Tester Secures $26 Million to Improve Forecasting of Drought and Flooding in Montana

Funding will go towards soil moisture and snowpack monitoring to prevent, predict, and prepare for extreme weather

As a part of his continued work to ensure Montana communities are prepared for extreme flooding and drought, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured $26,000,000 in funding from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support soil moisture and snowpack monitoring and improve drought and flood forecasting in Montana and four other Upper Missouri River Basin states. This investment will come from Tester’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and will work to deliver critical information to improve weather prediction in Montana.

Tester worked with five Republicans and four Democrats to negotiate the IIJA and was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote for the bill.

“As Sharla and I wrap up another growing season on the family farm, we know that we are at the whims of mother nature. Extreme weather is forcing us to breathe in more smoke, it’s threatening Montana’s water supply, and it’s hitting our pocket-books – and having detailed and accurate forecasts is critically important to prepare for these events,” said Tester. “This funding is going towards vital research to support Montana’s top-notch scientists as they improve our drought and flood forecasting systems, and will work to ensure Montanans are prepared when disaster strikes.”

This investment marks a partnership between Montana’s leading climate and water-resource researchers and NOAA, and will be funding a pilot project to study the Upper Missouri River Basin. These observations are projected to dramatically improve forecasting for droughts and floods, as well as redefine Montana’s state-of-the-art soil moisture and snowpack monitoring.

As the only working farmer in the U.S. Senate, Tester has a long record of getting disaster relief to struggling producers across America and in Montana. In addition to championing more than $1.75 billion in Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and Emergency Livestock Relief Payment (ELRP), Tester led a successful, bipartisan effort to push USDA to expand the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP) to cover costs associated with hauling feed and water to livestock in drought, and vice versa. In June, Tester introduced his bipartisan Livestock Disaster Relief Act with Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to help ensure that Montana’s ranchers receive the relief funding needed to recover from future disasters. Tester’s bipartisan bill would improve the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP) to better meet the needs of ranchers impacted by drought and other natural disasters.