Public invited to Chippewa County groundwater study open house

Researchers to provide progress report

Contact Mike Parsen, michael.parsen@wgnhs.uwex.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) on April 20 to provide an update on the five-year study being conducted to evaluate the impact of industrial sand mining and irrigated agriculture on water resources in western Chippewa County.

The study began in the fall of 2012 in response to citizen concerns about the possible cumulative impacts of new sand mines and irrigation on local groundwater and stream levels.

Now in the fourth year of the study, the researchers will discuss progress in developing the groundwater flow model, as well as estimating recharge and groundwater pumping under current and future land use scenarios.

“We’ve made good progress over the past year and look forward to updating stakeholders about the groundwater modeling project for western Chippewa County,” says Mike Parsen, hydrogeologist with the WGNHS. “Once completed, the groundwater model will be of direct value to the public, mine operators, farmers, and local units of government in helping manage their water resources.”

The event will be held at the Bloomer Middle School in the City of Bloomer, Wis. WGNHS and USGS research scientists will give a formal presentation from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Attendees are invited to join the project team for an informal meet-and-greet following the presentation. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

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, and local citizen representatives.

The goals of the project are to:

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

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

–Use the soil-water and groundwater model results to explain how groundwater aquifers and connected streams are expected to respond to stress such as 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.

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

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

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