J. 2014. Habitat Relationships of Native and Non-native Fishes of the Willamette River, Oregon. Fisheries and Wildlife. Master of Science (MS) in Fisheries Science: 123. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

water resources policy

Mary Santelmann

Hunter, ML. 2013. Water, Energy, and Ecosystem Services: A Study of Businesses in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Master of Science (MS) in Water Resources Policy & Management: 80. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

applied economics

William Jaeger

Kalinin, A. 2013. Right as Rain? The Value of Water in Willamette Valley Agriculture Department of Applied Economics. Master of Science (MS) in Applied Economics: 48. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

groundwater hydrology

Roy Haggerty

Neumann, PE. 2012. Shallow Aquifer Storage and Recovery (SASR): Regional Management of Underground Water Storage in Hydraulically Connected Aquifer-stream Systems. Master of Science (MS) in Water Resources Science: 37. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

applied economics

JunJie Wu

Olen, B. 2012. Irrigation Choices for Major West Coast Crops: Water Scarcity and Climatic Determinants. Agricultural and Resource Economics. Master of Science (MS) in Applied Economics: 96. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

snow hydrology

Anne Nolin

Sproles EA. 2012. Climate Change Impacts on Mountain Snowpack Presented in a Knowledge to Action Framework. College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Water Resources Science: 192. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

K-12 and Public Outreach

Understanding the importance of engaging and informing broader audiences about regional water issues, we also conducted activities and generated products relevant to both public education and K-12 education in water. Dr. Mary Santelmann and her graduate student, Maria Lewis Hunter, wrote a children’s book about water with illustrations both by a professional artist and art drawn by K-12 students. The student artwork was prepared under the direction of the artist through artist-in-residence sessions. The book, entitled Water was published as an eBook by the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS), and includes a Spanish language version, Agua.

K-12 WW2100 WISE Teacher Professional Development: Addressing Emerging Issues on Water and Climate Change through STEM and Service Stewardship

We also collaborated with an Oregon Sea Grant teacher’s professional development program called WISE (Watershed and Invasive Species Education) that is co-funded by NOAA. In FY 2013-2014, we used the WW2100 project as a framework to design WISE teacher professional development. We adapted WISE teachers workshops and included new elements on framing, understanding, and using a model to ask what-if questions about water and the influences of people. Segments included:

  1. Causes of water availability through climate change, population growth, snow, and land use. Taught by Dr. Sam Chan, OSU Sea Grant

  2. Implications of the drivers of water scarcity in our watersheds: science system learning, social perspectives. Taught by Dr. Sam Chan, OSU Sea Grant

  3. Don’t be afraid of the mechanics of models and modeling (Learn how we can use models to predict future water scarcity and quality). Taught by Dr. Scott Wells, PSU Civil Engineering

  4. Let’s model! Curious about the patterns of flow, water quality and the role of humans on the Willamette River? Taught by Dr. Scott Wells, PSU Civil Engineering

  5. Modeling through a jar of jellybeans. The science of making predictions about water sustainability and climate change. Taught by Laura Ferguson, graduate research assistant, OSU CEOAS

A total of 12 teachers participated (about our capacity) over three full days of WISE workshops, including a two-day workshop (October 11-12, 2013 in Beaverton, OR) at the beginning of the school year, and a one-day workshop (May 28, Tualatin, OR) at the end of the school year to share learning activities developed by the teachers. Several of the WW2100 WISE teachers also participated in the project as teacher-researchers, attending project field trips and workshops and in some cases working with Dr. Anne Nolin’s snow monitoring research group on winter snow surveys in the Cascade mountains.

Related Publications and Links

Broader Impacts Team

  • Samuel Chan, Oregon Sea Grant
  • David Hulse, University of Oregon (UO) Landscape Architecture
  • Linda Modrell, Former Benton County Commissioner
  • Anita Morzillo, OSU Forest Ecosystems & Society
  • Mary Santelmann, OSU Water Resources Graduate Program
  • Laura Ferguson, MS Student, OSU Marine Resource Management (Graduated: 2015)
  • Maria Lewis Hunter, MS Student, OSU Water Resources Policy and Management (Graduated: 2013)
  • Adam Stebbins, Benton County
  • Maria Wright, OSU Institute for Water and Watersheds

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement from project inception to completion distinguished WW2100 from many other large scale biophysical and socioeconomic research projects. By engaging stakeholders in the research project, we sought to:

  • enhance advancement in science by placing a deliberate emphasis on societal relevance and adaptation,

  • provide a mechanism for regional and “boots-on-the-ground” project review, and

  • support learning and information exchange among water users, managers, scientists, and educators

To achieve these goals, we employed three strategies to reach various audiences in the Willamette River Basin throughout the project. Table 1 outlines these strategies and this web page highlights two key project components, our “Learning and Action Network” (LAN) and “Technical Advisory Group” (TAG).

Table 1. WW2100's three-level stakeholder involvement strategy.

Strategy Group Outreach and Feedback Strategy
1 Learning Action Network (LAN) - ~215 self-identified listserv participants; 120 people attended at least one WW2100 event Field trips, workshops and webinars designed to foster interaction and shared learning between researchers and stakeholders, and provide regional feedback on model and scenario design (project years 1-5; 2011-2015)).
2 Technical Advisory Group (TAG) - group of ~25 professionals chosen by Research Team based on their expertise, constituency affiliation, and representation; charged with defining assumptions of two stakeholder scenarios. Six half-day meetings in project year 5 (2014-2015), as well as phone calls, and emails on specific questions; provided specific quantities for scenario assumptions, and judgments on future land and water use policies and practices.
3 Regional Outreach – regional audiences of water managers, policy makers and the public 35 invited presentations on the Willamette water system and the WW2100 project; many invitations stemmed from connections made through the LAN and TAG.

About the Learning and Action Network

The Learning and Action Network (LAN) was our primary mechanism to encourage collaboration between scientists and stakeholders.LAN events consisted of fieldtrips, workshops, and webinars, where we encouraged dialogue about water issues in the basin, and introduced and received feedback on WW2100 modeling approaches and analysis. We invited participation in the LAN through professional contacts, and by engaging a representative working in local government (Adam Stebbins) to serve as a stakeholder liaison in the early years of the project. The LAN grew to include county commissioners, managers and scientists from state and federal natural resource agencies, farmers, K-12 educators, and representatives from water utilities, conservation organizations and industry. Over 120 people participated in at least one LAN event, which included:

  • Fieldtrips: Three daylong LAN fieldtrips in project year 1 (April, August, and September 2011) toured the upper, middle and lower Willamette River Basin (WRB). Water managers and scientists gave short presentations at field trip stops which encouraged networking and gave participants an on-the-ground view of geologic controls on hydrology, reservoir operations, fisheries concerns, restoration and water quality mitigation, and water storage and delivery for power supply, agriculture and urban uses. Over 70 people attended the three field trips.

  • Water Scarcity Discussion: A workgroup of the LAN convened in project year 1 (June 2011) to develop a stakeholder driven definition of water scarcity. The session paralleled an effort among the research team to develop a formal academic definition of the concept (Jaeger, et al., 2013). The LAN group’s goal was to develop a plain language definition that reflected regional concerns about biophysical and human constraints on water availability. They reached consensus on the following definition, “Water scarcity occurs when there is not an affordable, attainable and reliable source of clean water when and where it is wanted or needed by humans, animals and plants, currently and into the future.”

  • Focus Group Discussions: We convened six focus groups in project year 2 (May 2012) to establish a baseline of knowledge, needs, networks, and expectations around water sustainability and scarcity in the WRB. The focus groups clustered participants by geography and perspective as managers or research scientists. Seventy-one people participated.

  • Workshops: In years 2-6 we held annual LAN forums where we invited the LAN to review and provide feedback on the model design, data sources, and draft scenario assumptions of the WW2100 modeling effort. Attendance at each forum ranged from 36-74 people. Pre and post surveys on expectations, information needs and knowledge gain were conducted at each of the annual forums.

  • Webinars: In years 3-5 we held 12 webinars focused on different project components, from regional climate projections to modeling land use change. These webinars provided background information on particular components of water supply and demand, and featured related research that influenced development of WW2100 modeling components. The webinars were each attended by an average of 50 people made up of both the research and LAN communities.

  • Electronic Mailing List: Our LAN email distribution list grew to 215 self-subscribed participants. Notices to the listserv included invitations to LAN events, summary newsletters of workshop activities and outcomes, and topical research and news stories.

  • Dialogue: Members of the LAN were encouraged to and felt comfortable calling the BIT to provide input on data, share concerns and suggestions. This provided an additional trusted avenue of informal and formal dialogue between the LAN and the research team.

About the Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

Beginning in project year 5 (Fall 2014) we invited a core group of 25 citizen stakeholders to participate in a series of half-day meetings to define the assumptions for two stakeholder scenarios. Called the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), members were affiliated with municipal, county, state and federal agencies, tribes, agricultural and forestry interests, industry, public utilities, irrigation districts, and farmers. These individuals were approached by the research team and asked if they would volunteer to serve on the TAG. We recruited TAG participants based on the depth and breadth of their knowledge of water issues in the WRB, and for their capacity to represent the broad range of sectoral and geographic water use and management interests and past participation. Many of these eventual TAG members had participated in LAN events in project years 1-3.

Within the larger WW2100 effort, the group’s charge was to define the driving assumptions of two future scenarios. The TAG chose to create scenarios in which multiple scenario characteristics varied at the same time. Early TAG discussions centered on the unifying theme or scenario name that would distinguish one TAG scenario from the other. The TAG ultimately chose the names Extreme and Managed Case for their two scenarios.

Scenario assumptions were defined by specifying the particularities for each of the nine key scenario elements the TAG believed best represented an Extreme versus a Managed Case water availability future (shown in Figure 3c-1). These TAG scenario definition decisions were made by consensus, with each meeting facilitated by a Research Team member. Meetings frequently included presentations by research team members to explain the technical background of the WW2100 Envision model and to present in-process results of research team scenarios, as they became available.

Reflections on the WW2100 Stakeholder Engagement Process

Here we reflect on the successes and challenges of our effort to involve regional stakeholders in an academic research project. This reflection is partially informed by results from a formal assessment of the WW2100 stakeholder engagement process that wass the subject of an OSU master’s thesis (Ferguson, 2015). Ms. Ferguson conducted semi-structured interviews and a detailed online survey to characterize and assess expectations and outcomes from researchers and stakeholders who participated in the LAN and TAG.

We present this reflection in the context of three goals developed by the broader impacts team, the group of researchers that led stakeholder engagement activities. By involving regional water managers and users in the project, we sought to:

  • enhance advancement in science by placing a deliberate emphasis on societal relevance and adaptation,

  • provide a mechanism for regional and “boots-on-the-ground” project review,

  • support learning and information exchange among water users, managers, scientists, and educators in the Willamette River Basin (WRB).


Goal 1: enhance advancement in science by placing a deliberate emphasis on societal relevance and adaptation

LAN and TAG meetings did lead to meaningful discussions about regional water policy that influenced the scope and direction of the project. For example, a LAN meeting in May 2012 generated a list of specific water management policies that attendees felt were regionally relevant, and that they wanted to see incorporated into WW2100 modeling and scenarios. The research team then considered each suggestion and where possible adapted model design to accommodate the suggestions. The TAG process – where a group of representative stakeholders designed the constraints for two multivariable scenarios – is another example of how stakeholder knowledge informed the research process. The TAG designed the thematic direction and assumptions for the Extreme and Managed scenarios, and in the process also influenced the direction of many of the single variable human dimensions scenarios.

However, there was also tension among participants about the role that stakeholders should play in the research process. Some researchers came from traditions and disciplines that placed a strong emphasis on the value of local knowledge. Others raised concerns about the institutional bias that stakeholders might bring, or had little experience working on teams with non-academic partners. In interviews with researchers and stakeholders, Ferguson (2015) found that the most prevalent challenge mentioned during interviews was diversity of visions for the project. This manifested both within the research team and in the stakeholder engagement aspect of the project, as participants pursued different research or stakeholder engagement goals. Other project challenges mentioned by interviewees included: the logistical difficulties of coordinating so many people, the complexity of the modeling endeavor in and of itself, interpersonal differences among participants, and the challenge of merging research styles from different disciplines.

The technical challenge of modeling such a complex system led to frustration for some LAN and TAG participants. Development of the model took longer than expected, and this reduced the time and project emphasis placed on the evaluation of policy alternatives and adaptation strategies to mitigate future water scarcity. For example, stream water temperature played an important role in early LAN discussions, because it affects regulatory requirements to protect endangered fish. Yet by project year 5, the research team had not been able to incorporate stream temperature into the integrated model in the way they had hoped.

Analysis scale was another source of tension between researcher and stakeholder goals. The complexity of the model meant that much of the analysis and interpretation focused at the scale of the entire Willamette watershed, while stakeholder questions and interest often focused on the more localized scale where their management decisions played out. In TAG meetings, participants suggested that analyses at a sub-basin scale could be one direction for future research.

Despite these challenges, Ferguson’s interviews showed that LAN and TAG participants felt that they had contributed to building the model and that the completion of an integrated water model for the basin was a great success for the project. Her survey also showed that participation was positively correlated with participants’ perceptions of feeling heard (rs = .36, p < .001) and valuing the stakeholder engagement process (rs = .39, p < .001).


Goal 2: provide a mechanism for regional and “boots-on-the-ground” project review

We found that LAN workshops created useful checkpoints where researchers could present progress and receive feedback. This feedback sometimes led to explicit model adjustments, for example, changes in assumptions about farmer planting dates, and careful consideration about how to incorporate Bull Run, the large water source outside the WRB for the city of Portland (Ferguson et. al., 2014). But LAN engagement also sometimes led to frustration, when researchers could not or would not adjust assumptions or model components to match stakeholder experience. This frustration sometimes stemmed from the different perspective of researchers and stakeholders. For example, a sub-group of project researchers developed a model for urban water demand that was guided by the academic literature in economics and, based on this literature, identified water price and household income as the greatest determinants of future residential water demand. But some representatives from urban water providers felt that this model did not adequately represent the influence of water conservation education and technology, or the declines in per capita water demand they had observed in recent decades.

The complexity of Envision and its modeling components also hindered the regional review process. Pre- and post-event surveys showed that participants came away from LAN meetings with a much greater understanding of modeling components (IWW, 2012; Ferguson, 2015). But some participants felt that it was unrealistic for them to provide meaningful feedback within the one-day, large group format of the annual LAN meetings. Researchers responded to these concerns with follow-up correspondence and meetings, by developing workshop summaries, and by creating an online FAQ document (IWW, 2012; IWW, 2014; Ferguson et. al., 2014).

The format of the TAG process also helped address these concerns. By involving fewer participants (25) and more frequent (six roughly monthly) half-day meetings, it provided more opportunities for participants to ask questions and share their diverse perspectives. Questions about the limits of the WW2100 model, understanding of the larger Willamette water system, and what constituted Extreme versus Managed futures, prompted further inquiries and conversations between TAG meetings and related model refinements. These questions also led to what several TAG members described as, for them, among the most educational parts of the TAG process.

One of the benefits of the stakeholder engagement process is that it created awareness about the project among regional water managers. Ferguson’s survey showed that active participants in the WW2100 stakeholder engagement process understood the Willamette Envision model better and found the model to be more useful. In the survey, participation was positively correlated with survey respondents’ perception of the Willamette Envision model’s utility (rs = .32, p = .002) and understanding of the Willamette Envision model (rs = .42, p < .001). Interviewed stakeholders also expressed that through the process they gained an understanding of the model and other water users. They also found the Willamette Envision model more credible than they may have otherwise and implied that they could serve as project ambassadors, sharing the information with their colleagues.


Goal 3: Support learning and information exchange among water users, managers, scientists, and educators in the WRB.

In Ferguson’s analysis, the most frequently mentioned outcome of the stakeholder engagement was that participants were learning and had an overall positive experience. Interviewed stakeholders valued the process for the opportunity to build relationships with diverse water users, regulators, and researchers and to begin a constructive dialogue about planning now for possible water availability constraints in the future. Some example interview comments included, “I would say that the discussions and the relationship-building have been more beneficial to me than the actual nitty-gritty numbers that it produces,” and “I think just even having that dialogue amongst the users was probably one of the most successful parts of the project.”

We believe that two key factors enabled these learning successes. First, the goal to develop an integrated model of the Willamette water system created a forum for sharing different regional and sector perspectives. The topic of anticipating water scarcity drew the interest of individuals in many different water-related sectors, and provided an opportunity for different types of water users to learn about and consider how the water system is interconnected. The project’s broad geographic scale and long modeling horizon also freed participants to think about big picture connections. Second, because this was a research project, led by university partners, it created a neutral forum not tied to specific agency perspectives or a short-term management objective. Many stakeholders commented that they had enhanced their whole basin perspective by engaging in WW2100, and that they had few other professional opportunities to build that perspective.


As educators, we count the learning fostered by the stakeholder engagement process as among the greatest successes of the project, and we hope that it will enhance stewardship of water resources in the basin over the long term. WW2100 was an ambitious biophysical and socioeconomic modeling project that emphasized stakeholder participation as a central way of working. Stakeholder engagement in science is not a new concept. The engagement of researchers and stakeholders in discussions and decision making from project initiation to completion sets WW2100 apart in that the process is itself an experiment. Many examples can be cited on how stakeholder input was incorporated into the model. Examples can also be cited on how stakeholders’ thinking was enhanced by working with the researchers and engaging people from different sectors around a common theme.

The project revealed that there are needs and questions around water scarcity, climate change, people, policies, and land uses beyond the scope of the project. With many of the results and their interpretation coming only in the latter half of the fifth and final year of the project, we simply ran out of resources (time and funding) to address the many uses that researchers and stakeholders see as valuable from the project. A final stakeholders’ workshop served as a forum for elucidating, prioritizing, and discussing a future action plan. At this meeting, stakeholders identified such unfulfilled research needs such as integrating fish life history with a temperature model, new ways to explore and predict urban water demand that might include conservation and different infrastructure pricing, anticipating additional drivers to farming and irrigation practices, more in-depth analysis on the impacts of water policies, and perhaps even the role of changing water storage capacity in the basin.

Our project is among the first to describe and analyze the engagement process from project inception to completion. We were not perfect. However, our research of the process has revealed that engagement in science from inception to completion provides a societally relevant peer-review process, one that stimulates critical thinking on the applications and needs for water science.

Related Publications & Links

  • Ferguson L, Chan S, Santelmann M, Tilt B.  2016.  Exploring participant motivations and expectations in a researcher-stakeholder engagement process: Willamette Water 2100Landscape and Urban Planning. 157:447–456.

  • Ferguson LB.  (2016).  Collaborative science-stakeholder engagement: An annotated reference guide for scientific engagement with natural-resources practicioners (ORESU-H16-001). Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon Sea Grant.

  • Ferguson LB.  (2015).  Characterizing and Assessing the Researcher-Stakeholder Engagement Process for Water Sustainability: The Willamette Water 2100 Project. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.


  • Summary materials from LAN events:

    • LAN Workshop - December 4, 2015 - Salem, Oregon - Workshop Summary (PDF icon meetingsummary_12_4_15.pdf) - This workshop shared key stories that have emerged over the project's five years, and sought feedback from stakeholders on applying and communicating project findings.

    • LAN Workshop - March 18, 2014 - Salem, Oregon - Workshop Summary (PDF icon march2014_summary_7_15_14s.pdf) - This workshop described the WW2100 modeling framework, and introduced early findings from the Reference scenario, a model of future water availability under expected trends in population and income growth, existing policies and institutions, and a mid‐range climate change scenario.  See also the online FAQ document researchers created following the workshop (PDF icon ww2100_faq_march2014.pdf).

    • Small-group LAN Workshop - February 22, 2013, Salem, Oregon - This workshop brought together 25 stakeholders to provide feedback on elements and assumptions of the Reference Case scenario (the initial modeling scenario) and to provide feedback on metrics designed to evaluate and compare modeling scenarios.

    • LAN Workshop - May 9, 2012, Salem, Oregon - Workshop Summary (PDF icon may2012summary_7_28_12.pdf) - The workshop was an opportunity to learn about and to provide feedback on the project’s effort to model the Willamette water system and to help the project research team understand the current and future water issues facing basin stakeholders and public agencies.

    • Lower Willamette LAN Field Trip - September 23-24, 2011 - Fieldtrip Materials (PDF icon september23-24_2011_lowerwillametteguide.pdf) - This trip focused on water supply for municipal, industrial and power generation in the Portland Metropolitan area. Participants visited the Tualatin River Basin on the first day with stops at Hagg Lake, the major reservoir on the Tualatin system, the Joint Water Commission water treatment plant in Forest Grove, and riparian and wetland restoration projects near Forest Grove. Participants also attended a lecture by Dr. Heejun Chang on his hydrologic modeling work for the Tualatin River Basin. On the second day, participants joined the annual Clackamas River Watershed Tour hosted by the Clackamas River Water Providers. This tour focused on forest management, hydropower generation and waste water treatment in the Clackamas River Basin.

    • Small group LAN Workshop - Albany, Oregon (PDF icon ww2100_lanwaterscarcity_definition_june2011.pdf)- The goal of this workshop was to develop a plain language definition of water scarcity that resonated with workshop participants.

    • Middle Willamette LAN Field Trip - August 4, 2011 - Fieldtrip Materials (PDF icon august4_2011_fieldtrip_guide.pdf) - This trip focused on issues related to temperature TMDLs, operation of water control districts, and groundwater supply and use. Stops included the Talking Water Gardens in Albany, sites in the Santiam Water Control District near Salem, and presentations by OWRD groundwater geologists.

    • Upper Willamette LAN Field Trip - April 21, 2011 - Fieldtrip Materials (PDF icon april21_2011_fieldtrip_guide.pdf) - This trip highlighted issues related to floodplain restoration, reservoir storage, and dam operations with stops at Green Island, Leaberg Dam, Lookout Point Reservoir and Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Broader Impacts Team (alphabetical)

  • Samuel Chan, Oregon Sea Grant

  • David Hulse, University of Oregon (UO) Landscape Architecture

  • Laura Ferguson, MS Student, OSU Marine Resource Management (Graduated: 2015)

  • Maria Lewis Hunter, MS Student, OSU Water Resources Policy and Management (Graduated: 2013)

  • Linda Modrell, Former Benton County Commissioner

  • Anita Morzillo, OSU Forest Ecosystems & Society

  • Mary Santelmann, OSU Water Resources Graduate Program

  • Adam Stebbins, Benton County

  • Maria Wright, OSU Institute for Water and Watersheds


Ferguson LB.  (2016). Collaborative science-stakeholder engagement: An annotated reference guide for scientific engagement with natural-resources practicioners (ORESU-H16-001). Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon Sea Grant.

Jaeger, W. K., Plantinga, A. J., Chang, H., Dello, K., Grant, G., Hulse, D., ... & Mote, P. (2013). Toward a formal definition of water scarcity in natural‐human systems. Water Resources Research, 49(7), 4506-4517.

IWW. (2014). Workshop Summary. WW2100 Learning and Action Network Workshop, March 18, 2014, Salem, Oregon.

IWW. (2012). Workshop Summary. WW2100 Learning and Action Network Workshop, May 9, 2012, Salem, Oregon.

page authors: Wright, Ferguson, Hulse, Chan
last updated: January 2016

Hydrologic Modeling Course

During Spring 2013, faculty working on the Willamette Water 2100 offered a graduate level course on hydrologic modeling.  The course provided an introduction to many of the different types of hydrologic models used in the project, and provided hands-on experience working with the project's modeling framework, Envision.  The course was led by Dr. Mary Santelmann and Dr. Kellie Vache at OSU, and facilitated by Dr. Scott Wells as PSU.  Lectures and labs were taught via video-conferencing with students and lecturers on both campuses.  The course lectures were video recorded.  Below are descriptions and links to these videos -- they provide a great introduction to Envision and some of the component models utilized in the project.

Week 1:

  • April 2, 2013 - Dr. Mary Santelmann, OSU Water Resources Graduate Program  - Course Overview - Introduction to WRE599/CE410/510 and background on the Willamette Water 2100 project and Envision.
  • April 4, 2013 - Dr. John Bolte, OSU Biological and Ecological Engineering - Introduction to Alternative Futures Analysis and Envision.

Week 2:

  • April 9, 2013 - Dr. Kellie Vache, OSU Biological and Ecological Engineering - 1) More on Envision with an example from Puget Sound; 2) an introduction to Willamette Water 2100 and its plug-in models in Envision; 3) introduction to some Envision definitions - IDU, reach, etc.
  • April 11, 2013 - Dr. John Bolte, OSU Biological and Ecological Engineering - More about Envision, include an explanation of "policies" in Envision and an example of how they are set up and run. The example focuses on population growth and allocation using the plug-in "Target".

Week 3:

  • April 16, 2013 - Dr. Kellie Vache - 1) brief introduction to the climate data used in WW2100; 2) Introduction to hydrologic modeling concepts with a focus on HBV, the hydrologic model used in FLOW, the hydrologic modeling framework in Envision.
  • April 18, 2013 - Dr. Mary Santelmann - Discussion of scenario narratives and the class assignment given to students to write a scenario narrative for a sub-basin in the Willamette.
  • April 19, 2013 - Dr. Kellie Vache - Introduction to FLOW, the hydrologic modeling framework developed for Willamette Water 2100. 1) Background on why it was developed, 2) Key elements and spatial configuration, 3) Intro to XML input files 4) Explanation of hydrologic response units, 5) FLOW plug-ins with an emphasis on HBV, and 6) example videos of FLOW output.

Week 4:

  • April 23, 2013 - Dr. Heejun Chang, PSU Geography  - 1) Overview of PRMS 2) A case study of his work with PRMS in the Willamette Basin to anticipate the affect of climate change in the Willamette Basin.

Week 5:

  • April 30, 2013 - Dr. Anne Nolin, OSU Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences - Introduction to snow accumulation and melt, the significance of snow in hydrology, and an introduction to snow modeling.
  • May 2, 2013 - Dr. Anne Nolin - 1) Snow modeling in HBV and potential shortcomings; 2) snow monitoring in Willamette Water 2100 and related projects and 3) the use of SnowModel in the project and related projects.

Week 6:

  • May 7, 2013 - Dr. Roy Haggerty, OSU Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences - Introduction to groundwater modeling, finite differences, introduction to a class exercise to demonstrate finite difference modeling using Google Docs.
  • May 9, 2013 - Dr. Roy Haggerty - Continuation of class exercise to demonstrate finite difference modeling using Google Docs. Introduction to MODFLOW.

Week 7:

  • May 14, 2013 - Dr. Desiree Tullos, OSU Biological and Ecological Engineering - Overview and background on the USACE Willamette Project dams. 2) Introduction to reservoir operation terminology and operating procedures.
  • May 16, 2013 - Dr. Desiree Tullos - 1) Continued overview of USACE Willamette Project including, irrigation, recreational benefits, environmental flows. 2) Introduction to the 2008 Biological Opinion affecting Willamette River operations 3) Introduction to ResSIM and 4) Modeling reservoir operations in Willamette Water 2100 using ResSIM "Lite".

Week 8:

  • May 21, 2013 - Dr. Scott Wells, PSU Civil & Environmental Engineering - Introduction to surface water quality and hydrodynamic modeling. 1) what is a model and why use one 2) example uses of models 3) about hydrodynamics 4) water quality models.
  • May 23, 2013 - Dr. Scott Wells - Introduction to CE-QUAL-W2 - the model developed by the USACE for hydrodynamic and water quality monitoring. Topics include: computing requirements, data preparation, boundary conditions, model components, model verification and an example from Detroit Reservoir in the Willamette Basin system.

Weeks 9-10:

  • May 28, 2013 - Review and critique of the WW2100 project by WRE 599 students. This review was carried out in the style of a NSF review panel. Students answered evaluative questions and provided feedback that reflected what they had learned about the project and Envision over the 10 week course. Students worked in small groups, and this video includes presentations by each small group at OSU and PSU.
  • Group Project Presentations - WRE 599 group project presentations. Students worked in small groups to develop and run futures scenarios for sub-basins in the Willamette Basin using a preliminary version of Envision with the hydrologic modeling framework FLOW. Students presented outcomes from their group work in these videos. 
    • May 30, 2013 - Presentations by students who worked in the Blue River Watershed and on the McKenzie Watershed.
    • June 4, 2013 - Presentations by students working in the  Santiam Watershed and on the Johnson Creek Watershed.
    • June 6, 2013 - Student presentation on the Yamhill Watershed and a course wrap up presented by Mary Santelmann highlighting some of the accomplishments and lessons learned during the course.

Children's Water Book

Download English version in PDF format | Download Spanish version in PDF format

About the Book

Members of the Willamette Water 2100 team developed a children's book about water and water resources. It addresses issues such as where water comes from, what we use water for, water scarcity, and climate change. The book also contains artwork and poems created by students who live in the Willamette River Basin, as well as suggestions for water-related classroom science activities. The text is available in both English and Spanish.  We compiled book content from publicly available information from the USGS on water and climate. A curriculum specialist, Angela Ruzicka, and three K-12 teachers provided feedback on the relevance and appropriateness of the text for middle and high school students.


Text by Maria Lewis Hunter, Sam Chan and Mary Santelmann

Illustrations and poems by students from South Eugene High School, Eugene, Ore.; Kennedy Alternative School, Cottage Grove, Ore.; Garfield Elementary School, Corvallis, Ore.; Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.; and professional artist Jennifer Mercedes

Translation for Spanish language version by Paula Jiménez-Arango and Ricardo González-Pinzon

Design and Layout by Crystal Barnes, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.

We thank Julia Harvey, Vickie Costello, and Valerie Boggs, the teachers of the K-12 classes that allowed us to work with their students to produce much of the art in this book. We thank our colleagues Thea Hayes and Angela Ruzicka for reviewing and commenting on the text and for their suggestions and edits to the book.

Seminars and Webinars

WW2100 hosted a series of webinars about project related topics and components.  Follow the links below to access recordings of these events.

Recorded Webinars


More Details About Previous Webinars and Recorded Seminars

September 28, 2015

Characterizing and Assessing the Researcher-Stakeholder Engagement Process for Broader Impacts: The Willamette Water 2100 Project

Presenter: Laura Ferguson, M.S. Candidate in Marine Resource Management

Advisor: Dr. Sam Chan (Oregon Sea Grant, Fisheries and Wildlife)
Committee: Dr. Mary Santelmann (Water Resources, CEOAS) and Dr. Bryan Tilt (Anthropology)

View recording on OSU Media Space

Abstract: Natural resource management and policy is ideally informed by the best available science. Natural resource researchers ideally participate in broader impacts activities to extend the reach of their best available research. Researcher-stakeholder engagement is one proposed solution to overcome barriers to integrating science and management and to achieve both broader impact and science-based policy goals. Literature has documented many researcher-stakeholder engagement process case studies where researchers offer lessons learned and speculate on their impacts, but few offer data on the engagement process structure, the stakeholder perspective of the engagement process, or the impacts of collaboration between academic research teams and scientific stakeholders. This work addresses these gaps by taking a closer look at how one team of researchers engaged with its stakeholders and voicing the perceptions of stakeholders in addition to researchers. Twenty-six semi-structured interviews and an online survey (n=137) were conducted for an in-depth case study of participant motivations to, expectations for, participation in, and outcomes of Willamette Water 2100. Researchers and stakeholders were motivated to participate for social, knowledge, and utility reasons and held different expectations for the roles they would play, the researcher-stakeholder engagement process itself, and the resulting research results. Four types of challenges were identified: lack of a shared vision, differing professional languages, research complexities, and project management. Participants identified successful outcomes including: overcoming challenges, facilitating learning, greater understanding, conversation among diverse perspectives, and improving and extending research results. Researcher-stakeholder engagement in natural resource research can create more relevant science and achieve scientific broader impact goals. This research offers novel evidence of researcher-stakeholder engagement impacts and proposes more specific criteria for broader impact activity evaluation. This research was part of the Willamette Water 2100 project.


May 5, 2015

Optimizing reservoir operations to adapt to climate and social change in the Willamette River Basin, Oregon

Presenter: Ms. Kathleen Moore, Ph.D. Candidate in Geography
Doctoral Advisors Dr. Julia Jones (Geography, CEOAS) and Dr. William Jaeger (Applied Economics)

View recording on OSU Media Space

Abstract: Reservoir systems in the western US are managed to serve two main competing purposes: to reduce flooding during the winter and spring, and to provide water supply for multiple uses during the summer. Because the storage capacity of a reservoir cannot be used for both flood damage reduction and water storage at the same time, these two uses are traded off as the reservoir fills during the transition from the wet to the dry season. Climate change, population growth, and development may exacerbate dry season water scarcity and increase winter flood risk, implying a need to critically evaluate reservoir operations. Focusing on the Willamette River Basin, Oregon, we used a dynamic programming approach to social welfare maximization, and derived the optimal reservoir fill path for both historical conditions and future scenarios of climate and social change. Anticipated future increases in winter flood risk and reductions in spring streamflow led to an optimal fill path in which reservoir fill began earlier and proceeded more slowly, compared to the optimal fill path derived under historical conditions. The analysis finds that increased value of stored water associated with increased demand for reservoir recreation or irrigation water for agriculture will shift the initiation of optimal reservoir fill to an earlier date and increase the likelihood of achieving full pool by the end of May. Conversely, an increase in the costs of flooding driven by land use change and development in the floodplain associated with increasing population led to an optimal fill path in which reservoir fill began later and the final optimal reservoir fill level was decreased, compared to the optimal fill path under historical conditions. These findings may contribute to policies for adapting reservoir management to future changes in water supply and demand.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 1-2 pm -  

Climate Change And Upland Forest Dynamics In The Willamette River Basin, Dr. David Turner, Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society, Oregon State University. 

View recording on OSU Media Space

As the potential magnitude of anthropogenically-driven climate change becomes clearer, it is increasingly desirable to anticipate impacts of projected climate change on forest ecosystems and forest landscapes. Notable impacts of climate change on forests will include alteration of the disturbance regime, changes in tree species composition, and shifts in the geographic distribution of vegetation types. These potential impacts have been studied using climate change scenarios and a variety of empirical or process-based modeling approaches, but projections of climate change impacts have generally not included the role of land use. For the Willamette Water 2100 Project, we have applied an agent-based landscape simulation model (Envision) to assess potential climate change impacts in the Willamette River Basin (WRB). Envision accounts for harvesting, fire, and land use change. To incorporate climate change impacts, we have integrated it with results from a dynamic global vegetation model (MC2), driven by climate scenarios developed for the 5th IPCC report. Our goal is to evaluate the sensitivity of forest area, biogeography, rates of fire, rates of harvest, and forest age class distribution to three climate change scenarios. The related influences on basin-wide evapotranspiration are also being simulated and are of interest in evaluating the future WRB water budget.


October 8, 2014

Modeling the Human Side of Water Scarcity in the Willamette Basin, Dr. William Jaeger, Professor, Department of Applied Economics, Oregon State University.

View recording on OSU Media Space

To predict the when, where, and how of future water scarcity in the Willamette Basin we have developed a model that integrates natural system components of water supply with the human system components of water demand. Constructing an economic model for the human side of this system presents a number of challenges. Some of these are different from and others are similar to the challenges faced by those modeling the biophysical system components.

This seminar will describe some of those challenges, and explain how we have tried to address them. We’ll describe the models we have constructed for agricultural water use and urban water use. These two models have empirical and theoretical underpinnings, and they have strong similarities as well as important differences. In both cases, the models represent powerful tools for addressing questions about future water scarcity: first, they provide a basis for predicting how the demand for water will grow in the future as human and natural systems change; second, these same models represent a way to quantifying the impact of water availability on social values in terms of the costs or benefits of changing water scarcity, as well as the costs and benefits of policy actions aimed at mitigating water scarcity.


Thursday, May 22, 2014, 2-3 pm -  

Third time's the charm: the 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment Report, Dr. Philip Mote, Director, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. 

In 1990, Congress passed the U.S. Global Change Research Act which among other things calls for an assessment report every four years. On May 6, the President’s Administration released the third National Climate Assessment. This report is by far the most comprehensive, with 30 chapters covering climate change impacts on various regions and sectors, as well as adaptation and mitigation.  The report emphasizes that climate change is already noticeable and affecting Americans in a variety of ways, and presents fascinating depth and breadth of evidence.  Dr. Mote co-authored the report’s Northwest chapter and served on the report's advisory committee.  In this seminar, he gave an overview of the assessment and its findings.

The webinar was co-sponsored by the Geography program in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, and the Willamette Water 2100 Project.

The video of Dr. Mote can also be viewed on OSU Media Space.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 10-11 am -  

Potential Responses of Native and Non-native Fish Communities to Thermal Changes in the Willamette River, Dr. Stan Gregory, Oregon State University.

The video of Dr. Gregory can also be viewed on OSU Media Space.

Friday, May 17, 2013 12-1 pm -  

Willamette River Basin Hydrodynamic and Temperature ModelingScott Wells, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Portland State University.

View PDF of presentation.


Friday, April 26, 2013 12-1 pm -   

Modeling ecohydrologic processes in mountain watersheds—implications for the Willamette Watershed, Naomi (Christina) Tague and Elizabeth Garcia, University of Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.



Thursday, March 21, 2013 1-2 pm - Will We Have to Change the Rules? The Implications of Climate Change for Reservoir Operations at Oregon's Cougar Dam, Thesis Defense by Allison Danner, MS Candidate in Water Resources Engineering.  Thesis advisor: Gordon Grant, US Forest Service and Courtesy Professor, Departments of Geosciences, Forest Engineering, Resources & Management, and Forest Ecosystems & Society.


Friday, March 1, 2013 12-1 pm - Flood Frequency and Water Scarcity in the Santiam Basin in a Changing Climate, Desiree Tullos, Associate Professor, Biological and Ecological Engineering, Oregon State University.  View recording on OSU Media Space.


Friday, February 8, 2013 12-1 pm, OSU Campus - Land-use Models for Willamette Water 2100, Andrew Plantinga, Professor of Environmental Economics, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Courtesy Faculty, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Oregon State University.  View recording on OSU Media Space.  View recording on OSU Media Space.


Friday, January 25, 2013 12-12:50 pm, OSU Campus - Development of Regional Climate Scenarios and Their Application to Willamette Water 2100, Phil Mote, Director, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute.  View recording on OSU Media Space.


Friday, January 11, 2013 12-1 pm, OSU Campus - Mountain Snowpack and Vegetation: Implications of Disturbance, Anne Nolin, Professor, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.  View recording on OSU Media Space.

Slide Set for Students

The WW2100 broader impacts team developed a slide set for students about the water cycle in the Willamette Basin. The slide set helps students think about where the water we use comes from, and the factors that affect its availability and quality. The slide set is designed for students grade eight and above and includes:

  • Specific examples of ways natural and human processes affect water supply and demand in the Willamette Basin.
  • A list of the specific Next Generation Science Standards addressed.
  • Suggestions for pre- and post-quiz questions to determine the content's effect on student understanding and opinions related to water.