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Responding To Drought and Water Challenges - National Kickoff Meeting

Presented as part of the National Kickoff Meeting "Responding to Drought and Water Challenges" hosted by the Office of Sustainability and Climate Change

October 4, 2016
The U.S. Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate Change hosted a live webinar for the Responding to Drought and Water Challenges - National Kickoff Meeting, which was presented through the Webinar Portals of Forestry and Natural Resources and Climate Science. The event kicked-off a series of planned regional workshops to engage Forest Service employees and partners in planning for and adapting to drought impacts with a focus on local impacts to resource areas.

To view this webinar on-demand at any time and receive continuing education credits, go to the Webinar Portal for instructions. Download a pdf of the presentation handouts.

Several areas of the western United States have experienced significant droughts and extreme events related to water (flooding) during the past decade. Although much attention is focused on the effects of these water-related challenges on agricultural lands and human settlements, forests and grasslands have also been affected, sometimes severely.

The U.S. Forest Service is planning a series of workshops to examine regional vulnerabilities of federal lands and identify strategies to address these vulnerabilities. To ensure that findings on drought vulnerability are widely dispersed to the management community, each workshop will be hosted by U.S. Forest Service resource specialists and research scientists and include representatives from other agencies and stakeholders. The regional workshops will be previewed in this National Drought Webinar.

Policy Context
In March 2016, a Presidential Memorandum was issued, requiring federal agencies to build national capabilities for long term drought resilience. The White House issued the "Long-Term Drought Resilience Federal Action Plan of the National Drought Resilience Partnership," establishing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as co-chair. The National Drought Resilience Partnership seeks to:

• Collect and integrate data on drought and related water issues
• Communicate about risk to critical infrastructure
• Initiate drought planning and capacity building
• Coordinate federal drought activity
• Explore market-based approaches for infrastructure and efficiency
• Promote innovative water use, efficiency, and technology

USDA has tasked the Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate Change (OSCC) to conduct a series of workshops and webinars to engage federal employees and regarding the effects of drought and other water-related challenges. Regional climate change coordinators and USDA Climate Hubs are assisting with this effort.

Workshop Objectives
Workshops will review current region-specific science on future drought and water-related challenges, describe management constraints and opportunities, and develop priority strategies and management practices to increase forest and grassland resilience. Workshops will focus on water resources, forest and grassland vegetation, wildfire, and recreation and other ecosystem services.

Each workshop will develop a summary of adaptation strategies and management actions that can be used in planning and on-the-ground applications. The results of all workshops will be synthesized, peer reviewed, and published in a Forest Service General Technical Report. This information will provide input to the U.S. Global Change Research Program as part of the next National Climate Assessment, and will be an important foundation for future drought planning and climate change adaptation in national forests and other federal lands.

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