The Prairie Dog Creek watershed begins approximately 15 miles south of Sheridan and flows north
to its confluence with the Tongue River near the Montana border. The watershed includes
approximately 236,000 acres. The major tributaries in this watershed are Meade, Jenks, Jim, SR,
Arkansas, Coutant, Wildcat and Dutch Creeks.
The Prairie Dog watershed supports irrigated as well as dryland agriculture, however, cattle
production is the primary agricultural industry in the watershed. In the 1880's three significant
trans-basin water diversions were built. These diversions were built to divert water from North
Piney Creek into the Prairie Dog watershed. While these diversions opened up thousands of acres
for irrigation, they have created an unnatural hydrologic condition. Because of the steepness of the
upper portion of the watershed, the diversions have created areas of significant erosion. Prairie Dog
Creek is currently on the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) "Needs to be Monitored"
list. This study was initiated during the summer of 2000, and will be completed in October of 2001.
While the project was underway, the 24 landowners in the Hidden Hills Subdivision proposed
looking at a water system. This subdivision is within the Prairie Dog Creek Watershed and an
additional 40 other homeowners are within the area. It was determined that the most efficient use
of funds would be to add this as a level I investigation to the ongoing watershed project. The first
option for a water supply would be to try to tie into the Sheridan area system. The second option
would be to look at a stand-alone system from local groundwater supplies.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The WWDC recommends that a supplemental amount of $35,000 be appropriated and added to the
$100,000, 2000 appropriation for the Prairie Dog Creek Watershed study to allow completion of the
proposed additional Level I work.