Coping with historic drought in California rangelands

TitleCoping with historic drought in California rangelands
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBrown JR, Alvarez P, Deswood H, Elias EH, Spiegal S.
Conference NameCalifornia Rangeland Coalition Conference
Date Published01/2016
Conference LocationDavis, CA
ARIS Log Number325977

The current drought in California is of historic proportion, both in its intensity and its effect on agriculture.  Although storms of the 2015-16 winter rainfall season have provided modest drought relief, their effects on alleviating the multi-year drought are unknown. Short- and mid-term forecasts are not favorable and generally project an increase in variability as well. Although an increase in seasonal rainfall can be expected to result in increased forage production, the ability of grazing operations to respond at that timescale may be limited by economic constraints.  The USDA Southwest Regional Climate Hub developed a Rangeland Vulnerability Assessment (VA) for California.  In an effort to disseminate and implement the findings of the VA, we brought state-level technical and program specialists together with industry leaders to develop strategies for post drought actions that can assist producers in returning to sustainable grazing operations.  The workshop objectives were to 1) Distribute and discuss the California Rangeland Vulnerability Assessment, and 2) Involve leaders from agencies that provide rangeland financial and technical assistance support to identify agency priorities for implementation of the VA .  The participants identified three areas of major importance as a basis for improving the quality of technical and financial assistance.