Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture have created a Federal Drought Action Team that will work cooperatively to respond to communities facing significant drought. The team includes representatives appointed by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, along with representatives from other federal agencies.
Immediately the team is beginning to work with California officials as that state faces one of its worst droughts in decades. The announcement follows an earlier announcement by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation that based on water forecasts; water allocations for the Federal Central Valley Project will be significantly limited for agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental uses.
"The drought situation in California is dire," said Salazar. "Farms, ranches, and communities across the Central Valley are withering on the vine and in need of any help the federal government can provide."
Vilsack says it is essential that farmers, ranchers, and rural communities have confidence that the government will be working together to ensure they have access to every tool available.