Montana’s Department of Natural Resources Council contracted JG to conduct a drought vulnerability assessment for the updated Drought Management Plan for the state of Montana. The last Drought Management Plan was published in 1995, making the modernized, stakeholder-driven update a much needed revision. Drought in Montana is not a new concern, but as the climate continues to change and seasonal patterns become increasingly unpredictable, drought poses threats for the livelihoods of many Montanans including those in recreation, agriculture, city planning, and more.

JG was contracted in 2021 to complete the vulnerability assessment using stakeholder interviews and regional drought and socioeconomic data. Stakeholder interviews were conducted over the spring and summer of 2022 with city water planners, city commissioners, owners of recreational businesses, conservationists, farmers and ranchers, and many other stakeholders impacted by drought. These interviews created the qualitative base for the vulnerability assessment which collected and communicated the needs and concerns of stakeholders in Montana. JG also worked with climate scientist Nick Silverman who provided exposure data and analysis from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which contributed to the vulnerability assessment. JG used the compilation of the drought exposure data and water use sector specific socioeconomic data to calculate a drought vulnerability index for each county by water use sector in Montana, which allows for comparisons of relative drought vulnerability across the state.

The plan went through a series of review processes and opportunities for public comment before the final report was published in December of 2023. The goal of the updated Montana Drought Management Plan is to be able to better adapt and be prepared for drought in Montana.

Find the full Montana Drought Management Plan and more information here.