JGRE has been contracted to contribute to the update of the Montana Drought Management Plan being led by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). JG staff will be leading a statewide drought vulnerability assessment to identify geographies and sectored that are likely to be highly impacted by drought in the future. In addition to using pre-existing indicator data (drought frequency, climate records, demographic trends, economic data, and other existing tools), JG will assess variation in vulnerability to drought across the state and across sectors through a survey and a series of interviews with stakeholders. These stakeholders represent the various water use sectors: agriculture, public water supply, domestic supply, fisheries/wildlife, recreation, tourism, energy/hydropower, conservation, and mining/industrial across the state. Interviews will begin in early July and will continue through middle of August. The data collected will be combined to calculate overall vulnerability scores by region and by sector.


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Montana’s Climate Regions. Map via DNRC.

Drought in Montana is complicated to study because it impacts multiple sectors across very different geographic, socio-economic, and ecological scales. The ways that each region uses and interacts with water availability differs greatly. As we have seen in local natural disasters and regional agricultural reports, drought is a topic demanding quick research and recommendations for communities across the state. The way we navigate water use and drought planning can impact infrastructure longevity, the severity of flooding and wildfires, crop and livestock wellbeing, and other metrics of environmental health. We hope that the research that is conducted for DNRC will be a tool for policymakers and natural resource coalitions to better regulate water use and water needs in Montana.

If you want to contribute to the drought vulnerability assessment in Montana, please take this survey: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6915673/Drought-Recruitment-Survey  

To learn about the current drought conditions by county in Montana, visit this link: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/76204aa1271a4a7f8a775fc2bba9ef83.

For more information on DNRC’s mission and this project, https://montanadroughtplan-mtdnrc.hub.arcgis.com/pages/the-plan-and-the-people