Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Research Project #442545

Research Project: Expanding NRCS Climate Literacy and Leadership

Location: Range Management Research

Project Number: 3050-12610-001-042-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Sep 30, 2024

Objective 1: Increase climate awareness for NRCS staff in the Southwest and Northern Plains Hub areas by hosting Climate Conversations in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and North Dakota. Host at least 2 additional Climate Conversations that focus on a specific topic. Aligns with Hub Priority #2, Build Climate Awareness, and NRCS Priority #2 Increase assistance for climate-smart agriculture and forestry to support producers in mitigating climate change and building resiliency across their operations. Outcome 1.1: Increase staff awareness about climate resiliency and mitigation practices and information by at least 95%. Outcome will be documented through a post-Climate Conversation survey of participants. Outcome 1.2: Gather survey responses of additional field staff needs on climate smart activities to guide next steps. Provide NRCS State leadership and others with survey results from staff participating in the Climate Conversations to use in furthering climate awareness activities within the State. Deliverable: One summary report for each Climate Conversation held (minimum of 6), which includes the material covered as well as the survey results indicating change in understanding and further needs. Objective 2: Increase the climate resiliency of specific projects in the Southwest and Northern Plains by introducing the climate adaptation planning and practices process, projects will more thoroughly consider the impacts of climate change to the project area. Outcome: Participants in the workshops will be more aware of planning to include climate information for higher chances of success on other projects as well. Deliverable: Two workshop reports that detail the inclusion of climate information into watershed or other landscape defined projects. Projects define metrics for success that could be tracked over time (depending on the project and monitoring selected). Objective 3: NRCS Co-Leads will work directly with the SRCs to identify needs in COMET for broader use and more inclusive management scenarios representative of the Southwest and Northern Plains. Outcome: NRCS SRCs will have a resource for assistance in using and understanding COMET and how the tool can be used in arid environments. Additionally, management scenarios will be provided to folks working on COMET for consideration in tool refinement. Deliverable: Runs of COMET using updated practices/management regimes to illustrate potential climate mitigation on typical ag scenarios in the southwest and northern plains.

Activities will include setting up meetings with State NRCS leadership to discuss Climate Conversation topics and logistics. An informational meeting for State Resource Conservationists summarizing the NRCS Hawai'i Climate Adaptation Planning and Practices workshops will be given to determine where States may want to consider such a workshop for an existing project (i.e. wildfire restoration areas, 319 projects, RCPP projects, etc.). Participation in the proposed activities will be voluntary and customized to the requesting State’s needs.