Public invited to attend groundwater study open house

Results expected to benefit western Wisconsin counties

Contact Mike Parsen, mjparsen@wisc.edu, (608) 262-9419

The Chippewa County Dept. of Land Conservation and Forest Management will host an informational meeting with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to explain a five-year study being conducted to evaluate the impact of industrial sand mining and irrigated agriculture in western Chippewa County.

The open house and informational meeting will be held at the Bloomer Middle School on Tuesday evening, Feb. 26. Informational displays will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. A formal presentation will be provided by WGNHS and USGS research scientists from 7 to 9 p.m. with opportunities for questions. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The project has been developed in response to citizen concerns about the possible cumulative impacts of new sand mines and irrigation on local groundwater and stream levels.

Project partners include Chippewa County and a diverse group of stakeholders, including several industrial sand mining companies, the Wisconsin Farmers Union, Trout Unlimited, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and local citizen representatives.

“This study seeks to provide sound scientific information to support informed decision-making”, says Mike Parsen, hydrogeologist with the WGNHS. “The results will be of direct value to the public, mine operators, farmers and local units of government.”

The project’s goals include:

–Collecting hydrogeologic data to characterize the existing groundwater flow system.

–Building a pair of soil-water and groundwater flow models to evaluate the impacts of current and future water use on the hydrologic system.

–Using the soil-water and groundwater model results to explain how groundwater aquifers and connected streams are expected to respond to stressors such as drought, changes in landscape topography, and increased pumping rates.

–Provide results to project stakeholders and the public on a regular basis through informational presentations and a final report.

Results of the study will be shared as they become available on an annual basis, and are expected to benefit other areas of western Wisconsin with similar geology and sandstone deposits.

For full copy of the study proposal go to www.co.chippewa.wi.us/lcfm and click on the tab “Chippewa County Groundwater Study”.

For additional information, contact Mike Parsen, hydrogeologist with the WGNHS at mjparsen@wisc.edu, (608) 262-9419, or Paul Juckem, hydrologist with the USGS at pfjuckem@usgs.gov, (608) 821-3845.

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