Water Resources Planning

Willamette Water 2100 (WW2100)

Oregon State University


Willamette Water 2100 (WW2100), a large six-year research project funded by the National Science Foundation, used OSU’s “Envision” modeling framework as the backbone for a set of hydrologic, biophysical, economic, and demographic models of the Willamette River Basin in the 21st century. The project’s objective was to anticipate how water scarcity might develop as a result of climate change, increasing population, and economic growth, and to explore how it may vary spatially and how it may be affected by policy alternatives.

Dave Conklin was recruited to WW2100 in its third year to implement seven economic models, and stayed on to take over the integration and operation of the resulting “Willamette Envision” software package, which has diverged from the standard OSU Envision system. Willamette Envision’s hydrographic model simulates streamflows in the Willamette River and its tributaries, including operations of 13 US Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs, on a daily timestep. The hydrographic model was developed before Dave joined the project, but he has led a recent recalibration effort.

Demographic and economic models used in WW2100 run on a yearly timestep, and include population growth, land-use change, municipal water use, irrigation, crop choices, and the operation of water rights law. Biophysical models are incorporated to simulate the effects of climate change on forests and the incidence of forest fires.

The Willamette Envision model is being used as the foundation for further modeling efforts focused on urban water use in a second NSF-funded project, which began in 2015 (UWIN, see below). It has been incorporated into a proposal for a third project, responding to NSF’s “INFEWS” call for proposals, focusing on the food-water-energy nexus.

Freshwater has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with OSU that identifies Freshwater as the prime resource and place to go for those interested in the WW2100 model. You can access the MOU by clicking on the following link:WW2100 model MOU

Updates to the WW2100 model, that focus on the economic components of the simulation, have been documented in a new report by Dr. Bill Jaeger and his colleagues at OSU. Click on the following link to access the report: Water, Economics, and Climate Change in the Willamette Basin, Oregon.

An article on how the WW2100 model can help to better understand the future of water and agriculture in Oregon’s largest river, can be found at the following link: WW2100 article.

Urban Water Innovations Network (UWIN)

Oregon State University (2015 – Present)


Urban Water Innovations Network (UWIN), a project involving Oregon State University (OSU), Colorado State University, Princeton, and eight other institutions, is focused on assessing and promoting sustainable urban water systems. Researchers at OSU and the University of Oregon are working with stakeholders in the Portland Metro and Eugene-Springfield urban areas to evaluate urban water supplies, infrastructure, and demand and to develop ways to increase sustainability and resiliency in the future. The project began in 2015 and was funded by NSF for five years. OSU has contracted with Oregon Freshwater Simulations to extend the OSU’s Willamette Envision model to support UWIN’s focus on urban water systems.

Natural Resource Management

Sea Level Rise Inundation Mapping

Alameda County (2013-2014)

Under subcontract with AECOM, Brian assisted Alameda County in analyzing the impact of sea level rise on Alameda County’s shoreline. The goal of the work was to continue developing technical analyses and methodologies to understand shoreline vulnerability, and to apply the results of these analyses to the consideration of potential response strategies for specific, representative shoreline systems. In order for the county to develop prioritized management strategies for their shoreline, a comprehensive assessment of potential sea level rise inundation and flood risk was needed. Brian was tasked with (a) performing high-resolution aerial photo interpretation to delineate and classify the shoreline, and shoreline assets, into five distinct inundation categories; (b) extracting the shoreline overmapping statistics, based on the shoreline/asset classifications and delineation and inundation models under nine scenarios, and (c) compiling a GIS database (with metadata) for final project results.

SF Bay Transition Zone Conservation and Management
Decision Support System

US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program (2012 – 2016)

Brian partnered with the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO) to build a GIS-based Decision Support System (DSS) to identify and prioritize marsh-upland ecotonal habitats (transitions) for assisting land managers in restoring and protecting San Francisco Bay’s (estuary) tidal marsh ecosystem. The DSS takes a strategic approach toward decision support, by accounting for the landward migration of high marsh and other transitional habitats in response to predicted sea level rise (SLR). Current documents do not adequately describe ecotonal habitats, quantify the amount needed to aid listed species recovery while allowing for SLR, nor prioritize specific sites for protection and restoration. The DSS combines definitions bioassessment protocols, GIS models of the distribution of transitional zones, and site-specific criteria for ranking sites for restoration or protection and parcels level maps for prioritizing transitional zones throughout the SF estuary. This toolkit will help managers allocate limited resources on site prioritization, alternative/scenario evaluation and will include considerations for the influence of future climate change and land-use scenarios.

The DSS, including the technical report and GIS datasets, can be accessed at:

SF Bay Estuarine-Upland Transition Zone DSS

Habitat Evolution Mapping Project

South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project (2009 – 2013)

Brian was contracted for a three-year pilot project building a semi-automated model to track the evolution of marsh habitats and mudflats (~30,000 acres) for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. Habitats were mapped as part of the study included mudflats, tidal marshes, and restored ponds, and to a lesser degree, managed marshes, levee tops, and uplands. A total of 24 specific habitat types, including 16 vegetation alliances and/or associations representing salt, brackish, and freshwater marshes, 6 “abiotic” habitats (e.g., mud), and 2 vegetation types specific to uplands. Habitats were mapped using a combination of spectral classification of high resolution satellite imagery (IKONOS) and extensive field surveys and ground truthing.

HEMP Final Report and Datasets


Sustainable Urban Planning

Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Mapping Project

Solano Transportation Authority (2011-2013)

Serving as lead on the mapping project, Brian developed “suggested routes to school maps” for all public schools within Solano County as part of the county’s update to its SR2S Plan Update (led by Alta Planning and Design). The mapping project consisted of the following components: (1) develop a “pedestrian network” from existing street centerlines representing sidewalks and crosswalks; (2) collect data (virtually and in the field) on criteria identifying the “suitability” (e.g., marked crosswalks, traffic signals) for each sidewalk and intersection within “walksheds” for each school; (3) use the network analyst extension of ArcGIS to generate “suggested routes” for each school; (4) automate a set of “suggested route maps” for each school using the suggested routes and pedestrian network.

The maps were made available as downloadable PDF files, on the web mapping applications, and as part of SR2S brochures made for each school. In addition, Brian developed an interactive web mapping application (http://solanosr2sroutes.org/) to view suggested and walking school bus routes, allow stakeholders to provide comments on routes, allow STA staff to update routes, and provide access to the suggested route maps for each school (as PDF). The pedestrian- and bike-facility inventory played a key role in the SR2S Plan Update to highlight and rank project needs, gaps, and priorities.

Santa Clara County General Plan Update Health Element

Santa Clara County Planning Department (2012-2013)

Brian teamed up with Raimi and Associates, Nelson\Nygaard, and ChangeLab Solutions to develop a forward-thinking “Health Element” as part of Santa Clara County’s General Plan Update. Brian’s primary responsibilities included: (a) developing a “Healthy Santa Clara” GIS database including datasets on socioeconomics, on the built environment (e.g., RFEI, “walkability,” access to healthcare, and crime density), and on public health outcomes (i.e., hospitalizations); (b) mapping a series of “healthy indicators” derived from the GIS database to inform the report; and (c) summarizing (in tables and graphs) these “healthy” indicators (for each city) by “communities of concern” and place type. The overall purpose of the planning process was to mitigate the existing health problems in the county and to take immediate steps to prevent injuries and diseases before they occur. Each chapter contains a series of topic-specific indicators that provide information about the county as a whole. Data about individual cities is provided where available. The indicators were selected based on availability of data and known relationships to health behaviors and outcomes. Each indicator has a brief description, a discussion of why the topic is important for health, and an overview of the status for the county with supporting maps, tables, and figures.

Health Element Existing Condition Report

Sustainable Transit Communities

City of Los Angeles (2009 – 2011)

While working at Design, Community and Environment, Brian oversaw and developed the methodology for the Office of the Mayor, City of Los Angeles (as part of the Southern California Association of Governments’ Compass Blueprint program). Along with project partners, Brian assisted in the developed of a “scorecard” of sustainability indicators, using GIS to prioritize near-term efforts to transform station areas into “sustainable transit communities” (STCs). The scorecard included a series of criteria based on GIS analyses (walkability, infill opportunity, residential density, essential services, etc.), while additional criteria were qualitatively obtained at each site. This study successfully identified ten station areas where the Mayor’s Office should focus its efforts in the next five years as it works to create STCs. While these station areas currently have many of the pieces of an STC in place, they also have significant opportunity sites for transit-oriented development (TOD) and favorable market conditions for developing new housing, retail, and job centers.