24 Local Drought Management

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Mark A. Shafer, Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, Norman, OK

The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) was established in 2006 to improve the use of drought information and improve management and planning practices across the United States. While great strides have been made among national partners, federal agencies, and state governments, less is known about how these improvements connect to local communities. For example, does the weekly depiction in the U.S. Drought Monitor, which draws upon many new and improved data sources supported in part by NIDIS, accurately correspond with perceptions of drought in local communities?

To examine the relationship between national coordination and local challenges, the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP) designed and administered a survey that was distributed electronically to county officials in the six-state region served by SCIPP: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The survey was distributed in the Fall of 2014 and drew 331 respondents. These included representatives from counties and parishes, including Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Administration, Cooperative Extension, Emergency Management, and Water Districts.

The survey included four categories: perceptions and actions related to drought; monitoring drought, managing drought, and communicating drought information. The survey design included Likert Scale rankings for quantitative assessment, such as the relevance of various drought indicators, data sources, and communication methods, and qualitative responses to identify common themes related to management decisions and the U.S. Drought Monitor performance.

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