Kurth noted that it will be important to understand past and present data and future trends, especially with “the uncertainty of weather conditions” to assess where the state is vulnerable and identify potential strategies.
“As we all know, drought permeates all aspects of our lives,” Kurth told the committee. “Drought has many direct and indirect effects. It affects our economy, our environment, our health, all different things and on all different scales. So it’s really essential that we proactively think about implementing policies and programs that can help reduce or mitigate the impacts of these future droughts, and what I’m actually talking about is building resilience. statewide drought through this planning effort. “
Officials hope that the state’s update of its drought management plan will also catalyze local planning efforts, and the planning effort includes public participation and input.
Governor Greg Gianforte touted the importance of the plan in a statement announcing the update on Wednesday.
“With every region of Montana facing severe to extreme drought conditions, now is the time to plan for the future and increase our statewide preparedness,” he said. “Drought affects everyone, from fishermen to foresters to agricultural producers. “
Drought across Montana and the west defined much of summer with continued impacts expected through fall. A number of streams and rivers recorded record flows, fishing restrictions were put in place on many streams, and smoke from forest fires filled the skies. During this time, agriculture has suffered heavy impacts in terms of crop productivity and livestock feed.