Today, the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP) will bring stakeholders together at the U.S. Department of the Interior for the White House Drought Symposium, made possible with the support of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). Nearly 40 diverse stakeholder groups will be represented to discuss the federal government’s role in building drought resilience into our water management systems and the steps that federal agencies should take to forestall future drought crises. Sportsmen hope the event will result in concrete steps that the federal government can take on drought planning and 21st century approaches to water conservation that will benefit fish, wildlife, and all Americans.
“The ongoing drought crisis creates a unique opportunity to change our water management systems so they are more resilient against future threats,” said Jimmy Hague, the TRCP’s Center for Water Resources director. “The groups gathered at the symposium have a track record of implementing innovative and effective projects on the ground to improve water resources and preserve working lands, and I’m confident that our input will set the stage for federal actions for years to come.”
Sportsmen will urge the administration to advance widely-supported conservation and water-efficiency measures to meet water demands while protecting and restoring the healthy river flows that ensure access to quality fish habitat. Hunting and angling stakeholders will also call for a renewed commitment and creative approaches to conservation funding.
“As brutal drought conditions continue throughout the West, cooperation among agricultural producers, conservation interests, and municipal users is essential,” said Laura Ziemer, Trout Unlimited’s senior counsel and water policy advisor. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the symposium and provide recommendations based on our work with farmers and ranchers in California, the Klamath Basin, the Yakima River Basin, and the Colorado River Basin to improve irrigation systems in a way that provides drought resilience for water supplies and fisheries.”
“The Nature Conservancy supports a proactive approach to achieve healthy ecosystems and related economies in the face of drought,” said Doug Robotham, water policy director for The Nature Conservancy. “We are working with these partners to find common ground and new ways to be more efficient and effective with the water we have and ensure that we will have the water we need for years to come. California’s severe drought or that which has affected the Colorado River Basin for the last 15 years, and which may be the worst in the last 1,200 years, demand flexible and innovative approaches to meeting the fresh water needs of cities, farms, and wildlife. We are all in this together.”
Other TRCP partners in attendance will include the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. For examples of the good work these groups are doing on water projects in local communities, see our Snapshots of Success report.