The evolution of partnerships and their role in building resilience in the first five years of the USDA Climate Hub Network

TitleThe evolution of partnerships and their role in building resilience in the first five years of the USDA Climate Hub Network
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsElias EH, Reyes J.T., Steele C, Deswood H
Conference NameAmerican Geophysical Union
Date Published10/2019
Conference LocationSan Francisco, California
ARIS Log Number366676

In February 2014, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the formation of 10 Climate Hubs across the United States to “Develop and deliver science-based, region-specific information and technologies to agricultural and natural resource managers, and communities that enable climate-smart decision-making.” Here we present examples of the emergence and evolution of partnerships from the USDA Southwest Climate Hub (SWCH) through the lens of building resilience in the agricultural and forestry community sectors. All examples have distinctly different provenance (from opportunistic to strategic), time-horizons (weeks to years) and efficacy in building resilience, defined as a community-based positive sense of persisting during adversity. The partnerships stem from a strategic vision, a data need and a weather event (exceptional drought). 1). Early on the SWCH engaged with regional land grant Universities by awarding small grants to Cooperative Extension. This partnership has supported engagement with stakeholders in far-off locations (Hawaii and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands) and creative, necessary ongoing projects (MyRainge in Arizona). A series of meetings led to the Extension Climate Network. 2). The Colorado Plateau exceptional drought of 2018 led to rapid development and delivery of webinars for stakeholders and media designed to share information about current and projected weather conditions and likely impacts. The webinars were presented by regional and national experts to stakeholders. Many partners contributed to these including the SWCH, the National Integrated Drought Information System, the National Drought Mitigation Center, State Climatologists and others. These webinars gained considerable media attention and positive feedback, especially after fires emerged in Southwestern Colorado, but may have had limited benefit in terms of long-term resilience. 3). A data need to support Grass-Cast, a rangeland productivity tool, led to a collaboration between the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo Nation, a consulting firm and Hubs to collect and make available data to support future Grass-Cast projections. We describe our experience of the efficacy of these collaborative partnerships in building resilience and future best-practices. Paper number #PA43E-1184.