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Drought is not an unusual phenomenon on the Canadian prairies or the U.S. Great Plains. There were many short-term droughts in the prairies during the 20th century that generally lasted one to two years (e.g., 1961, 1988). The Canadian prairies multi-year drought event (1999-2003+) has been considered similar in severity to the 1930s drought years.
The 2004 Prairie Drought Workshop resulted in 76 scientists and resource managers gathering in Calgary, Alberta, to share information on drought science, impacts, and monitoring. Presenters examined the impacts on agriculture, stream flow, forests, and ground water, including potential impacts under a changed climate. Though focused on the Canadian prairies, the information presented could be applied to many parts of the U.S. Great Plains.