Yellowstone Headwaters

The Yellowstone River is the nucleus of our local ecosystem. Not only is it the longest undammed river in the lower 48, flowing through the heart of Park County, and a world renown trout fishery, but it’s the true lifeblood of the region.

PCEC has long been a strong advocate for Park County’s water resources. The Yellowstone Headwaters Program works to ensure that the river and its many tributaries remain a sustainable resource for generations to come. The health of the river’s ecosystem and the health of the local community are inextricably linked and the water that flows through Park County is our most valuable resource.

The goals of the program are to raise awareness of water conservation issues in Park County and to work with private landowners, conservation groups and state and federal agencies to create on the ground water conservation strategies that will maintain and build resiliency in the ecosystem in the face of threats from climate change. We all need to invest in the Yellowstone River and that a community based partnership is essential in this effort and the long-term health of the resource.

We in Park County now face a new, additional threat to the Yellowstone River ecosystem, a salmonid killing parasite that causes Proliferative Kidney Disease (PKD). Exacerbated by high water temperatures and record low flows, (which reflect the influence of climate change) this disease is having an unprecedented impact on the ecosystem. The long term ramifications are profound if in-stream flow, riparian health, angling & recreational pressure, irrigation withdrawal and water use in general are not addressed in a proactive manner.