Boise-Treasure Valley

Site Lead: Shawn Benner, Boise State University
Stakeholder Coordinator: Eric Lindquist, Boise State University


Water resources in the face of a urban development and changing climate. How will water availability and water use change as the Treasure Valley population continues to grow?

Researchers in the Boise-Treasure Valley seek to identify and track the changes to Idaho’s ecological systems brought about by urban development and/or decline. Their focus is on answering the question of how water availability and water use will change in the future as the Treasure Valley population grows. This project is expected to grow to include areas of research that relate to water quality, wildfires, and recreation. Learn about BSU's Human-Environment Systems Initiative.

The ultimate outcome is to build a modeling framework that will allow researchers and stakeholders to identify potential changes to the landscapes and ecology of the Treasure Valley. These models will serve to inform stakeholders and policy makers during critical decision making processes concerning Idaho's natural resources.


Alternative Futures Modeling to Predict Water Availability in the Treasure Valley

Researchers: Bangshuai Han (post-doc); Lejo Flores (Associate Professor)

Treasure Valley Population Density Scenarios (click to enlarge)
Using an integrative, agent-based modeling approach, we are exploring how the twin stresses of climate change and increased population will influence water use and availability for the Treasure Valley into the Future. With down-scaled climate change projections and anticipated population growth, we are conducting simulations of hydrological processes governing water behavior through the year 2100. The model explicitly integrated both physical processes (like evaporation and precipitation) with human influences like irrigation and policies dictating water allocation and land use. This effort will produce plausible scenarios of water use and availability and enable stakeholders to make the better decisions now to prepare for the future.

Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflict

Researchers: Eric Frey (graduate student); Ben Pauli (Assistant Professor); Kathryn Demps (Associate Professor); Julie Heath (Professor)

Idaho Public TV VideoWith increasing recreational activities on our landscapes, there is a potential to adversely impact our natural resources. In this project, we are studying how off-road vehicle recreationist activities impact eagles nesting in the Owyhee Mountains. We are studying how recreationists travel through the landscape and how nesting eagles respond to those activities. By taking an integrative approach to studying this coupled human-natural system, we are gaining insight into how to better manage our natural resources in a way that optimizes the benefit to both humans and the environment.

Characterizing Drivers of Urban Growth in the Treasure Valley

Researchers: Khila Dahal (post-doc); Eric Lindquist (Director Public Policy Research Center)

In this project, we are conducting an analysis of historical urban growth in the Treasure Valley. Using historical land use and census data, we are mathematically characterizing how growth has occurred to identify key variables that predict how growth may occur into the future. This information can inform the urban planning process so that decision makers can make the best decisions now to support a prosperous and sustainable future.

Agricultural Decisions and Future Water Use in the Treasure Valley

Researchers: Andrea Leonard (graduate student); Lejo Flores (Associate Professor)

In many water stressed areas of the world, the primary consumptive use of water is agricultural production. The decisions farmers make regarding what they grow on the landscape strongly influences how much water they consume. In this project, we are developing an integrative model of water use that includes the stressors of climate and land use change with farm-level crop choice decisions. This model will help better predict how we will use water into the future and how decisions we make will impact that future.

Developing a Framework for Stakeholder Characterization

Researchers: Jared Talley (graduate student); Jen Schneider (Associate Professor); Eric Lindquist (Director Public Policy Research Center)

There is often confusion about what the term ‘stakeholder’ means in the context of natural resource management. In this project, we are developing a framework for classifying stakeholders and their relationship to natural resource decision making. We will conduct a categorical analysis of stakeholders in practice, evaluate the policy literature and empirical research to assess different stakeholder categorical approaches. This work will provide a framework to engage stakeholders more effectively so that their views can inform management decisions.