(DNR map)

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has finalized its state drought plan.

DNR hydrology coordinator, Tim Hall, says the plan is a resource for state, county, and local use. “We think it’ll give us a better opportunity to stay in front of drought conditions,” Hall says. The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Iowa Agriculture Department helped develop the plan.

Hall says the plan also draws from the longtime U.S. Drought Monitor and provides a more localized version of that national program.
“The drought plan also provides schedules and structure for having discussions and meetings and providing information to local decision makers during times of drought,” Hall says. “So we think it’s going to be a good tool to both prepare for and respond to drought conditions.”

State climatologist Justin Glisten is one of the primary contributors of Iowa information to the U-S Drought Monitor — and Hall says he’s helped develop the components of this state plan. “For example, in northwest Iowa stream flows are very important for groundwater resources. So we’ve got the ability to look at statistical analysis of streamflow around the state to help us be better prepared for drought conditions,” he says.

The plan divides the state into five regions, and will provide information on the drought status in each area. “Right now there are eight counties in northwest Iowa that are in our drought region one that we classify as being in drought watch. So it’s the lowest level of drought situation in the state,” Hall says. “So we do recognize that that corner of the state does still have some drought challenges.”

Hall says they will tweak the state drought plan as needed. “We’re going to spend the next this next year using the drought plan — and I suspect we’re going to learn quite a bit as we put it into practice,” he says. “We anticipate issuing a new version of the drought plan in about a year based on experience we get here in this first year.”

You can see the full Iowa Drought Plan at the DNR’s website: iowadnr.gov.

Radio Iowa