Our Commitment

Water quality is of utmost importance to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Our 444,000-acre reservation sits within the Powder River Basin energy development boundary, the source of about 40% of US coal. A major coal-fired plant maintains numerous coal ash ponds only 14 miles from our reservation. One coal ash pond holds enough ash waste to fill more than 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, which are linked to the release of 43,000 gallons of contaminated water per day.

To protect our waterways and wetlands, we adopted initial water quality standards in 2013. We have adopted these standards to protect public health and welfare, enhance the quality of our waters, and serve the purposes of the Clean Water Act. By assessing and using regulatory controls, we are able to preserve, protect, and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the surface waters and wetlands of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

Our commitment to water quality has allowed us to help protect our waters from the coal mining and coalbed methane extraction that has torn up the land surrounding our reservation. In 2015, we adopted more stringent water standards to restrict how much salty water coalbed methane extraction companies could release into the nearby Tongue River, which serves as the eastern border of our reservation and flows to Montana from Wyoming. In 2023, we updated our Water Quality Standards to reflect current laws and standards.

Our Services

To monitor and protect our water quality, our water department provides the following services to the tribe:

  • Water quality surface water sampling and field data collection
  • Water quality standards Implementation and enforcement authorization by R8 USEPA and Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council.
  • Lame Deer Watershed Development Plan to improve flow domestic, recreational, and aquatic life
  • Water quality Data management, Ambient water quality systems
  • Water quality assessments and analysis to meet USEPA requirements
  • Non-Point Source Competitive Grant Implementation

NPSES Permit – LD Lagoon discharge, Field observations-Busby, Rabbit town, Muddy Cluster and Birney Systems.