Seeps and Springs

The south district of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (BICA) posseses a dry landscape and the abrupt scarp face of the Pryor Mountains. Springs that flow from between geologic strata or fractures from groundwater aquifers directly or indirectly provide the majority of surface water to this part of the park. However, BICA springs encompass less than 1% of the land area. It is no surprise that the rich cultural heritage of the region focused around these areas. Plant and insect populations thrive in spring ecosystems. By supporting the base of the food chain, springs indirectly support upland communities through energy transfer between trophic levels of the food web. These areas also provide essential habitat for transient species such as migratory birds, predators, and ungulates. Protecting BICA springs requires an in-depth understanding of their ecological character, controlling factors, and natural variability over space and time.   Updated 8/19/08