National Drought Summary
NN Snow Pack Summary
State of Emergency
MAY Drought Status Report
2002 NN Drought FEMA
Livestock Drought Education Material XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Seasonal Herd Management
West Nile Virus in Livestock
Vesicular Stomatitis in
Botulism in Horses
Avian Flu (Bird Flu)
Livestock Deaths caused by a Foreign
Navajo Nation Landfill Sites XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
La Nina Page
What is La
2006 (LA NINA EFFECT)
The Navajo Nation’s arid climate is compromised by
drought due to the lack of adequate precipitation noticeably evident since
1996 along with increasing warmer temperatures annually. In a recent local
newspaper article, it was reported that by the end of April 2006, “Water
remaining in reservoirs will be all that’s expected for the remainder of the
year in the state of Arizona.” The report also adds that snow pack in the Chuska Mountains measured at 30% of the 30-year average as of April 1, 2006.
Snow pack was at 39% of the 30-year average at the San Francisco Peaks and
54% of the 30-year average at the Grand Canyon. These measurements indicate
extremely low stream flows this season for Arizona river basins. While the
winter storms brought some moisture, rain and snowfall, it is not enough to
fill the state’s reservoirs. The dry soils absorbed much of the runoff
before the water could reach the streams.
The Commission on
Emergency Management reaffirmed the State of Emergency Declaration on March
8, 2006. Based on existing conditions the forecast reflects below normal
precipitation and above normal temperature for the next three to six months.
The declaration directs implementation of drought responses by all divisions
of the Navajo Nation Government, as outlined in the Navajo Nation Drought
Contingency Plan. Neighboring states of New Mexico and Arizona have also
declared states of emergencies because of the drought.
National Weather Advisories forecast that the warm
temperatures will persist due to global warming. We are advised that the
effects of storms (i.e. Hurricane Katrina) will intensify when they occur.
EFFECTS OF DROUGHT
The priority of the State of Drought Emergency is as
follows: 1. Human life, includes high risk or at risk population. 2. Road
Accessibility. 3. Food, water, and medical supplies. 4. Livestock.
Water shortages. In some cases depletion of drinking
water affecting human lives, and water for livestock.
Drought poses health problems such as allergies,
dehydration, malnutrition, increasing cases of hantavirus and plague, heat
strokes, eye infections, sinus infections, lung infections, mental health
problems and possible depletion of drinking water.
Forest fires and rangeland fires pose a danger to
residents living in the open and in the forest away from housing
developments where fire hydrants are available and there is immediate
access to rescue operations.
Advisory: Water users in all communities of
the Navajo Nation are strongly advised to practice water conservation to
avoid unnecessary water shortage.
Water tables drop posing hardships on water
suppliers and their equipment.
Implementation of water hauling practices to areas
that are in extreme need.
Declarations of Emergencies allow for cooperative
efforts from the state, to the counties and the Navajo Nation relative to
drought assistance. The Commission on Emergency Management declared a
State of Warning and Preparedness on February 3, 2006. The commission also
reaffirmed the Drought State of Emergency declaration from August 2004 on
March 8, 2006. The Navajo Nation is in a State of Emergency due to the
Livestock and Wildlife
Impacts vegetation and forage for domestic animals
and wildlife. Feed programs are often implemented to compensate for the
poor condition of rangelands.
Occurrence of animal diseases. Ranchers are advised
to maintain livestock health through vaccinations. Animals also suffer
from dehydration and malnutrition.
Invasion of predators on livestock and their
presence in nearby communities as they seek food.
Livestock and wildlife dependence on water from
dams, runoffs, and windmills is affected.
Ranchers must practice livestock management by
selling older animals and reducing the numbers to stay within the
requirements of grazing permits.
All ranchers and landowners should walk the land, see
the vegetation, the animals, and practice livestock and range management
based on first hand information. Planning is an essential part of this
Forest and Rangeland
The lack of precipitation increases the potential
for forest fires. The Navajo Nation has 597,000 acres of commercial
forestland that is predominately Ponderosa Pine, including Aspen, Blue
Spruce, Douglas and Cork Bark Fir, and Spruce. The forest includes 4.8
million acres of Pinion and Juniper Woodlands that are used as firewood.
These kinds of trees consume tremendous amounts of water; one Pinion or
one Juniper consumes 24 gallons of water a day.
Drought causes infestation of forest. The bark
beetle has destroyed approximately 253,000 acres of forest during the
Rangeland and wild land fires pose an even greater
danger to the forestlands. Forest wildlife include small animals and
birds, some are endangered species.
The positive side to fires and infestations of the
forestlands is the unintentional creation of grasslands and eventual savings
of ground water.
Other negative impacts of drought include erosion
created by lack of vegetation. This increases the potential for flash
flooding during the monsoon season. Erosions impacts farming.
Invasion of noxious and poisonous plants. Some of
these drought hardy plants pose a hazard to animals.
Dust pollution contributes to allergies and
infections. Dust storms are destructive forces that can dismantle unstable
structures and blow off roofs. A strong dust devil and actually pick up a
human or small animal.
Noxious plant seeds are carried by winds.
Water quality impacts – increases in salt
Sanitation issues, people may not practice proper
hygiene by not washing hands, food suppliers may not keep utensils clean.
Food service areas and restrooms will not be sanitary due to lack of water
Construction activities require a good supply of
Businesses such as McDonald’s need water for
Tourism drops and recreational activities such as
fishing, lodging and marinas scale back in sales and productivity.
Utility costs increase.
Forest fires destroy commercial forestland.
The Navajo Nation Drought Task Force was established.
The task force is representative of all divisions within the Navajo Nation
Government, the Division of Natural Resources, Division of Health, Historic
Preservation, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Public Safety,
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Office of the President and
The task force developed a 2.1 million dollar budget to
finance mitigation activities.
The Commission on Emergency Management has reaffirmed
the State of Emergency on the Drought. New Mexico and Arizona have declared
a State of Emergency due to the drought. These declarations are necessary to
activate relief activities at the counties directly to communities in need.
Livestock sales help to reduce the number of livestock.
Less grazing on the land allows for regeneration of forage and improved
Livestock reductions by means of sales, reduces the
impacts of animal diseases and allows veterinarian services to save on the
cost of medicines and control animal diseases effectively.
Public Education brings attention to conservation and
Eating new vegetation
Increase of the Prairie Dog
Effects of Drought
Saftety First When Hauling Water