J2.1 Blurred Lines: Collaborating Across and Within Federal Agencies to Address Climate Change Impacts and Stakeholder Needs in the Water-limited Southwest

Monday, 23 January 2017: 11:00 AM
608 (Washington State Convention Center )
Julian J Reyes, USDA, Las Cruces, NM; and A. Rango, E. Elias, and C. Steele

As one of the newest federal programs to emerge in response to climate change, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Climate Hubs were established to assist farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in their adaptation and mitigation efforts under a changing climate. The Hubs’ mission is to deliver science-based information and tools, to agricultural and natural resource land managers, to enable climate-informed decision-making. By facilitating and transferring tools and knowledge, the Hubs also provide value to cooperative extension, land grant institutions, and USDA itself, especially in leveraging existing resource capacity.

In an effort to effectively leverage existing resources and tools, various federal agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) have also developed climate change coordination networks. These include the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program (NOAA RISA), USGS Climate Science Centers (CSCs), and USFWS Landscape Cooperative Conservation (LCC) network. These regionally-based federal networks can best operate in collaboration with one another. At their programmatic level, however, there are fundamental discrepancies in mission, stakeholder definition and geographic region. In this presentation, we seek to compare and contrast these divergent characteristics by identifying ‘hot spots’ and ‘hot moments’ where definitions, programs, or priorities may intersect due to place- or event-based issues.

The Southwest (SW) region of the United States, which presently operates under warm and dry conditions, is projected to become warmer and drier in the future. On-going drought conditions have presented an opportunity to maintain and build professional networks among these federal climate change coordination networks, as well as within USDA, to better understand impacts and respond to stakeholder needs. Projects in the Rio Grande River Valley and with Tribal nations highlight successful collaboration based on geography and common stakeholders, respectively. Aridity and water scarcity characterize the SW region and provide an overarching theme to better support adaptation and mitigation, as well as create opportunities for collaborative success.

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