Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

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CSTPR Noontime Seminar

CSTPR Noontime Seminar

The High Water Mark: Policy Lessons Learned from Colorado’s 2013 Floods

by Deserai Crow
School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver

Abstract: Many communities on Colorado’s northern Front Range were hit by the catastrophic 2013 floods. These communities faced immediate challenges in emergency response, but also have wrestled with long-term questions regarding the path to recovery. Floods can serve as opportunities for communities to re-envision themselves. Dr. Deserai Crow will present findings from a study of community response to the floods in Colorado in seven communities located in the three hardest-hit counties in the state. Using data from in-depth interviews over three years, as well as surveys with decision-makers and residents, researchers empirically assess the decisions made within communities and the processes that led to those decisions. Crow will present reflections on lessons learned regarding policy changes that have taken place and the role of participatory public processes through the recovery process. This study helps to improve our understanding of the factors that contribute to policy learning following a disaster, leading to long-term recovery and community resilience.

Biography: Dr. Deserai A. Crow is Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. She is an affiliate with the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at CU-Boulder. She also spent eight years on the faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder in both Journalism and Environmental Studies from 2008-2016. Crow earned her PhD from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in Environmental Policy. She also holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver’s School of Public Affairs and a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Crow researches local and state-level environmental policy, including stakeholder participation and influence, information sources used, and policy outcomes. Her work often focuses on natural disaster recovery and risk mitigation in local communities and natural resource agencies. Dr. Crow’s natural hazards work includes a study of community flood recovery and policy learning in the aftermath of the 2013 floods in Colorado that is funded by the National Science Foundation. Another project analyzes the role of agencies and individuals in promoting wildfire risk mitigation on private property in the Wildland Urban Interface across the West. Prior to her academic work, she worked as a broadcast journalist and for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm


CSTPR Conference Room


Event Type

Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar

Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar

Variability, Trends, and Predictability of Seasonal Sea Ice Retreat and Advance in the Chukchi Sea

by Dr. Mark Serreze, Director - National Snow and Ice Data Center, CIRES Fellow & Professor in Geography, University of Colorado

Continued summer sea ice loss will make the Arctic Ocean increasingly accessible.  There is hence a need for a better understanding not only of the evolution of the sea ice cover on decadal and longer scales, but on seasonal time scales that bear directly on economic activities. Predicting the seasonal onset and duration of open water on a regional basis is of particular importance, and the Chukchi Sea stands out in this regard.  This shallow shelf sea, which has seen some of the sharpest downward trends in September ice extent over the satellite record, is a focus of resource exploration, and vessels transiting the Arctic Ocean must invariably pass through it. The Chukchi Sea is also part of the seasonal migration route for bowhead whales that supports subsistence hunting.  An analysis of de-trended time series reveals that 68% of the variance in the date at which sea ice in the Chukchi Sea retreats to the continental shelf break in spring and summer can be explained simply by the April through June Bering Strait heat inflow.  In turn,  67% of the variance in the date at which ice advances back to the shelf break in autumn and winter can be explained by the combination of the July through September Bering Strait heat inflow and the date of ice retreat.  The link with the retreat date is that early ice retreat enables a longer period of seasonal heat uptake in the ocean mixed layer, meaning that more heat must be lost to the atmosphere before ice can form.  Developing an operational prediction scheme for seasonal retreat and advance in the Chukchi Sea would require more timely acquisition of Bering Strait heat inflow data than is presently possible. Predictability will likely always be limited by the chaotic nature of atmospheric circulation patterns.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017
11:00am to 12:00pm


RL-2 (on East Campus) room 155