Drought Symposium - 2013 Society for Range Management Meeting


Coping with Drought Prediction, Detection, and Response to a Way of Life

Symposium at the 2013 Annual Society for Range Management Meeting in Oklahoma City, OK

What is federal drought policy? Although drought impacts can be significant, no comprehensive national drought policy exists. Developing a national policy would be challenging because of split federal and non-federal responsibilities, the existing patchwork of federal programs, and differences in regional conditions, risks, and available responses.



Policy Challenges

  • The gradual, or “creeping,” nature of drought;
  • Split federal and non-federal drought response and management responsibilities;
  • A patchwork of federal programs and oversight with little coordination; and
  • Differences in regional conditions and drought risk in terms of the drought hazard, vulnerability, and potential consequences.

2000 National Drought Policy Commission Report to Congress - Policy Statement

  • Favor preparedness over insurance, insurance over relief, and incentives over regulation.
  • Set research priorities based on the potential of the research results to reduce drought impacts.
  • Coordinate the delivery of federal services through cooperation and collaboration with nonfederal entities.


  1. Incorporate planning, implementation of plans and proactive mitigation measures, risk management, resource stewardship, environmental considerations, and public education as the key elements of effective national drought policy.
  2. Improve collaboration among scientists and managers to enhance the effectiveness of observation networks, monitoring, prediction, information delivery, and applied research and to foster public understanding of and preparedness for drought.
  3. Develop and incorporate comprehensive insurance and financial strategies into drought preparedness plans.
  4. Maintain a safety net of emergency relief that emphasizes sound stewardship of natural resources and self-help.
  5. Coordinate drought programs and response effectively, efficiently, and in a customer oriented manner.