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May 14, 2014

Yahara 2070 launched, now online

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On May 14, 2014, WSC unveiled the Yahara 2070 scenarios to an audience of over 200 people at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

Yahara 2070 is an initiative to explore possible futures for the people, lakes, and ecosystems of Wisconsin's Yahara Watershed. A set of four scenarios, the project traces differing pathways of change over the next 50+ years, which are based on existing social and environmental trends. The pathways lead to different outcomes for the region's ecosystem services, or the natural benefits people depend on, such as food production, freshwater, recreation and biodiversity. These potential outcomes have implications for future human well-being.

The scenarios are not predictions; they are fictional yet plausible stories that answer the question "what if." They are grounded in rigorous scientific methodology, which combines current knowledge about socio-ecological change, innovative biophysical computer modeling, public input and out-of-the-box thinking.

One project goal is to encourage long-term thinking in local decision making, an uncommon but necessary practice to ensure the region remains a healthy and resilient place to live, work and play.

The event was the official launch of Yahara 2070, which is part of UW-Madison's Water Sustainability and Climate Project. The project will roll out its findings, including its modeling results, through 2016.

WSC Principal Investigators Chris Kucharik and Steve Carpenter presented at the event, focusing on the need for long-term thinking. WSC team members Jenny Seifert and Eric Booth gave an overview of each scenario using videos

Following the presentations, a panel of local experts participated in a provocative discussion about the future of the region. Panelists included Melissa Malott of the Office of Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Don Heilman of Clean Lakes Alliance, Brennan Nardi of Madison Magazine, and project PI Steve Carpenter. Zac Schultz, a reporter and producer for Wisconsin Public Television, skillfully moderated the discussion. Watch the discussion below.

The audience was a mixture of members from the UW-Madison community, professionals who work in watershed issues and the general interested public.

Media Coverage

Focus on Dane County: UW project examining future of watershed

Scientists unveil scenarios for 2070 life in Madison area
WISCONSIN WATCH | May 15, 2014

A look at the future: "Yahara Watershed" in 2070
NBC 15 WMTV MADISON | May 14, 2014

What will Yahara Watershed look like in 2070? UW Scientists lay out scenarios
THE CAP TIMES | May 14, 2014

Our lakes are our future
CHANNEL 3000 | May 13, 2014

Steve Carpenter explains "Yahara 2070" project