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Water resources of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, west-central North Dakota

Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4098

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Abstract

Water resources of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in west-central North Dakota occur as ground water in bedrock and buried-valley aquifers and as surface water in streams and Lake Sakakawea. The bedrock aquifers-the Fox Hills-Hell Creek, Tongue River, and Sentinel Butte store about 93 million acre-feet of water under the Reservation. The Fox Hills-Hell Creek aquifer is composed mainly of very fine to medium-grained sandstone and stores about 51 million acrefeet of water. Water levels in the aquifer declined from 1976 through 1992. The Tongue River aquifer is composed mainly of claystones and siltstones and has widely distributed pockets of sandstone or lignite layers. The aquifer stores about 24 million acre-feet of water. The Sentinel Butte aquifer is composed mainly of interbedded claystones, siltstones, shale, lignite, and sandstone and stores about 18 million acre-feet of water. Yields from the lignite beds are highly variable. Water in the aquifers was predominantly a sodium bicarbonate type. Mean dissolved solids concentrations were 1,530 milligrams per liter in water from the Fox Hills-Hell Creek aquifer, 2,110 milligrams per liter in water from the Tongue River aquifer, and 1,300 milligrams per liter in water from the Sentinel Butte aquifer.

The East Fork Shell Creek, Shell Creek, White Shield, New Town, and Sanish aquifers occur within buried valleys and store about 1,414,000 acre-feet of water. The East Fork Shell Creek and Shell Creek aquifers are composed of sand and gravel lenses that are surrounded by less permeable till. Water in the East Fork Shell Creek aquifer is a sodium sulfate bicarbonate type, and water in the Shell Creek aquifer is a sodium bicarbonate sulfate type. Mean dissolved-solids concentrations were 3,220 milligrams per liter in water from the East Fork Shell Creek aquifer and 1,470 milligrams per liter in water from the Shell Creek aquifer.

The White Shield aquifer is composed of very fine to coarse sand and fine to coarse gravel. Water in the aquifer varies from a sodium bicarbonate sulfate type to a mixed calcium magnesium sodium bicarbonate sulfate type. Mean dissolved-solids concentrations were 1,080 milligrams per liter in water from the eastern part of the aquifer and 1,430 milligrams per liter in water from the western part of the aquifer. Water levels in the western part of the aquifer rose during 1970-92.

The New Town aquifer is composed of lenticular deposits of sand and gravel. Water in the aquifer is a calcium sodium bicarbonate sulfate type and had a mean dissolved-solids concentration of 1,390 milligrams per liter. Data indicate a close correspondence between ground-water levels and lake stage of Lake Sakakawea, implying a hydraulic connection between the aquifer and the lake.

The Sanish aquifer is composed of sand, clayey sand, and thin gravels that are poorly cemented and highly permeable. Water in the aquifer is a mixed calcium magnesium bicarbonate sulfate type and had a mean dissolved-solids concentration of 1,350 milligrams per liter.

Major streams on the Reservation are Bear Den Creek, Shell Creek, East Fork Shell Creek, Deepwater Creek, Moccasin Creek, and Squaw Creek. Mean streamflow for Bear Den Creek for June 1966 through September 1992 was 6.72 cubic feet per second. Mean streamflow for Shell Creek for September 1965 through September 1981 was 12.9 cubic feet per second. Streamflow measurements for East Fork Shell Creek for April 1990 through June 1991 ranged from zero to 3.65 cubic feet per second, measurements for Deepwater Creek for April 1990 through May 1991 ranged from zero to 4.28 cubic feet per second, measurements for Moccasin Creek for April 1990 through September 1992 ranged from zero to 7.07 cubic feet per second, and measurements for Squaw Creek for April 1990 through September 1992 ranged from zero to 4.22 cubic feet per second.

Lake Sakakawea has a maximum surface area of 390,000 acres. The surface area is variable in relation to lake stage, which was unusually low during this study. The mean lake elevation for Lake Sakakawea for 1970-92 was 1,837.08 feet, and the mean lake elevation for 1990-92 was 1,821.14 feet.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water resources of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, west-central North Dakota
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
98-4098
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Dakota Water Science Center, North Dakota Water Science Center
Description:
v, 75 p.
Country:
United States
State:
North Dakota