This week I spent a couple of days touring the lower portion of theYellowstone River with a group of conservationists who are trying to determine the best way to manage this incredible resource.
The Yellowstone is an amazing river; it is over 670 miles long which makes it the longest free flowing river in the lower 48 states. Originating in Yellowstone National Park, it drains over 70,000 miles of land before it reaches the Missouri River.
It is also home to the Pallid Sturgeon. This armor plated, bewhiskered relic of the Jurassic Era, is native to the Yellowstone, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, but its stronghold, if you can call it that, is in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. Pallids grow up to 5 foot long and can weigh up to 60 pounds. Fish biologists believe that there are fewer than 200 Pallids left in existance and that most of the fertile females were teenagers during the Eisenhower administration.
Listed as an endangered species in 1990, conservationists have been scrambling to determine why the population of Pallids is dwindling so rapidly. What they have determined is that various irrigation structures placed in the rivers have made it impossible for the Pallids to reach vital spawning grounds in the Yellowstone River.
The group that I traveled with is committed to finding a solution to this problem.
Our first stop was at Intake, near Sidney, MT. Intake is an irrigation diversion on the Yellowstone River. It provides irrigation water for farmers in eastern Montana and part of North Dakota. This structure provides irrigation to 52, 133 acres of land via a 71.6 mile canal. It is also one of the problematic structures blocking the Pallids from their spawning grounds. At this stop we listened to the US Army Corp of Engineers and various other government entities discuss potential solutions to this problem.
Below are some photos I took during this fun filled, but educational day
Do you see him hidden in there?
Here's a cropped picture of the little feller.
What's everybody lookin' at?A shark's tooth embedded in a rock!
This photo is of the irrigation diversion.
I climbed up on top of a bluff to get a work photo and noticed that the view to the north was rather beautiful, so I took a shot of it too.
Tomorrow or Monday I'll post more pictures from the trip. Until then I'll leave you with a picture of the sunset I had the pleasure to witness on Thursday night.
I'm having blogger formatting issues, so please excuse the picture placement.