9.1 Engaging the Drought Preparedness Community: Celebrating Successes and Planning for the Future

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 8:30 AM
Room 15 (Austin Convention Center)
Deborah J. Bathke, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and N. A. Wall, T. Haigh, M. J. Hayes, and M. D. Svoboda

Drought is a complex problem that typically goes beyond the capacity, resources, and jurisdiction of any single person, program, organization, political boundary, or sector. Thus, by nature, monitoring, planning for, and reducing drought risk must be a collaborative process. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), established by federal law in 2006, is an interagency, multi-partner effort to improve the nation's ability to proactively manage drought-related risks, and to better prepare for and mitigate the effects of drought. As part of the NIDIS effort, the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) has partnered with the NIDIS Program Office for the development and leadership of the Engaging Preparedness Communities (EPC) working group and drought portal community. The goal of this working group is to provide active engagement among research, information brokers, and stakeholders in the various sectors responsible for managing drought-related risks. Since its inception, this working group has engaged a diverse group drought professionals and stakeholders from across the United States in a variety of activities aimed at facilitating communication, increasing collaboration, identifying lessons learned, and exploring drought planning strategies. An evaluation is in progress to learn how these NIDIS-sponsored activities have impacted participants' ability to find drought planning resources and communicate with other drought professionals. The next steps include working with state and regional offices to develop a drought coordinator network to help NIDIS reach critical user groups and stakeholders and to implement a Drought Ready Community program.
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