The Belle Fourche Project
The Belle Fourche Project contemplates the irrigation of the semi-arid valley adjacent to the rich Black Hills mining region. This valley is located in Butte and Meade Counties and comprises about 150,000 acres within the limits of the project. However, owing to the rolling character of the country, only about 100,000 acres of this land is irrigable. Of this irrigable land about 50,000 acres is public land, 45,000 acres in private ownership and about 5,000 acres is owned by the State of South Dakota. The soil consists of a sandy loam and a clayey loam locally known as Gumbo. The principal crops are alfalfa, small grains, vegetables, hardy fruits and native hay. It is anticipated that after irrigation is under way, the raising of sugar beets will form a very importance industry, as experts along this line have made experiments on the soil and found it to be excellent. The principal markets are Omaha, Sioux City, Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and the mining towns of the Black Hills region. The elevation of the lands under the project ranges from 2,600 to 3,000 feet above sea level....
An association of the owners of the private lands, known as the Belle Fourche Valley Water Users' Association, was organized June St., 1904, and incorporated under the laws of the State of South Dakota. It represents nearly all of the private land owners in the district. This association performs the functions usually undertaken by water users under the Reclamation Service.
Last Updated: April 7, 2011