Yellowstone River Corridor Resource Clearinghouse

This web page provides a single point of access to data and publications that the Montana State Library archives for the Yellowstone River Corridor, and is intended to provide a clearinghouse for information associated with the river.  The data and publications were developed by federal and state agencies primarily through contracted services.

The most recent work was conducted as part of the Yellowstone River Corridor Comprehensive Study, also known as the Cumulative Effects Assessment.  This interdisciplinary study was mandated by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 1999, section 431.  Please refer to the Yellowstone River Conservation District Council web site for more information about the project, partners, and cumulative effects assessment study results.

The project area extends from the Yellowstone National Park boundary near Gardiner, Montana to the Missouri River confluence in McKenzie County, North Dakota.  Primary sponsors of the work include the State of Montana, the Governor’s Upper Yellowstone River Task Force, and the Yellowstone River Conservation District Council, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District.

Yellowstone River maps and data online:
Map and air photo data created for the Yellowstone River may be viewed by anyone with the Yellowstone River Map Viewer, or loaded as a GIS Service by users of mapping software such as ArcMap and ArcGIS Explorer.  These let you pan and zoom to any location along the river and choose which data to view.  The data layers on the left side of the map viewer are categorized into groups of data — please open the groups to see the layers for various time periods that are available.

Downloadable GIS Data
These are files that may be used with GIS software to create maps or analyze features of the Yellowstone River corridor.


Reports, Maps, and Technical Information:
These are finished work products in PDF format resulting from the Yellowstone River Cumulative Effects Assessment, or previous interdisciplinary environmental analyses.
  • Yellowstone Impact Study (1974-1976) in 11 volumes
  • Yellowstone River Pipeline Risk Assessment and Floodplain Reclamation Planning Project (2012). This report, along with the accompanying addendum, documents the results of an investigation into the potential for fluvial geomorphic processes (natural erosion) to affect petroleum pipelines within the Yellowstone River Channel Migration Zone. The addendum clarifies and revises the risk assessment ratings presented in the original report based on supplemental information provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) and pipeline operators subsequent to final delivery of the report.
  • Hydrology
    • Streamflow Statistics for Unregulated and Regulated Conditions
      The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Yellowstone River Conservation District Council and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, calculated streamflow statistics for unregulated and regulated conditions for the Yellowstone, Tongue, and Powder Rivers for the 1928–2002 study period. Unregulated streamflow represents flow conditions that might have occurred during the 1928–2002 study period if there had been no water-resources development in the Yellowstone River Basin. Regulated streamflow represents estimates of flow conditions during the 1928–2002 study period if the level of water-resources development existing in 2002 was in place during the entire study period.
  • Land Use
    • Yellowstone River Land Use Mapping and Analysis. The land use mapping effort consisted of digitizing land use polygons using 1948-1950's, 1976-1977, 1999-2001, and 2012 aerial imagery in a GIS environment. The goal of the delineation was to capture areas of similar land use as they appeared on the aerial imagery, while maintaining a consistent scale. Four tiers of nested attributes were developed for the mapping effort. The study area is defined by the GIS-modeled 100-year inundation boundary, plus a 500-meter buffer. In total, over 700 square miles of area were mapped for each suite of imagery. See listing under Downloadable GIS Data for the geodatabase associated with this report.
  • Geomorphology
    • Summary of Studies Supporting Cumulative Effects Analysis of Upper Yellowstone River Channel Modifications. This was performed by the USGS, Fort Collins Science Center and was sponsored by the Army Corps of Engineers.
    • Geomorphic Reconnaissance and GIS Development for the Yellowstone River (2004). Draft report and GIS datasets
    • Yellowstone River Channel Migration Zone Maps. Yellowstone River CMZ maps by county.
    • Yellowstone River Channel Migration Zone Final Report. Report that accompanies the CMZ maps.
    • Upper Yellowstone River Physical Features inventory (1998). An early inventory of a portion of the Yellowstone River in Park County.  The inventory was conducted by volunteers and produced by the NRCS.
    • Geomorphic Parameters and GIS Development. These two reports document the results of a GIS analysis performed in support of the geomorphic scope of work associated with the Yellowstone River Cumulative Effects Assessment. The work consists of a GIS-based summary of geomorphic planform parameters of the Yellowstone River corridor from Gardiner to the Missouri River confluence.  Primary reach breaks and reach classification data reflect those presented in the Geomorphic Reconnaissance and GIS Development for the Yellowstone River.
    • Yellowstone River Human Impacts Timeline (2008). This documents the development of flooding and erosion control structures through time in the Yellowstone River corridor.  Determination of the approximate construction dates for features such as dikes, levees, riprap, and transportation infrastructure encroachment on the floodplain was accomplished using Historic Aerial Photography.
    • Yellowstone River Historic Events Timeline (2008). This provides tabulated summaries of historic occurrences in the river corridor related to bridge construction, irrigation structures, ice jam formation, natural grade control removal, and flooding.  The information is intended to support the development of a timeline that describes the progressive construction of numerous types of physical features within the river corridor (see Yellowstone River Human Impacts Timeline), along with timing of natural events such as floods and ice jams.
    • Yellowstone River Geomorphic Analysis for Yellowstone County (2000). Prepared for the Yellowstone Conservation District by Womack and Associates, Inc. and Aquoneering, Inc., this report assesses the effects of erosion and flood control structures on the Yellowstone River’s geomorphology from the Carbon County line to the eastern edge of the Billings East USGS Quadrangle. Principal sources of data include historic aerial photography (1957 and 1999) and survey data obtained by the report authors (1999) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (1968).
  • Biology
  • Socioeconomics
    • Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory (2006). This documents the variety and intensity of different perspectives and values held by people who share the Yellowstone River.  The results of 313 interviews with landowners, resource managers, industry representatives and civic officials are documented and summarized.
Other data about the Yellowstone corridor can be found through the NRIS TopoFinder and Thematic Mapper applications.