The Coastal Carolinas Drought Early Warning System was launched in August 2012 in Wilmington, NC where a diverse group of stakeholders convened to identify drought issues of concern for the coastal region, and establish priorities for DEWS activities moving forward. The Carolinas DEWS is a collaborative federal, state, and local interagency effort to improve early warning capacity and resilience to drought in the Carolinas with an emphasis on coastal areas. Many of the DEWS activities focus on improving the understanding of drought’s effects on coastal environmental resources and developing information to enhance drought monitoring and planning processes. Key drought and coastal ecosystems concerns relate to water quality and quantity, habitats, species, and estuarine processes. Drought contributes to increased salinity and saltwater intrusion, reduced flushing and assimilation of pollutants, and overall water quality changes. Ecosystem impact concerns center on habitat loss or conversion and consequent effects on recruitment, distribution, and migration patterns as well as on primary and secondary production. Saltwater intrusion, low stream flows, and low water levels contribute to impacts and are attributed to both drought and human actions (e.g. changes in dam releases due to drought). Activities Coastal Salinity Index – The Coastal Salinity Index (CSI) is a drought index tool that uses salinity data to characterize saline (drought) and freshwater (wet) conditions in coastal surface waters. Visit the CSI webpage here. Coastal Carolinas DEWS Strategic Plan Workshop - Coastal Carolinas local stakeholders participated in a workshop on June 2, 2016 at the Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina Wilmington in Wilmington, NC to inform the ACF DEWS Strategic Plan. This Strategic Plan will be available end of 2016.Read a two-page summary of activities in in Coastal Carolinas DEWS through 2016 Coastal Carolinas DEWS Program Progress Report – Summarizes project completed as of March 2016. North Carolina State Climate Office has developed many web-based tools that can be used for monitoring drought and water resource conditions. CoCoRaHS Citizen Engagement Condition Monitoring – Community members may report climate condition monitoring reports, generating valuable baseline and drought impact reporting. Read a two-page summary of this project | Read the May 2018 Final Report An Atlas of Hydroclimate Extremes for the Carolinas – The Atlas provides useful visual and quantitative information on extreme climate event impacts, connecting climate variability to management and decision making. Visit website here. Read a paper on the index from the April 2017 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) Ecological drought indicators – This project is taking the coastal salinity index one step further through additional investigation into how ecological indicators vary according to salinity levels expressed by the coastal drought index. Drought indicators for coastal zone fire risk – Fire indices (i.e. Keetch-Byram Drought index) were compared with local fire event histories to determine which best represented fire risk in organic soil.Read a two-page summary of this project Forecasting the SC Blue Crab Fishery – This decision support tool to forecast South Carolina blue crab landings, using information about current and projected changes in freshwater discharge and salinity.Read a two-page summary of this project Additional DEWS activities USGS real-time salinity drought index workshop - Stakeholders came together on Jan 7, 2014 to learn about development of a coastal salinity index and its potential uses for other Coastal Carolinas DEWS pilot projects.Read a two-page summary of this project The Missing Piece: Drought Impacts Monitoring - University and agency scientists involved with drought impacts monitoring convened in Tucson, AZ in March 2013 to discuss opportunities and barriers associated with drought impacts reporting, recommend best practices for implementing a drought impacts reporting system, and develop a path forward for addressing or overcoming barriers. Carolinas DEWS Planning Workshop – This workshop was held on July 31 – August 1, 2012 in Wilmington N.C. to refine priorities for the Carolinas DEWS based on stakeholder input. State of Knowledge Report: The Impact of Drought on Coastal Ecosystems in the Carolinas. This report was identified as a need by stakeholders at a March 2010 workshop. It provides a synthesis and analysis of the peer-reviewed literature regarding drought impact on coastal ecosystems in the Carolinas, to identify critical gaps, to inform future research efforts, and to suggest measures to facilitate drought adaptation for coastal ecosystems.