Resilient Montana: A Water, Agriculture and Climate Program

Creating Infrastructure for Statewide Conversations on Water, Agriculture and Climate  

One Montana’s Resilient Montana program engages a largely untapped group of rural and conservative stakeholders in science-based climate change conversations. Our work is creating an inclusive and robust dialogue about climate impacts and adaptation strategies with Montanans on the ground, and we are turning that dialogue into lasting relationships and ongoing delivery of science-based information that informs decision-making support and leads to measurable adaptation actions across Montana.

The overall goal of the Resilient Montana program is to help develop state-wide infrastructure that supports rural and urban climate adaptation and water availability.

Three initiatives guide One Montana’s work regarding agriculture, water and climate:

  • Rural-Urban Climate Science Conversations: Engaging new constituencies in the conversation about climate change science, as it relates to future weather and water variability in Montana.
  • Rural–Urban Water Supply Dialogues: Facilitating community dialogues and working groups between adjacent urban and rural community representatives to collaborate on water management and drought planning.
  • Montana Adaptation Exchange: Bringing together agricultural producers, research entities, Montana Extension Service, non-governmental organizations, and agencies to develop practical resources and on-farm research initiatives with an eye toward helping farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other resource managers adapt to weather and water variability. Also includes creating opportunities for rural Montanans to lead the conversation with Montana’s universities, helping them to access practical research results in real-time, and better positioning them to adapt to climate and water variability while optimizing their operational production value and maximizing profits.

After leading more than two years worth of conversations, presentations and workshops dealing with climate change science and impacts with Montana farmers and ranchers, One Montana's Resilient Montana program staff wrote and published a white paper titled "How Montana's Farmers and Ranchers can be at the Forefront of Addressing Climate Change."  

In the words of One Montana President Bill Bryan: "This paper is an important step forward in identifying how agriculture can be a leader in addressing and adapting to climate issues facing land and natural resource stewards going forward. In many ways this is a beginning document, articulating a variety of agricultural adaptation strategies. But most importantly, it underscores the fact that agriculture and science have always been partners and that must continue when dealing with issues going forward that are directly related to climate variability."

In January of 2018, One Montana's Resilient Montana program launched a Drought Resilient Ranching Workshop Series. In rural ranching communities, the temporal and geographical variability of climate conditions pose many challenges. In cooperation with MSU Extension Service and the Musselshell Watershed Coalition, One Montana hosted three rural workshops in Clyde Park, Two Dot, and Winnett to provide an opportunity for collaboration in regards to drought resilience. Recorded audio from the workshops was compiled into full Workshop Transcripts. Results were then summarized in a formal Drought Resilient Ranching Workshops Report.

If you are interested in supporting the continuation of this important work, contact Zach Brown, Program Manager. 


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