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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #393498

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Evolution of the Southwest Drought Learning Network: Collective response to exceptional drought

item Elias, Emile
item FUCHS, BRIAN - National Drought Mitigation Center
item LISONBEE, JOEL - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
item BERNADT, BERNADT - National Drought Mitigation Center
item MARTINEZ, VIKTORYA - New Mexico State University
item HAIGH, TONYA - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Submitted to: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/2/2023
Publication Date: 2/15/2023
Citation: Elias, E.H., Fuchs, B., Lisonbee, J., Bernadt, B., Martinez, V., Haigh, T. 2023. Evolution of the Southwest Drought Learning Network: Collective response to exceptional drought. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 4(5):E935-E942.

Interpretive Summary: This article outlines the challenges of extreme drought in the Southwest and a network-based solution - the Drought Learning Network. We document why the network formed, intiial recommendations and lessons learned.

Technical Abstract: The 2018 exceptional drought over the Colorado Plateau motivated unprecedented responses by individuals and organizations. Climate service providers supporting and observing these responses realized that fundamental to future drought resilience is a network to document and share drought responses including the efficacy of those responses. Resource managers needed a forum to learn from peers and climate service providers about drought response. Climate service providers and resource managers met in February 2020 to envision a southwest drought learning network. Since then the network has grown into 5 organized teams focused on specific aspects of building drought resilience including sharing management practices, drought in agriculture, indigenous collaboration, identifying decision-relevant information and drought impact reporting. Each team works individually on activities, while also supporting other teams and the overarching goals of the whole network. Team activities include sharing case studies via the Collaborative Conservation and Adaptation Strategy Toolbox to help others learn from past experiences; hosting monthly drought briefings on current and expected conditions; facilitating webinars introducing drought-related tools and resources; identifying information needed to support critical management decisions; and innovating and sharing new and traditional drought monitoring technologies; and building drought resilience in indigenous communities. The network allows for collaboration and leveraging partner resources and strengths, ultimately enhancing regional drought resilience. The DLN website ( hosts more information about network teams and activities. This innovative network continues to grow in response to management needs and water scarcity in the Southwest United States.