A Hubiquitous time at UCOWR

Attendees in the SMERGE session discuss potential applications

The Southwest Climate Hub Team attended the 2019 Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) / National Institutes for Water Resources annual meeting, delivering 6 oral presentations and chairing 2 sessions. It was a great opportunity to share our interdisciplinary work on drought, agricultural production, and community engagement and to network with colleagues from across the U.S. 

Snowbird, Utah

The Southwest Climate Hub team had a large presence at the 2019 Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) / National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) Annual Water Resources Conference held from June 11-13 in Snowbird, Utah - it seemed like the SWCH team was ubiquitous throughout the program due to the number of sessions we chaired (2) and oral presentations we gave (6).

UCOWR is a consortium of academic institutions interested in water resources research, education, and outreach and NIWR represents the Water Resources Research Institutes that are mandated under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964. The UCOWR/NIWR annual meeting is a favorite of the SWCH due to the team’s roots and current work in hydrology and water resources as well as the opportunity to network with University researchers from across the nations. The conference is an outstanding venue to showcase our interdisciplinary work on drought, agricultural production, and community engagement. Moreover, we are extremely proud to showcase others’ work and to help build collaborative capacity and knowledge exchange through chairing sessions.

The first SWCH-sponsored session was moderated by Emile Elias, and focused on tools and resources to manage impacts of drought and water scarcity. Speakers and topics included:

  • Brian Fuchs (National Drought Mitigation Center): an introduction to the U.S. Drought Monitor

  • Dave DuBois (New Mexico State Climatologist): opportunities and challenges for communicating drought impacts in NM

  • Julian Reyes and Joel Brown (SWCH): ecological site information for drought response, and a new tool for sharing ecological site description and state and transition models

  • Dannele Peck (Northern Plains Climate Hub): Grass-Cast, a forage production forecast

  • Ayman Nassar (USU): UAVs for high resolution ET measurements

Our team also participated in a NPCH-led session on “Introducing and exploring SMERGE: An improved historical U.S. soil moisture product”. Climate Hub Fellow Julian Reyes presented on his crop insurance loss analysis, as well as pathways for linking soil moisture and crop loss payments. The interactive session also included audience members brainstorming their own ideas for incorporating SMERGE into their work.

The second SWCH-sponsored session was moderated Caiti Steele, and was titled “Predicting, monitoring, and responding to drought”.

  • Julian Reyes (SWCH): federal crop insurance loss payments and drought

  • Amy Ganguli (NMSU): resilience strategies in times of drought; Agroecosystem Resilience in Drought (ARID)

  • Skye Aney (NMSU): geospatial modeling of tree mortality in north-central NM

  • Emile Elias (SWCH): community challenges and response to 2018 Colorado plateau exceptional drought

  • Caiti Steele (SWCH): implications of streamflow declines and snow drought in upper Rio Grande tributary basins

Julian Reyes, SW Climate Hub Fellow