Program area leader Mark Svoboda says the upgrade will help the facility to better coordinate resources between state and federal agencies to improve drought response.
“Given the cross-cutting nature of drought and how it impacts so many sectors, just becoming more efficient in responding to drought, to researching the questions that people want answers to from the field, including the farmer community and the rancher community,” Svoboda says, “I think that’s a key thing moving forward and how we deal with droughts in this century.”
Svoboda says cutting-edge mitigation techniques and long-term planning data for droughts will benefit Nebraska, the region and the nation. He says the new center will enhance drought prediction, warning systems and preparation.
“Can we research better ways to predict them so we can give people a bit more time for a heads up, which is a difficult task here in the middle of the U.S. as compared to some other areas,” Svoboda says. “It gives our center some flexibility to research those key questions instead of always responding to droughts when you’re in a drought.”
The center has a $2.4-million dollar, three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to set up the program. It should be operational later this summer.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton