USDA Partners with NOAA on Drought Resilience
(NAFB)--The Obama Administration has announced an interagency National Drought Resilience Partnership as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan. The partnership is designed to help communities better prepare for future droughts and reduce the impact of drought events on livelihoods and the economy. It will make it easier to access Federal drought resources and help link information such as monitoring, forecasts, outlooks and early warnings with longer-term drought resilience strategies in critical sectors - including agriculture. The first year of the partnership will focus on creating a new, web-based portal to ease access to Federal agency drought recovery resources - hosting more frequent regional drought outlook forums that provide access to experts and locally relevant information, supporting the coordination of a national soil moisture monitoring network to help improve monitoring and forecasting drought conditions and identifying a single point of contact for the public. A pilot project in a western area hard hit by drought will create a local-scale drought resilience plan that could be applied in other areas. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the worst drought in generations devastated farms and ranches across the nation last year. He says this partnership will help rural residents, farmers, ranchers and business owners prepare for drought events.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Acting Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says the partnership builds on NOAA’s climate programs and products - and recent improvement to their drought forecasts to provide the critical environmental intelligence their stakeholders need for drought planning and preparedness activities. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says no community can take on drought alone - and this partnership will help ensure the federal family is a strong partner in providing accessible information and helpful tools to communities to prepare for and mitigate the impacts. According to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy - the National Drought Resilience Partnership will also help communities strengthen climate resilience efforts - including modernizing our water infrastructure and efficiently using our precious water resources - all while supporting the ag economy.
Spearheaded by USDA and NOAA - members of the National Drought Resilience Partnership will coordinate the delivery of Federal Government policies, programs, information and tools designed to help communities plan for and respond to drought.