Governor Parson extends Missouri drought alert through September 2024

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Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 24-05, extending Missouri’s drought alert to September 1, 2024. This order directs the continued coordination of resources and combined response efforts across state government until conditions improve in drought-impacted areas.

“Issuing a drought alert last spring was quite unprecedented, and unfortunately, the reality is we’re facing conditions worse now than a year ago,” Governor Parson stated. “We welcome the rain Missouri has received in recent weeks, but this drought alert will persist as long as Missouri’s farmers and ranchers are struggling from the effects of prolonged dryness and concerns continue over commercial navigation along our riverways.”

Missouri has been under a continuous drought alert since May 31, 2023, due to a lack of precipitation and below-normal streamflow. A prior drought alert was active from July 2022 to March 2023.

In line with the Missouri Drought Mitigation and Response Plan, the executive order will maintain the drought alert in counties experiencing moderate or greater drought conditions and will extend to any county that begins experiencing drought conditions according to the plan’s phases and triggers table.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Drought Assessment Committee, which coordinates a combined state and federal response to the drought, recommended the extension of the drought alert at its April 17 meeting after hearing expert testimony. Despite typical levels of precipitation this year, groundwater, streamflow, and precipitation levels remain inadequate due to the ongoing multi-year drought affecting Missouri and neighboring states.

As of April 25, 11 Missouri counties are experiencing severe drought, 71 counties are experiencing moderate drought, and 86 counties are under abnormally dry conditions.

Over the past year, the Drought Assessment Committee has coordinated several actions to mitigate the drought effects, including:

  • Bringing together experts across various sectors to collect information and promote collaborative solutions to drought-related issues.
  • Offering emergency water pumping and haying opportunities for farmers on public lands, including selected state parks and conservation areas.
  • Approving variances by the Soil and Water Districts Commission from its regular requirements, facilitating pond cleanout, cover crop, and livestock exclusion practices. Additionally, funds have been allocated to each Soil and Water Conservation District to enhance soil and water resiliency.
  • Monitoring drinking water reservoir systems by the Department of Natural Resources to ensure unaffected drinking water capacity.
  • Issuing permits for over-width loads by the Department of Transportation to facilitate hay transportation.
  • Expanding soil moisture and stream gauge networks through the Missouri Hydrology Information Center partnership to provide a more accurate account of water resources across Missouri.
  • Obligating over $3.6 million to landowners and cooperators by the Soil and Water Conservation Commission to help mitigate drought effects.
  • Developing hay directories by the University of Missouri and Missouri Department of Agriculture to assist farmers and ranchers in locating hay.
  • Enabling public submission of local drought conditions through Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR).

Additionally, a variety of resources are available online at this link, including links to CMOR, current drought-related news, current United States and Missouri drought monitor maps, the Missouri Drought Mitigation and Response Plan, and other helpful information, including data on previous droughts.

The Missouri Department of Conservation also warns of the increased risk of wildfires that drought conditions can cause. For more information on how to prevent wildfires, visit MDC’s wildfire prevention website.

To view Executive Order 24-05, click here.

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