Living with Yellowstone River: from Drought to Floods to Droughts, Again

Authors: Susan Gilbertz*, Montana State University-Billings
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Qualitative Methods, Resources
Keywords: Floods, drought, qualitative data, Yellowstone River
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The original Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory (YRCI) was conducted under drought conditions in 2006 to document residents’ concerns about the river, both as geographically-located and interest-driven stakeholders. Using qualitative data gathered via long interviews, the project illuminated commonalities of thought and diversities of opinion among and between five stakeholder groups: agriculturalists, local civic leaders, recreationalists, residentialists, and Native Americans. In the spring of 2011, the Yellowstone River run-off waters were extremely high and flooding occurred throughout the basin, albeit more so in some areas than others. Early in 2012 interviews were conducted in each of the river segments identified in 2006, using the original protocol as a basis for follow-up discussions with stakeholders. Today, with ten years having passed since the original work was conducted, and since there is a small data set available form 2012, there is a need to illuminate the qualitative data from 2006, 2011, and 2017 as moments in stakeholder time. Careful analyses of these moments illustrate the degree to which such moments influence stakeholder interests and concerns regarding life along the Yellowstone River.

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