Industrial and commercial developments in western North Dakota potentially could affect the sources of water that contribute to wells, spring flow, and seeps within Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Without basic water resources data, accurately predicting the effects of water withdrawals and water quality concerns related to industrial and commercial developments near the park would be challenging. Water resources in the park include surface water and groundwater. The Little Missouri River and its tributaries cross all three Theodore Roosevelt National Park units and are the primary surface-water features in the park. Groundwater resources include well discharges, springs, and seeps. The geology and hydrogeology of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are defined by the surrounding Williston Basin. Four aquifers are sources of groundwater to the park: unconsolidated aquifers including alluvial systems, the upper Fort Union aquifer, the lower Fort Union aquifer, and the Fox Hills-lower Hell Creek aquifer.
Data used for wells, springs, seeps, and water quality in this report were compiled from the U.S.
Geological Survey National Water Information System or from the North Dakota State Water
Commission. An inventory of 16 wells was completed for sites within the boundaries of the park. In addition to well data, an inventory of 11 springs and seeps was completed. The groundwater-quality analysis had two objectives: (1) to characterize the groundwater chemistry in aquifers underlying the park and (2) to spatially map selected physical properties and chemical constituents of interest. Groundwater-quality data from the North Dakota State Water Commission were summarized, mapped, and used to characterize groundwater for each aquifer in the study area. Spatial concentration distribution maps were constructed for selected physical properties and chemical constituents using summary statistics and exceedances. Piper diagrams were used to classify and characterize groundwater for each aquifer.
Future research to help fill data gaps in water resources information for Theodore Roosevelt National Park, including recommendations from previous studies, consists of the following: (1) evaluating the variability in discharge from springs and seeps in comparison to changes in precipitation or other recharge sources, (2) evaluating flow control measures for flowing artesian wells, (3) completing a water rights review, and (4) performing routine water-quality monitoring for wells and springs.