Yellow Medicine River

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Coordinates: 44°44′21″N 95°25′43″W / 44.73917°N 95.42861°W / 44.73917; -95.42861
Yellow Medicine River
River
Yellow Medicine River.jpg
The Yellow Medicine River in Minnesota Falls Township in 2007
Country United States
State Minnesota
Tributaries
 - left North Branch Yellow Medicine River, Spring Creek
 - right South Branch Yellow Medicine River
Source Lake Shaokatan
 - location Shaokatan Township, Lincoln County
 - elevation 1,776 ft (541 m) [1]
 - coordinates 44°24′41″N 96°21′05″W / 44.41139°N 96.35139°W / 44.41139; -96.35139 [2]
Mouth Minnesota River
 - location Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Yellow Medicine County
 - elevation 869 ft (265 m) [1]
 - coordinates 44°44′21″N 95°25′43″W / 44.73917°N 95.42861°W / 44.73917; -95.42861 [2]
Length 107.2 mi (173 km) [3]
Basin 665 sq mi (1,722 km2) [4]
Discharge for near Granite Falls
 - average 142 cu ft/s (4 m3/s) [5]
 - max 17,200 cu ft/s (487 m3/s)
 - min 0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)
The Yellow Medicine River in Wood Lake Township in 2007

The Yellow Medicine River is a tributary of the Minnesota River, 107 miles (173 km) long, in southwestern Minnesota in the United States. Via the Minnesota River, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River, draining an area of 665 square miles (1,722 km²) in an agricultural region. Its name is a translation of the Dakota name for the river, pajutazee, ("huta" meaning "root," "zi" meaning "yellow," and "kapi" meaning "they dig"),[citation needed] [6]

The Yellow Medicine River issues from Lake Shaokatan in Shaokatan Township in western Lincoln County, approximately six miles (10 km) southwest of Ivanhoe, on the Coteau des Prairies, a morainic plateau dividing the Mississippi and Missouri River watersheds. It flows initially northeastwardly as an intermittent stream, past Ivanhoe. The stream flows off the Coteau in northeastern Lincoln County, dropping 250 feet (75 m) in five miles (8 km), and turns east-northeastwardly, following a generally treeless course on till plains through northern Lyon County and eastern Yellow Medicine County, past Hanley Falls. It flows into the Minnesota River in Upper Sioux Agency State Park in Sioux Agency Township, approximately eight miles (13 km) southeast of Granite Falls, after dropping 85 feet (30 m) in its final ten miles (15 km) in the Minnesota River valley.[4][7][8]

The Yellow Medicine River's largest tributaries are the North Branch Yellow Medicine River[9] and the South Branch Yellow Medicine River,[10] both of which flow for most of their lengths on the Coteau. The North Branch, 41 miles (66 km) long, flows northeastwardly through northern Lincoln County, briefly entering Yellow Medicine County and passing through Porter. The South Branch, 62 miles (99 km) long, flows northeastwardly through Lincoln County into northwestern Lyon County, past Minneota. Other tributaries of the Yellow Medicine include Spring Creek, 46 miles (74 km) long, which flows eastwardly through Yellow Medicine County; and Mud Creek, 31 miles (50 km) long, which flows eastwardly through western Yellow Medicine County into northwestern Lyon County.[3][7]

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency statistically combines the watershed of the Yellow Medicine River with that of Hawk Creek on the opposite bank of the Minnesota River, as well as small watersheds of nearby Minnesota River tributaries. According to the agency, 81% of the land in the Yellow Medicine-Hawk Creek watersheds is used for agriculture, with corn and soybeans being the predominant crops.[8]

Species of fish in the Yellow Medicine River include catfish, carp, northern pike, walleye, and bullhead.[citation needed]

Flow rate[edit]

At the United States Geological Survey's stream gauge near Granite Falls, 6 miles (10 km) upstream from the river's mouth, the annual mean flow of the river between 1931 and 2005 was 142 cubic feet per second (4 m³/s). The highest recorded flow during the period was 17,200 ft³/s (487 m³/s) on April 10, 1969. Readings of zero were recorded on numerous days during several years.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Google Earth elevation for GNIS coordinates. Retrieved on 2007-06-04.
  2. ^ a b "Geographic Names Information System entry for Yellow Medicine River (Feature ID #654416)". Geographic Names Information System. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  3. ^ a b "Hawk Creek-Yellow Medicine River Major Watershed.". Minnesota River Basin Data Center. Minnesota State University, Mankato. 2000-06-06. pp. Streams within the Hawk Creek-Yellow Medicine River Major Watershed. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  4. ^ a b Waters, Thomas F. (2006). "The Southwest: Rivers of the Coteau des Prairies". The Streams and Rivers of Minnesota. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 288–303. ISBN 0-8166-0960-8. 
  5. ^ a b Mitton, G. B.; K. G. Guttormson, G. W. Stratton, E. S. Wakeman. "Water Resources Data in Minnesota, Water Year 2005 Annual Report.". United States Geological Survey. pp. Yellow Medicine River near Granite Falls, MN. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  6. ^ oral history Dakota people
  7. ^ a b Minnesota Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Me.: DeLorme. 1994. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-89933-222-6. 
  8. ^ a b "Watersheds of the Minnesota River Basin.". Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. 2005-12-01. pp. Minnesota River Basin: Hawk Creek-Yellow Medicine Watershed. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  9. ^ "Geographic Names Information System entry for North Branch Yellow Medicine River (Feature ID #648621)". Geographic Names Information System. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  10. ^ "Geographic Names Information System entry for South Branch Yellow Medicine River (Feature ID #652281)". Geographic Names Information System. Retrieved 2007-06-04.