Location and Description: The
city of Glendive lies on the banks of the
Yellowstone River in eastern Montana.
The west Glendive area of the city is
protected by an existing federal levee
constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers in 1959. The levee
was not designed for ice jams. The
Interstate 94 Bridge, completed in 1968,
crosses the Yellowstone River
downstream of the city and contributes to
the ice jam threat. The levee has come
within 0.5 to 1.5 feet of over-topping
during floods in 1969, 1986, and 1994,
and experiences significant ice jams
about once every two to three years.
Purpose and Need: Flooding, typically from ice jams, is a high risk to residents and
business owners in Glendive. Damaging ice jam floods have occurred on the Yellowstone River
in Glendive 30 times since 1890, including major ice jam floods in 1899, 1920, 1936, 1969,
1986, and 1994. A total of 16 deaths have occurred as a result of these events. USACE
constructed a levee to provide flood protection to west Glendive in 1959. The levee was
designed to protect against an open water flood discharge of 200,000 cubic feet per second with
three feet of freeboard. The levee was not designed specifically to protect against ice jams, but
the design elevation of the levee was compared against the 1936 ice jam elevation and was
found to still have three feet of freeboard. The ice jam floods of 1969, 1986, and 1994 all came
to within 0.5-1.5 feet of overtopping the west Glendive levee.
Activities for 2015: USACE completed the technical report, which included analysis of the
existing flood plain conditions for the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year flood events, as
well as the economic baseline for establishing the expected annual damages associated with
the Yellowstone River in the vicinity of Glendive, Montana. The report includes potential
structural and nonstructural alternatives.
Issues and Other Information: Environmental concerns along the Yellowstone River
are always an issue due to endangered species (especially pallid sturgeon) and local, regional,
and national significance of the resource.