A VegDRI listening session at the Walla Walla Regional Airport on November 11 focused on obtaining feedback for the Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI) project and also introduced the experimental Vegetation Drought Response Outlook (VegOut) project. There were 13 participants at this listening session, representing producers, agri-business, University of Washington Extension, and also the region’s Risk Management Agency. While most participants were from Washington, one was from Northern Oregon. Public participation methods included the use of an audience response system (clickers). Focused questions stimulated discussion and feedback from the group.
Another workshop on November 12 in Cheney, Washington, focused on the whole set of drought management tools that the NDMC is developing with RMA sponsorship: the Drought Impact Reporter (DIR), VegDRI, VegOut, and The GreenLeaf Project (a collaborative RMA project between the NDMC and University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Computer Science and Engineering Center). The group of 20 participants included producers, ranchers, media, the Spokane County Conservation District (SCCD), RMA, and the National Weather Service (NWS). The workshop also included participation and a presentation from Oregon State University on irrigation scheduling methods, which is also a RMA grant-funded project. Other local presentations included an overview of recent climate conditions from the National Weather Service office in Spokane and a presentation by the SCCD on Washington State’s Revolving Insurance Funds.
Dr. Tsegaye Tadesse presented the VegOut project. The NDMC used an audience response system (clickers) and a “sticky wall” (to the right of the projection screen) to stimulate discussion and to gain feedback for the VegDRI/VegOut/DIR projects.
The National Drought Mitigation Center’s (NDMC)’s Washington State workshops reached the targeted stakeholders. We received written and verbal feedback from potential users of the tools and collected contact information from many individuals for further dialogue.