Governor Gianforte, DNRC Unveil Modernized Drought Management Plan

by Colter Brown

Governor Greg Gianforte announced the release of the Montana Drought Management Plan, modernized over the last two years by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) to improve the state’s drought and water supply planning.

“In my first year in office, we set out to improve the state’s drought preparedness, monitoring, and response, and we worked with a wide range of water users in the state to modernize the drought management plan,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Our resulting, stakeholder-driven plan better prepares Montana to meet current and future drought-related challenges.”

Last updated in 1995, the Montana Drought Management Plan details a comprehensive management framework to improve drought preparedness from prevention to recovery. The plan also lays the groundwork for future improvements.

“The launch of the Montana Drought Management Plan is a monumental step forward in our state’s commitment to building resilience against the impacts of drought,” DNRC Director Amanda Kaster said. “This effort represents the perspectives and feedback of Montanans, and we look forward to this collaboration continuing forward.”

The plan is structured to address key aspects of drought preparedness, incorporating robust monitoring and assessment processes. The plan also conducts a thorough vulnerability assessment across five primary water-use sectors, providing a spatial representation of the impact on social and ecological systems.

Understanding the vulnerabilities in different sectors is crucial for targeted and effective drought planning. The plan’s responsive approach is further emphasized through state-level drought triggers and associated agency response actions.

Additionally, the plan compiles 36 stakeholder-generated recommendations to guide resource allocation over the coming decade.

“These recommendations are a testament to the collective wisdom and dedication of Montanans who actively participated in shaping the future of our state’s drought resilience,” said Kaster. “We value public input and believe it is crucial for refining and enhancing our strategies to prepare Montana for the challenges of the future. We look forward to continuing to engage stakeholders as we look to implementing the drought plan.”

Convened by DNRC in 2021, the Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee comprises representatives from seven state agencies, bringing together a diverse array of voices from across the state. The extensive planning effort engaged hundreds of Montanans representing various water uses and interests, incorporating insights from technical experts, government entities, universities, non-profits, and businesses.

The Montana Drought Management Plan is available here.


Office of the Governor

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