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Agriculture and natural resource management in western United States

In *All, Earth Day, Environmental Stewardship, Water Security by AgIsAmerica

Climate information – historical, real-time and predictive – is vital for the sustainable management of agriculture and natural resources. Climate change poses major challenges to agriculture and natural resources in the western United States. Climate data are key to practices, tools, legislation, programs and policies that protect and enhance water, soil and air. With so many different entities collecting climate data and myriad ways of storing and distributing data, it can be difficult to access relevant, reliable climate information.

In response, a committee of researchers and Extension educators from land-grant universities in the western U.S. helps coordinate climate data collection and use. For more than 30 years, the committee has leveraged climate data collection, analysis and distribution infrastructure and technologies to meet agriculture and natural resource management needs in the western U.S. The multistate committee plays a critical role in coordinating these groups and networks and is essential to ensuring the sustainability and economic viability of climate networks and partnerships.

Some of the results of this committee’s work include:

  • Climate data, tools, and products helped the Arizona Governor’s Drought Task Force, Arizona Game and Fish and local livestock producers plan for and respond to droughts.

  • Arizona scientists also helped the Navajo, Hopi and White Mountain Apache tribes develop drought mitigation plans.

  • California scientists worked with the National Weather Service, NASA, local water agencies, and others to monitor snowpack and snowmelt and predict potential flood hazards and water supply issues.

  • Nevada’s Desert Research Institute and Western Regional Climate Center collaborated with fire managers in Nevada and California to use the Evaporative Demand Drought Index for seasonal fire danger outlooks and real-time operations.

  • Montana State University scientists helped develop a comprehensive report that details how climate change impacts the health of Montanans, both now and in the future.

Source: National Impacts Database

View the full impact statement.

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