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April 21, 2022

Media and the public are invited to a free meeting about critical South Dakota-area water issues on Thursday, April 27, in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The 20th 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 key water resources in South Dakota and the surrounding area. The 2022 program is available on the conference website.

WHAT:  The 20th annual Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference consists of four technical sessions, a luncheon panel featuring four personal stories from the 1972 Black Hills flood and a poster session with an evening social.

WHERE:  The Monument (Alpine and Ponderosa rooms)
                444 Mount Rushmore Road, Rapid City, South Dakota (map)

WHEN:  Conference: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27
              Poster session and evening social: 5–5:30 p.m.              

DETAILS:  The conference is free for media, the public and students, with an optional \$20 lunch. The professional registration fee is \$75. 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 first session will include a series of talks to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1972 Black Hills flood. Speakers include Keith Sherburn from the National Weather Service, Perry Rahn from South Dakota Mines, Mark Anderson from the U.S. Geological Survey (emeritus) and South Dakota Mines and Dan Driscoll formerly from the USGS. These presentations will describe the weather conditions that preceded the storm events, the destruction caused by the flood, how the Rapid City landscape and greenway changed as a result and how the 1972 flood compares to other historical flood events in the region.  

Other speakers for the conference include Tony Krause from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who will discuss local projects that reduce flood risk, Amber Lefers from AE2S who will present a floodplain risk assessment for the city of Keystone, Nancy Barth from the USGS who will discuss peak-flow frequency analyses, Jerry Wright from South Dakota Mines presenting on the value of water and Curt Betcher giving an overview of the Homestake water system.

The annual conference typically draws more than 300 attendees and is organized by the USGS, National Weather Service, RESPEC, South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, South Dakota Mines 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 and check them out on Twitter and Facebook.

Reptile Gardens area, between Rapid City and Keystone during the 1972 Black Hills Flood.