NOAA contracted with SDSU and the NDMC to conduct an evaluation of the Missouri River La Nina Webinar series, to determine the effectiveness of the series and to gauge interest in continuing the series to focus beyond flooding issues. The evaluation was conducted through an online survey sent to all individuals who had registered for at least one of the webinars in May 2012. Results indicated that participants found the webinar format effective, that most participants had used resources from the webinars, and that almost all had shared information with others. Respondents wanted to see the webinar series continue on a monthly or every-other-month basis, and wanted the webinars to focus (in addition to flooding) on drought, water supply, climate trends, and other related issues.
As the webinar series has continued since that time through the present, SDSU and the NDMC conducted a second evaluation survey in January-February 2014 to learn more about how information shared through the webinar series is used in decision making. Preliminary results indicate that the information is being incorporated into decision-making, that the information is affecting a broad range of sectors including agriculture, water supply and quality, energy, wildlife, and public health, and that the benefits of the information in decision making included both non-financial benefits as well as measurable financial benefits of as much as $500,000-$1,000,000. A more detailed analysis will be presented.