To assess, understand, and possibly predict impacts of decadal climate variability on water, agriculture, economy, and other societal sectors in the Missouri River Basin.
Importance of the Missouri River Basin (MRB)
The Missouri River Basin covers more than 500,000 square miles (~1,280,000 sq. km) including a part or all of 10 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces; it is also home to 28 Native American tribes. Inhabitants of the Basin depend on the Missouri River system for drinking water, irrigation and industrial needs, hydro-electricity, recreation, navigation, and fish and wildlife habitat.The Basin is a very important food-producing region; it produces approximately 46% of U.S. wheat, 22% of its grain corn, and 34% of its cattle. Approximately 117 million acres (~47.35 million ha) are in cropland, with 12 million acres (~4.86 million ha) under irrigation. Thus, almost 90% of the Basin’s cropland is entirely dependent on precipitation. In terms of economic importance, the approximate value of crops and livestock produced in the Basin was over $100 billion. The Missouri River Basin contains some of the country’s most sparsely-populated agrarian counties, as well as more than 2000 urban communities including large metropolitan areas such as Omaha, Kansas City, and Denver.