|USGS South Dakota Water Science Center Publication|
By Joyce E. Williamson
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Scientific Investigations Report 2005–5267
Prepared in cooperation with Rosebud Sioux Tribe
The Little White River originates in Shannon County in southwestern South Dakota and flows through Bennett County before entering Todd County. The Little White River drains approximately one-half of Todd County before entering Mellette County where it flows into the White River. The portion of the Little White River downstream from Rosebud Creek is listed as impaired in the 2004 South Dakota Integrated Report for Surface Water Quality Assessment for suspended solids.
This report presents the results of water-quality and biological sampling during 2002 and 2003 as well as analysis of streamflow and suspended-sediment data. Water-quality concentrations collected during 2002 correspond closely with historical values, indicating that the water quality within the Little White River has not changed substantially over time. Fecal coliform concentrations tend to be high during and immediately after storm runoff events, especially for some tributaries to the Little White River including Sawmill Canyon, South Fork Ironwood Creek, and Soldier Creek.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe currently does not have approved beneficial uses and water-quality standards; however, the suspended-sediment concentrations in the Little White River within Todd County were greater than the current (2005) South Dakota standard for total suspended solids during most of the sampling period. Suspended-sediment concentrations increased from the sampling site at the Bennett/Todd County line, Little White River near Vetal, to the sampling site just upstream from Rosebud Creek, Little White River above Rosebud. Downstream from the Little White River above Rosebud, concentrations tended to be similar. Suspended-sediment concentrations exceed the current South Dakota standard for total suspended solids approximately 45 percent of the time near the Bennett/Todd County line to 82 percent of the time at the Todd/Mellette County line. This change in sediment concentrations corresponds with changes in the natural geology of the area as the stream flows through windblown sand deposits and outcrops of the Ogallala Formation.
Benthic macroinvertebrate sampling results were used to calculate a variety of metrics used as indicators of stream health. Metric results generally followed a pattern indicating decreases in stream health from the site near Vetal to the site above Rosebud and then increased stream health downstream near the Todd/Mellette County line.
Purpose and Scope
Description of the Study Area
Physiography, Land Use, and Climate
Data Collection and Water-Quality Standards
Sampling and Analysis Methods
Bacteria and Suspended Sediment
Fecal Coliform Bacteria
Simulated Flow and Sediment Transport
Williamson, J.E., 2005, Water-quality and biological characteristics of the Little White River and selected tributaries, Todd County, South Dakota, 2002–2003: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005–5267, 76 p.
This report is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.
Download the Report (PDF, 4.6MB).
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Send questions or comments about this report to the author, J.E. Williamson (605) 394-3219.
For more information about USGS activities in South Dakota, visit the USGS South Dakota Water Science Center home page.
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Last modified: Thursday, December 01 2016, 06:49:21 PM