logo

LETTER: NRCS Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting programs

Published on .

March 17, 2016

Honorable Jerry Moran
Chairman
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
125 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Moran:

On behalf of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA), I am writing to express support for adequate funding of the Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

In their Policy Resolution 14-03, Water Resource Management in the West, Western Governors state that, “basic information on the status, trends and projections of water resource availability is essential to sound water management.” In the resolution, the Governors also expressly support the Snow Survey and the Water Supply Forecasting programs.

Western Governors initiated a region-wide Drought Forum in 2014, which provides a framework for states and industry to share case studies and best practices regarding drought policy, preparedness and management. One of the consistent themes of the Drought Forum is the importance of continued collection of water resource data — like that provided by these NRCS programs — in studying and mitigating the impacts of drought in the Western states.

This information is integral to water supply management decisions for states, utilities, reservoir operators, and farmers. Among other things, it provides a basis for predicting snowpack runoff, which is particularly useful as drought persists in California, Nevada, the Pacific Northwest states, and the Southern Great Plains.

Additionally, these data sources provide states with valuable information pertaining to navigation and water flows on the Missouri River, demonstrating the versatile utility of drought-related data for state and local officials.

The importance of the Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting programs to Western states cannot be overstated. I encourage the Committee to maintain this critical effort.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and I hope you will contact me if you have any questions or require further information.

With regards, I am,

James D. Ogsbury
Executive Director

cc: Chief Jason Weller, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Mike Strobel, Director, National Water & Climate Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Identical letter sent to:

Honorable Jeff Merkley, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations

Honorable Robert B. Aderholt, Chairman, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, U.S. House Committee on Appropriations

Honorable Sam Farr, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, U.S. House Committee on Appropriations