3b.5 The Status of Drought Planning for Watersheds and Hydrologic Basins in the United States

Monday, 18 July 2011: 4:30 PM
Salon C2 (Asheville Renaissance)
Crystal J. Bergman, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and M. J. Hayes, D. J. Bathke, C. L. Knutson, and Z. Tang

Drought planning is implemented at multiple levels, but according to the Geological Society of America's conference report "Managing Drought: A Roadmap for Change in the United States" (2006), it is most effective when implemented at the scale of watersheds and hydrologic basins. Addressing issues at the watershed and basin levels, however, presents a variety of challenges for environmental planners. Due to the trans-boundary nature of many watersheds and basins, a great number of stakeholders from multiple political jurisdictions and sectors are likely to be involved in the planning process. Drought is one of many issues that can impact watersheds and basins, further complicating planning at this level. Planners are likely to approach drought planning for watersheds and basins differently than political entities, such as states or cities. The purpose of this study is to determine the current status of drought planning at the watershed and basin levels, identify common attributes of drought plans that are developed at these levels, and reveal possible spatial patterns among the watersheds and basins that have drought plans. This is being accomplished using the following methods: 1) conducting an inventory of watershed- and basin-level drought plans by doing Internet searches and contacting stakeholders for plan information; 2) categorizing plan information and attributes into a database, such as the use of drought monitoring tools (e.g. indicators and triggers), evidence of coordination of planning among jurisdictions, and how climate data and climate change are incorporated into the plans; and 3) mapping these watersheds and basins using GIS software. It is anticipated that the results of this study will highlight some watersheds and basins of special interest that deserve further examination in the form of future case studies.
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