Thursday, February 23, 2017

Evaluation

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Goal:

Establish a network of evaluators across the United States to collect quantitative and qualitative information regarding drought and vegetation conditions for their local area. This feedback is used to evaluate the accuracy of the VegDRI maps across the growing season.

Evaluators provide a wide range of information that is useful for assessing VegDRI’s performance, including:

  • description of vegetation conditions and changes from visual observation
  • description of recent weather conditions and trends
  • crop yield / range production
  • soil moisture and vegetation biomass measurement

Why Is Evaluation Important?

Assessing how well the drought conditions depicted in the VegDRI maps relate to observed vegetation and drought conditions on the ground is critical for determining the relative strengths and weaknesses of this new drought monitoring tool. Such information will enable users to more effectively utilize the VegDRI for their specific interests.

Who Participates in the Evaluation?

Anyone interested or working in the areas of drought and vegetation condition monitoring, agriculture, or natural resources. In 2007, a diverse group of 81 VegDRI evaluators from a 15-state region participated in the assessment of VegDRI maps across the growing season. The evaluators included agricultural producers (farmers and ranchers), climate experts, range and crop experts, representatives from a wide range of state and federal government agencies (agriculture, natural resources, forestry, and water), and others in the general public.

VegDRI’s spatial coverage will be expanding across the 48 states of the continental United States during 2008 and 2009, and we would welcome your participation in the evaluation of VegDRI for your local area. We are in need of evaluators in all states. If you are interested in becoming a VegDRI evaluator, please contact Karin Callahan (kcallahan2@unl.edu). If you have specific questions about VegDRI or the evaluation process, please contact Dr. Brian Wardlow (bwardlow2@unl.edu).

The number of evaluators in 2007 by state included:

State Num. State Num.

Colorado

5

New Mexico

15

Iowa

2

North Dakota

3

Illinois

6

Oklahoma

5

Kansas

2

South Dakota

2

Minnesota

1

Texas

4

Missouri

0

Wisconsin

3

Montana

1

Wyoming

8

Nebraska

19

Examples of Evaluator Feedback:

Example #1

"Cheyenne (Ch) is quickly degrading in terms of greenness (now about 2 inches below normal precipitation after being normal on April 1). Vegetation is quickly browning out." (#1)

"I just got back from a trip to Thermopolis (T) and the area from Wheatland (W) to about 30 miles west of Casper (Cs) is green and in good shape (#2), the area west of Casper (Cs) from Powder River (PR) to Thermopolis (T) is very dry - vegetation is very brown, the cheatgrass is brown, no new green growth there (#3)."

USDA ARS Scientist; Source: Visual Observation; VegDRI for June 4

VegDRI Evaluation Example 1

Example #2

"Our ranch is a block extending into 3 counties, Rock, Loup, and Blaine. We have had very little rain since middle of June, inch or less. Because of that one might think we should be shown as dryer than your map shows. However we have had pretty good growth in our warm season grasses so things still look good and I would say your map portrays things accurately."

Rancher; Source: visual observation; VegDRI for July 16, 2007

VegDRI Evaluation Example 2

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