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Montana: The Magazine of Western History

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Yellowstone River, Conservation of natural resources


The Yellowstone River remains the only major free-flowing stream in the lower 48 states. Defenders of free-flowing status argue that benefits derived from maintaining the historic river surpass those gained through dams. The 1973 Montana Water Use Act placed water allocation in the state's hands, and the 1974 Yellowstone Moratorium gave the state three years to determine the Yellowstone's future. The Montana Fish and Game Department requested maintenance of the instream flow to protect the fisheries and the river, and the state Natural Resources board partially granted the request, thereby preventing dams on the Yellowstone.


This is the publisher's final PDF. Article appears in Montana: The Magazine of Western History copyright 1985 Montana Historical Society

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