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The cover of the document depicting a wooded hill leading down to a shoreline.In response to the potential for drought in the Pacific Northwest, NIDIS and its partners launched the Pacific Northwest Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) in February 2016. This document describes the evolution of the DEWS, the kickoff meeting and findings, and potential future activities.

The Pacific Northwest DEWS is a collaborative federal, tribal, state, and local interagency effort to improve early warning capacity and resilience to both drought and understand the relationship between drought and future climate change scenarios in the region. This is accomplished through local stakeholder-driven activities encompassing data collection and monitoring; research; planning for climate extreme events; and communication, education, and outreach. Activities focus on the states encompassing the Columbia River Basin (Idaho, western Montana, Oregon and Washington.)

Specific objectives of the Pacific Northwest DEWS are to:

  • Provide a forum for a diverse group of federal, tribal, state, and local stakeholders that represent all economic sectors, including water and land resource management, to strategize and develop appropriate, relevant, useful and readily available drought, climate, weather and water-related information.
  • Develop an understanding of the existing observation and monitoring networks, data, tools, research and other planning and mitigation resources available for a drought early warning system.
  • Identify the economic sector-specific and geographic needs for future monitoring, prediction, planning and information resources.