Coal-bed methane exploration and production have begun within the Tongue River watershed in southeastern Montana. The development of coal-bed methane requires production of large volumes of ground water, some of which may be discharged to streams, potentially increasing stream discharge and sediment load. Changes in stream discharge or sediment load may result in changes to channel morphology through changes in erosion and vegetation. These changes might be subtle and difficult to detect without baseline data that indicate stream-channel conditions before extensive coal-bed methane development began. In order to provide this baseline channel-morphology data, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, collected channel-morphology data in 2001-02 to document baseline conditions for several reaches along the Tongue River and selected tributaries.
This report presents channel-morphology data for five sites on the mainstem Tongue River and four sites on its tributaries. Bankfull, water-surface, and thalweg elevations, channel sections, and streambed-particle sizes were measured along reaches near streamflow-gaging stations. At each site, the channel was classified using methods described by Rosgen. For six sites, bankfull discharge was determined from the stage- discharge relation at the gage for the stage corresponding to the bankfull elevation. For three sites, the step-backwater computer model HEC-RAS was used to estimate bankfull discharge. Recurrence intervals for the bankfull discharge also were estimated for eight of the nine sites. Channel-morphology data for each site are presented in maps, tables, graphs, and photographs.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Channel-morphology data for the Tongue River and selected tributaries, southeastern Montana, 2001-02
viii, 79 p. : ill. (some col.), col. maps ; 28 cm.