Governor calls on University drought experts

As appointees to the Nevada Drought Forum, Doug Boyle and Mark Walker will help set the course to water sustainability for Nevada

4/9/2015 | By: Jane Tors  |

Two representatives of the University of Nevada, Reno will be part of a newly appointed Nevada Drought Forum. Mark Walker, dean of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, and Doug Boyle, associate professor in the College of Science and Nevada State Climatologist, will join the group described by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as "some of the best minds in Nevada's scientific, government and industry sectors" to address the drought situation and define the "path to sustainability."

Sandoval, an alumnus of the University of Nevada, Reno, signed the executive order April 8 creating the Nevada Drought Forum in a setting emblematic of the drought situation. His podium was on a bed of sand below the boat launch at Washoe Lake.

"Where we are standing now is usually under 3 feet of water," he said.

The Nevada Drought Forum will conduct a series of public meetings and is anticipated to provide a final set of short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to Sandoval. The effort will build on the findings and next steps put forth in the Western Governors' Drought Forum Final Report, an initiative led by Sandoval who is currently chairman of the Western Governors' Association.

In comments at the ceremony, Sandoval and others emphasized that drought and water planning are not new to Nevada's high-desert communities. Sandoval noted the Nevada Drought Forum can be "positive for economic develop in that it shows we're ahead of this, we're planning."

All 17 Nevada counties have been under a Drought Emergency Declaration since 2012. Boyle conducts a number of research projects aimed at developing a better understanding of the magnitude of the current and previous short- and long-term droughts. His office collects and interprets Nevada's climate data and shares the analysis with a number of state agencies and the public.

Nevada Drought Forum

governors drought forum

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval introduces members of the Nevada Drought Forum including (second from right) Mark Walker, dean of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, and (fifth from right) Doug Boyle, associate professor in the College of Science and Nevada State Climatologist.

"During the last four water years we have received significantly less precipitation, breaking records for lack of precipitation in some places, during the winter periods and warmer than normal temperatures during the summer demand periods," he said.

Walker has convened a group representing the Western land-grant universities to share data and insights related to the regional drought situation and other climatic changes. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers a Living With Drought website,, a one-stop source where homeowners, gardeners, farmers, ranchers, natural resource managers and others can find information to help them respond to drought-related challenges.

Learn more about the University's historic and continued contributions to water management and research at


For more news on the University of Nevada, Reno, follow @unevadareno on Twitter.

Get Nevada Today in your Inbox!