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Daniel B. Ferguson, Anna Masayesva, Alison M. Meadow, and Michael A. Crimmins


Drought monitoring and drought planning are complex endeavors. Measures of precipitation or streamflow provide little context for understanding how social and environmental systems impacted by drought are responding. Here the authors report on collaborative work with the Hopi Tribe—a Native American community in the U.S. Southwest—to develop a drought information system that is responsive to local needs. A strategy is presented for developing a system that is based on an assessment of how drought is experienced by Hopi citizens and resource managers, that can incorporate local observations of drought impacts as well as conventional indicators, and that brings together local expertise with conventional science-based observations. The system described here is meant to harness as much available information as possible to inform tribal resource managers, political leaders, and citizens about drought conditions and to also engage these local drought stakeholders in observing, thinking about, and helping to guide planning for drought.

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