- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has received a $2.4 million federal grant to fund creation of the Drought Risk Management Research Center.

The three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was announced Wednesday, and the new center will be housed within the existing National Drought Mitigation Center, which the university launched in 1995. It will join the UNL center later this summer.

According to retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral Manson Brown, who announced the partnership, the center will coordinate drought preparedness at the federal, state and local levels. It also will work on planning innovations and communication across the National Integrated Drought Information Systems, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1GLOtJy ) reported.

“This critical environmental intelligence will strengthen their ability to stay resilient to drought and leverage the collaborative work of NOAA and other federal and state partners,” Brown said.

Rolling the new research center into UNL’s efforts will expand and strengthen the university’s focus on drought, said Mark Svoboda, a UNL climatologist and monitoring program leader at the National Drought Mitigation Center. He said that UNL believes the center could find a long-term home in Lincoln.

The school has worked with NOAA and the National Integrated Drought Information Systems for years, but establishing the new research center on campus formalizes a partnership between several agencies, said Michael Hayes, director of the UNL National Drought Mitigation Center.

Gov. Pete Ricketts called the partnership exciting and said the work to come out of the drought research center has the potential to benefit the entire state.

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