The rock formations of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument area are aquifers that can be expected to yield less than 10 gallons of water per minute to wells. The most permeable of the geologic units is the alluvium that occurs at low elevations along the John Day River and most of the smaller streams. Wells in the alluvial deposits can be expected to yield adequate water supplies for recreational areas; also, wells completed in the underlying bedrock at depths ranging from 50 to 200 feet could yield as much as 10 gallons per minute. Pumping tests on two unused wells indicated yields of 8 gallons per minute and 2 gallons per minute. Nine of the ten springs measured in and near the monument area in late August of 1978 were flowing 0.2 to 30 gallons per minute. Only the Cant Ranch spring and the Johnny Kirk Spring near the Sheep Rock unit had flows exceeding 6 gallons per minute. Chemical analyses of selected constituents of the ground water indicated generally low concentrations of dissolved minerals. Although cloudbursts in the Painted Hills unit could generate a flood wave on the valley floors, flood danger can be reduced by locating recreational sites on high ground. The campground in Indian Canyon of the Clarno unit is vulnerable to cloudburst flooding. About 80 percent of the proposed campground on the John Day River in the Sheep Rock unit is above the estimated level of 1-percent chance flood (100-year flood) of the river. The 1-percent chance flood would extend about 120 feet from the riverbank into the upstream end of the campground. (USGS).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water availability and flood hazards in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon