|Cities||Steamboat Springs, Craig, Hayden|
|• elevation||7,833 ft (2,387 m)|
|Dinosaur National Monument|
|5,080 ft (1,550 m)|
|Length||250 mi (400 km)|
|Basin size||7,660 sq mi (19,800 km2)|
|• location||Deerlodge Park|
|• average||2,069 cu ft/s (58.6 m3/s)|
|• minimum||1.9 cu ft/s (0.054 m3/s)|
|• maximum||33,200 cu ft/s (940 m3/s)|
|• left||Bear River, Williams Fork|
|• right||Elk River, Little Snake River|
The Yampa River flows 250 miles (400 km) through northwestern Colorado in the United States. Rising in the Rocky Mountains, it is a tributary of the Green River and a major part of the Colorado River system. The Yampa is one of the few free-flowing rivers in the western United States, with only a few small dams and diversions.
The name is derived from the Snake Indians word for the Perideridia plant, which has an edible root. John C. Frémont was among the first to record the name 'Yampah' in entries of his journal from 1843, as he found the plant was particularly abundant in the watershed.
The headwaters of the Yampa are in the Park Range in Routt County, Colorado as the confluence of the Bear River and Phillips Creek, near the town of Yampa. The Bear River, larger of the two, flows from a source of 11,600-foot (3,500 m) at Derby Peak in the Flat Tops Wilderness. The Yampa River then flows north through a high mountain valley, through Stagecoach Reservoir and Lake Catamount, before reaching Steamboat Springs, where it turns sharply west. Below Steamboat Springs, the Yampa flows through a wider valley in the western foothills of the Rockies. It receives the Elk River from the north, then passes the towns of Milner and Hayden.
After entering Moffat County the Yampa passes Craig and is joined by the Williams Fork. West of Craig, the Yampa crosses arid, sparsely populated sagebrush country for about 50 miles (80 km) before reaching Cross Mountain Canyon, where the river slices a 1,000 ft (300 m) deep gap through the namesake mountain. Below Cross Mountain the Yampa enters the open valley of Lily Park, where it is joined by its largest tributary, the Little Snake River. Further west it enters Dinosaur National Monument, where it traverses more than 40 miles (64 km) of rugged canyons and rapids. The Yampa joins the Green in Echo Park at Steamboat Rock deep within the national monument, about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the Colorado–Utah border.
The Yampa drains 7,660 square miles (19,800 km2) of mostly semi-arid plateau country in northwestern Colorado and a small portion of southern Wyoming. The bulk of the watershed is located between the Park Range, to the east; the Flat Tops, to the south; and the Uinta Mountains, to the west. The Great Divide Basin, an area of closed drainage, borders the Yampa River basin to the north. The Continental Divide runs along the north and east sides of the Yampa basin, separating it from the headwaters of the North Platte River, which flows into the Mississippi River system. On the south, the Yampa River basin is bordered by that of the White River, which like the Yampa flows in a westerly direction to join the Green.
The Yampa River is a typical Western snow-fed stream, but unlike most other rivers in the western United States its seasonal discharge patterns are not affected by large dams and water projects. The river forms a noticeably wide, shallow braided stream throughout much of its course. The lower three fourths of the Yampa, from the Elk River down, are navigable by small craft. However the meandering, shallow nature of the river can render the river unnavigable during late summer in low water years.
The average flow at the confluence of the Green is 2,154 cubic feet per second (61 m3/s), averaging 5,400 cu ft/s (153 m3/s) during the spring runoff of April–July, and falling below 500 cu ft/s (14 m3/s) during late summer and autumn. The upper section of the river freezes over between December and March.
According to a U.S. Geological Survey stream gage at Deerlodge Park, about 50 miles (80 km) above the mouth, the average river flow was 2,082 cu ft/s (59.0 m3/s) between 1983 and 2013. The highest annual mean was 4,431 cu ft/s (125.5 m3/s) in 2011, and the lowest 678 cu ft/s (19.2 m3/s) in 2002. Monthly recorded average flows were highest in May at 8,200 cu ft/s (230 m3/s) and lowest in September at 342 cu ft/s (9.7 m3/s). The highest recorded peak flow was 33,200 cu ft/s (940 m3/s) during the record snowmelt of May 18, 1984.
Because the Yampa River maintains a relatively natural flow pattern, it supports a productive riparian zone environment along much of its course. In addition, much of the river is unconstrained by levees allowing it to maintain its natural floodplain. This is also true of its main tributary, the Little Snake River. The Yampa River Preserve 17 miles (27 km) west of Steamboat Springs protects a rare riparian forest type consisting of narrowleaf cottonwood, box elder and red-osier dogwood that was once more common in the Upper Colorado River Basin. The Yampa's warm, silty waters are an ideal spawning ground for native fish such as the Colorado pikeminnow and humpback chub which have largely disappeared from dammed waterways in other parts of the Colorado River system.
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Archaeological studies conducted in the Dinosaur National Monument have revealed evidence of human habitation up to 7000 BC.The Fremont culture or Desert Archaic people inhabited the Yampa River basin starting about 800 AD, but disappeared for reasons uncertain during the 1400s. The Fremont created petroglyphs along the Yampa River Canyon, of which more than 300 are still visible today. After the collapse of the Fremont culture, a branch of the Utes moved into the Yampa River basin. The White River Utes inhabited the valleys of the Yampa and White Rivers and the Rockies of northwestern Colorado. The band living in the Yampa River valley was known as the Yamparika or Yapudttka Utes. At times the river also served as a boundary between the Utes and Comanche peoples to the north; there was also a band of Comanche called the Yamparika.
The name Yamparika is a Snake Indians word meaning "yampa eaters", "yampa" referring to the edible roots of the Perideridia plant. "Yampa" itself probably meant "water-plant" or "common plant".In 1843 explorer John C. Frémont was among the first to record the name "Yampah", finding this plant to be of particular abundance in the watershed. Some fur traders in the 1800s thought Yampa was the Ute word for "bear", and the Yampa was often called the Bear River on early maps.
During the 1960s, the Yampa and Green River canyons were slated to be flooded under a reservoir created by Echo Park Dam, a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water project. Due to environmentalists' opposition, this dam was never built, and the free-flowing character of the Yampa was retained. However, as part of the compromise to preserve Echo Park, the controversial Glen Canyon and Flaming Gorge dam projects were allowed to move forward, damming the Colorado and Green Rivers, respectively. Today the Yampa remains the only major tributary in the Colorado River system without a single large dam along its course (the moderately sized Stagecoach Dam, built 1989 and several others on the headwaters have only a limited impact on its flow).
In December, 2006, a report proposed to pump water from the Yampa River 200 miles east, under the Continental Divide, to the state's major cities along the Front Range. The diversion was proposed to start near Maybell, 20 miles (32 km) downstream of Craig, Colorado . The proposal faces widespread opposition because it could lower river flows in late summer due to the diversion. [ citation needed ]
The Snake River is a major river of the greater Pacific Northwest region in the United States. At 1,078 miles (1,735 km) long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, in turn the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean. The Snake River rises in western Wyoming, then flows through the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, the rugged Hells Canyon on the Oregon–Idaho border and the rolling Palouse Hills of Washington, emptying into the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities, Washington.
The South Platte River is one of the two principal tributaries of the Platte River. Flowing through the U.S. states of Colorado and Nebraska, it is itself a major river of the American Midwest and the American Southwest/Mountain West. Its drainage basin includes much of the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, much of the populated region known as the Colorado Front Range and Eastern Plains, and a portion of southeastern Wyoming in the vicinity of the city of Cheyenne. It joins the North Platte River in western Nebraska to form the Platte, which then flows across Nebraska to the Missouri. The river serves as the principal source of water for eastern Colorado. In its valley along the foothills in Colorado, it has permitted agriculture in an area of the Colorado Piedmont and Great Plains that is otherwise arid.
The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.
The Little Colorado River is a tributary of the Colorado River in the U.S. state of Arizona, providing the principal drainage from the Painted Desert region. Together with its major tributary, the Puerco River, it drains an area of about 26,500 square miles (69,000 km2) in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. Although it stretches almost 340 miles (550 km), only the headwaters and the lowermost reaches flow year-round. Between St. Johns and Cameron, most of the river is a wide, braided wash, only containing water after heavy snowmelt or flash flooding.
The Western Slope is the part of the state of Colorado west of the Continental Divide. Bodies of water west of the Divide flow toward the Pacific Ocean. Water that falls and flows east of the Divide heads east. The Western Slope encompasses about 33% of the state, but has just 10% of the state's residents. The eastern part of the state, including the San Luis Valley and the Front Range, is the more populous portion of the state.
The Green River, located in the western United States, is the chief tributary of the Colorado River. The watershed of the river, known as the Green River Basin, covers parts of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. The Green River is 730 miles (1,170 km) long, beginning in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming and flowing through Wyoming and Utah for most of its course, except for 40 miles (64 km) into western Colorado. Much of the route is through the Colorado Plateau and through some of the most spectacular canyons in the United States. It is only slightly smaller than the Colorado when the two rivers merge, but typically carries a larger load of silt. The average yearly mean flow of the river at Green River, Utah is 6,121 cubic feet (173.3 m3) per second.
The Big Thompson River is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 78 miles (123 km) long, in the U.S. state of Colorado. It originates in Forest Canyon into Lake Estes, in Estes Park, CO. It includes four crossings/bridges which are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The San Juan River is a major tributary of the Colorado River in the Southwestern United States, providing the chief drainage for the Four Corners region of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. Originating as snowmelt in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, it flows 383 miles (616 km) through the deserts of northern New Mexico and southeastern Utah to join the Colorado River at Glen Canyon.
The Dolores River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 241 miles (388 km) long, in the U.S. states of Colorado and Utah. The river drains a rugged and arid region of the Colorado Plateau west of the San Juan Mountains. Its name derives from the Spanish El Rio de Nuestra Señora de Dolores, River of Our Lady of Sorrows. The river was explored and possibly named by Juan Maria Antonio Rivera during a 1765 expedition from Santa Fe.
The Little Snake River is a tributary of the Yampa River, approximately 155 miles (249 km) long, in southwestern Wyoming and northwestern Colorado in the United States.
Dinosaur National Monument is an American national monument located on the southeast flank of the Uinta Mountains on the border between Colorado and Utah at the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers. Although most of the monument area is in Moffat County, Colorado, the Dinosaur Quarry is located in Utah, north of the town of Jensen, Utah at. The nearest Colorado town is Dinosaur while the nearest city is Vernal, Utah.
The Owyhee River is a tributary of the Snake River located in northern Nevada, southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon in the United States. It is 280 miles (450 km) long. The river's drainage basin is 11,049 square miles (28,620 km2) in area, one of the largest subbasins of the Columbia Basin. The mean annual discharge is 995 cubic feet per second (28.2 m3/s), with a maximum of 50,000 cu ft/s (1,400 m3/s) recorded in 1993 and a minimum of 42 cu ft/s (1.2 m3/s) in 1954.
The Sevier River is a 385-mile (620 km)-long river in the Great Basin of southwestern Utah in the United States. Originating west of Bryce Canyon National Park, the river flows north through a chain of high farming valleys and steep canyons along the west side of the Sevier Plateau, before turning southwest and terminating in the endorheic basin of Sevier Lake in the Sevier Desert. It is used extensively for irrigation along its course, with the consequence that Sevier Lake is usually dry.
The Kern River, originally Rio de San Felipe, later La Porciuncula, is a river in the U.S. state of California, approximately 165 miles (270 km) long. It drains an area of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains northeast of Bakersfield. Fed by snowmelt near Mount Whitney, the river passes through scenic canyons in the mountains and is a popular destination for whitewater rafting and kayaking. It is the southernmost major river system in the Sierra Nevada, and is the only major river in the Sierra that drains in a southerly direction.
The Palouse River is a tributary of the Snake River in Washington and Idaho, in the northwest United States. It flows for 167 miles (269 km) southwestwards, primarily through the Palouse region of southeastern Washington. It is part of the Columbia River Basin, as the Snake River is a tributary of the Columbia River.
Shoshone Falls is a waterfall in the western United States, on the Snake River in south-central Idaho, approximately three miles (5 km) northeast of the city of Twin Falls. Sometimes called the "Niagara of the West," Shoshone Falls is 212 feet (65 m) in height, 45 feet (14 m) higher than Niagara Falls, and flows over a rim nearly one thousand feet (300 m) in width.
Flaming Gorge Dam is a concrete thin-arch dam on the Green River, a major tributary of the Colorado River, in northern Utah in the United States. Flaming Gorge Dam forms the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which extends 91 miles (146 km) into southern Wyoming, submerging four distinct gorges of the Green River. The dam is a major component of the Colorado River Storage Project, which stores and distributes upper Colorado River Basin water.
The Duchesne River, located in the Uintah Basin region of Utah in the western United States, is a tributary of the Green River. The watershed of the river covers the Northeastern corner of Utah. The Duchesne River is 115 miles (185 km) long, and drains a total land area of 3,790 square miles (9,800 km2).
The Colorado River is a major river of the western United States and northwest Mexico in North America. Its headwaters are in the Rocky Mountains where La Poudre Pass Lake is its source. Located in north central Colorado it flows southwest through the Colorado Plateau country of western Colorado, southeastern Utah and northwestern Arizona where it flows through the Grand Canyon. It turns south near Las Vegas, Nevada, forming the Arizona–Nevada border in Lake Mead and the Arizona–California border a few miles below Davis Dam between Laughlin, Nevada and Needles, California before entering Mexico in the Colorado Desert. Most of its waters are diverted into the Imperial Valley of Southern California. In Mexico its course forms the boundary between Sonora and Baja California before entering the Gulf of California. This article describes most of the major features along the river.
Echo Park Dam was proposed in the 1950s by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as a central feature of the Colorado River Storage Project. Situated on the Green River, a major tributary of the Colorado River, the dam was proposed for the Echo Park district of Dinosaur National Monument, flooding much of the Green and Yampa river valleys in the monument. The dam was bitterly opposed by preservationists, who saw the encroachment of a dam into an existing national park as another Hetch Hetchy, to be opposed as an appropriation of protected lands for development purposes. A compromise led to the abandonment of the Echo Park project in favor of Glen Canyon Dam on the main stem of the Colorado, in lands that were not at that time protected.
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