Public Invitation: The Scoop on Western South Dakota’s Vital Water Resources

Release Date:

Media and the public are invited to attend a free meeting about South Dakota water issues on Thursday, April 19, in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The 16th annual Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference is an opportunity for reporters, scientists, students and community members to meet and exchange ideas, discuss issues and explore new science related to critical water resources in South Dakota. Four optional free field trips are also offered to conference attendees on Friday, April 20.

The invited luncheon keynote speaker for the John T. Loucks Distinguished Lecture is Jeff Crockett with the City of Rapid City, who will present on the Colorado Springs Utilities response to the Waldo Canyon Fire. Crockett is the superintendent of the Rapid City Water Division and previously worked in a similar position in Colorado Springs during the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012. The John T. Loucks Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by the West Dakota Water Development District.

Other invited speakers for the conference include Daniel Soeder from the Energy Resources Initiative at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, who will present on groundwater quality and fracking. James Rattling Leaf, Sr., from the Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance, and Alan Anderson, formerly from NOAA and the U.S. Forest Service, will present on the topic of climate change science.

WHAT:   The 16th annual Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference consists of four technical sessions, a poster session with an evening social, a luncheon keynote speaker and invited keynote presentations.

WHERE:   Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, 444 Mount Rushmore Road, Rapid City, South Dakota (map)

WHEN:     Conference: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19

                Poster session and evening social: 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19                 

DETAILS: The conference is free for media, the public and students, with an optional $20 lunch. The professional registration fee is $100. For professionals who wish to obtain credit for professional development, credits are available for technical sessions attended.

RSVP:      All attendees are asked to register by visiting the conference website or by contacting Galen Hoogestraat at 605-394-3264. Walk-ins on the day of the conference are also welcome.

The following optional, free field seminars/field trips will be offered on April 20 to conference attendees:

  • Tour of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus and laboratories
  • Rapid Creek in-stream fish habitat improvement projects (Note: registration for this field trip is full)
  • Jewel Cave National Monument geology tour (Note: registration for this field trip is full)
  • Orchard Meadows Subdivision drainage improvements

The annual conference typically draws more than 300 attendees. The preliminary 2018 program is available on the conference website.

The conference is organized by the U.S. Geological Survey, National Weather Service, RESPEC, South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and West Dakota Water Development District.

For additional information about USGS water resources studies in South Dakota, visit the USGS Dakota Water Science Center website.