The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is funding the buildout of over 500 soil moisture and snowpack monitoring stations by five state mesonets in the Upper Missouri River Basin (Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming). The stations will provide high-quality “total water” monitoring (precipitation, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, snow depth, and soil moisture), and will include soil characterization at each station to be performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The data will be used by both the USACE and NOAA’s National Weather Service to support improved river and runoff modeling, a foundation for USACE and Bureau of Reclamation reservoir management. The data will also be available via the National Weather Service’s National Mesonet Program to support other federal, state, and local agencies on a wide range of research and applications, including flood and drought early warning, water supply forecasts, fire hazard assessments, agricultural management, and more. NIDIS is serving as lead of a related Congressionally-mandated Upper Missouri River Basin Data Value Study to examine how the project data will help to improve key hydrologic and related products.
This project is a key initiative of the NIDIS-sponsored National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network.
For more information:
You can also watch a PBS report on how this project will help farmers and ranchers anticipate and manage drought and other conditions.