There are five primary river systems that directly affect the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation; they include the Cheyenne, Moreau, Missouri, Grand and Belle Fourche rivers. These rivers serve as drinking water sources for communities and private parties on and off the Reservation. There is a high possibility that heavy metal contamination may be present in some of these rivers from mining activities. The Special Project Clean Water 106 program works in conjunction with the Superfund Pilot Project and Core Grant obtaining and analyzing fish samples for mercury.
We are currently studying areas located along the Cheyenne River Basin, from the community of Bridger, SD to the mouth of the Cheyenne River (approximately 60 miles).; Sediment, water, fish tissue, macroinvertibrate, phytoplankton studies have shown there exists a mercury problem, as well as other heavy metals in these rivers and stock ponds on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The Tribe will continue to study these rivers and ponds to try to answer questions that have significant human health concerns for the people of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. One of the highlights of the Special Project Clean Water 106 program is to consult with local school systems, getting students interested in Environmental Science.
This allows students that are participating in the environmental sciences, to get limited field experience by helping the staff on current field studies. This proved to be a very successful project, with 15 students from area high schools participating in field studies from June to July of 2001. This is an ongoing project which we look forward to doing again in 2002.