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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334211

Title: Coping with historic drought in California rangelands: Developing a more effective institutional response

item BROWN, JOEL - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item ALVAREZ, PELAYO - Consultant
item BYRD, KRISTIN - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item Deswood, Helena
item Elias, Emile
item Spiegal, Sheri

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2017
Publication Date: 4/1/2017
Publication URL:
Citation: Brown, J., Alvarez, P., Byrd, K., Deswood, H., Elias, E.H., Spiegal, S.A. 2017. Coping with historic drought in California rangelands: Developing a more effective institutional response. Rangelands. 39:73-78. doi:10.1016/j.rala.2017.01.002.

Interpretive Summary: This article describes the outcomes of a workshop organized by the USDA Southwest Climate Hub in late 2015. The workshop brought together academics, agency staff, user groups and technical advisors to examine the institutional response to the historic drought in California. Workshop participants focused on three areas of analysis: improving programs and policies; improving monitoring; mitigation opportunities and threats. The workshop consensus was that individual ranchers have a variety of mechanisms for coping with drought, but that institutions lacked a coherent framework for learning and communicating from individual experiences.

Technical Abstract: Drought response is widely varied, depending on both the characteristics of the drought and the ability of individual ranchers to respond. Assistance from institutions during drought has not typically considered preemptive, during and post-drought response as a strategic approach which recognizes biophysical, sociological and economic complexities of drought. A USDA SW Climate Hub sponsored workshop brought together a range of representatives from institutions with drought response responsibilities to examine how those institutions could better support drought decision making.