Black Bear Creek Watershed Hydrologic Summary for the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma

Science Center Objects

The objectives of this project are to compile, summarize, and analyze available data and reports from the Pawnee Nation, the USGS, and other government agencies. The final report of the analysis will provide a comprehensive background document for geographic, hydrologic, and environmental features of the area and will identify gaps in available data that need to be filled for the Pawnee Nation to produce a comprehensive Tribal water management plan. In addition, the proposed project will include a small field data-collection component intended to fill a known gap in groundwater availability and quality data. 

The Pawnee Nation Tribal Jurisdictional Area consists of approximately 450 square miles in Pawnee County and Payne County in north-central Oklahoma (fig.1). The area is bounded by two major rivers (Arkansas and Cimarron), and is drained by several smaller streams. The largest of these streams is Black Bear Creek which originates in Garfield County and bisects the area before joining the Arkansas River. Parts of the area are underlain by principal aquifers, including the Arkansas alluvial/terrace aquifer and the Vamoosa-Ada bedrock aquifer. However, minor aquifers in the Pennsylvanian Oscar and Vanoss Groups provide most of the groundwater to the area. Water from major and minor aquifers is used for municipal, industrial, commercial, agricultural, and domestic supplies. Parts of the area have relatively shallow formations containing natural brine, as well as a long history of petroleum production; these factors may have impacts on the availability and quality of both surface-water and groundwater supplies. 

The Pawnee Nation wishes to have a comprehensive synopsis of previous reports and previously collected hydrologic and related data for their Tribal Jurisdictional Area. Such a synopsis, in the form of a written report, would include information from previous studies of streamflow, groundwater resources, watershed analyses, climatological characterizations, and well-log information. Various types of water-quantity and water-quality data have been collected in and upstream of the Pawnee Nation Tribal Jurisdictional Area, but gaps in those data may be caused by relatively few streamflow-gaging stations, uneven distribution of surface-water quality sampling sites, lack of surface-water-quality sampling at high-flow and low-flow conditions, and lack of a regularly measured and sampled groundwater network. This project will summarize existing water-use, climatic, geographic, hydrologic, and water-quality data and identify gaps in hydrologic data for this area.