Billings Gazette: Wendy Weaver and Ashley Brubaker: Let the rivers be messy

Jun 5, 2024 | News Release

The machines are hard at work, kicking up clouds of dust on the dried gravel and sediment as they play pick-up-sticks. They’re compacting the earth, hauling out literal tons of logs and other wood on the banks of the Yellowstone River, swept to the shore by the record-breaking flooding last summer.


As the work progresses, the earth among the cottonwoods is scrubbed clean. The floodplain looks, more than anything, like a dirt parking lot.


This summer, our organizations got a heads up when this work was already underway in Paradise Valley, just north of Yankee Jim Canyon. The Montana Department of Disaster and Emergency Services, we learned, was talking with landowners along the Yellowstone River, telling them they could be held liable if they did not grant the state permission to remove logs and woody debris that washed up during the flood.


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