Our Environment

Our EnvironmentFrom the quality of the air we breathe to the condition of the landscape where we live and work, we all experience the daily effects of the environment on our health and well-being. Residents of Columbia Basin Boundary communities already know we live in a beautiful part of the world, but it’s crucial, both for present and future generations, that we are aware of the state of the environment so that forthcoming policy decisions are well-informed.

Understanding our region’s environmental vitality involves research focused on themes that include Biodiversity, Land (including food), Air (including climate), and Water. RDI researchers use current and historical data to track and compare trends in each of these areas. Once this information has been analyzed, researchers can draw conclusions regarding current environmental conditions, environmental risks, and future trends that will better inform regional policy-makers and stakeholders.

When assessing environmental vitality, researchers evaluate a series of topics that include:


  • Species at risk
  • Invasive species
  • Human-wildlife interactions

  • Climate
  • Emissions
  • Air quality

  • Farming and food
  • Forests
  • Protected areas
  • Restoration
  • Threatened ecosystems

  • Quantity
  • Quality
  • Steam flow timing

In recent years, a number of innovations have improved the ways that environmental data is tracked and utilized. Some of these improvements are owed to advancements in technology which have allowed for streamlined data collection and management. Others are due to new approaches in applied research that reflect the interconnections between environmental well-being and economic, social, and cultural conditions.

Additional Resources (PDF):

Our Economy

Economic1Of the many factors that collectively influence our level of well-being, there is one that resonates deeply with most families: the economy. It’s a common theme whenever we discuss the resources and services available in our communities or the ability of parents to provide for their children. And ultimately, the economy is affected by a diverse range of factors. [More]

Our Society

Our SocietyThere are a wide variety of dynamics that affect our social well-being, but the most consequential originate close to home. They also affect every member of our communities, from the youngest to oldest, right from the earliest stages in their development to their later years in life. – [More]

Our Culture

Our CultureCulture is a relatively new pillar in RDI’s State of the Basin well-being research. It is an area both difficult to define and understand because culture often means different things to different people. It is individual, but also collective; it is deeply personal, but also shared. Any understanding of culture involves our own sense of self and our connections to family and friends, broader ethnic and social groups, and our communities and region as a whole. [More]