26th Annual and Wisconsin Ground Water Association (WGWA) Joint Meeting: Sustainability of Wisconsin's Water Resources

Meeting Information

March 7 - 8, 2002 at Chula Vista Southwest Theme Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

Meeting Highlights

Over 150 people attended this year's AWRA Wisconsin Section Meeting held jointly with the Wisconsin Groundwater Association (WGWA) in the Wisconsin Dells. Highlights of the meeting included:

The complete meeting program along with abstracts is available on the Water Resources Institute (WRI) web site. Thanks to Dave Lindorff and Laura Chern of the Wisconsin DNR for their excellent work as local arrangement co-chairs, and Elisabeth Harrahy and John Panuska for assistance with the technical program.

New officers were elected, including Rick Stoll of the WDNR Northeast Region as President-Elect, Mike Penn of UW-Platteville as Vice-President, Jim Krohelski of the USGS as Treasurer, and Chris Carlson of WDNR Bureau of Waste Management as a Director-at-Large. See Officers page for contact information. David Ozsvath of UW Stevens Point assumed the role of President for 2002-2003.

Distinguished Service Award

Wisconsin AWRA's third Distinguished Service Award was presented to David E. Lindorff, hydrogeologist and Wellhead Protection Team leader with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The AWRA Board established this award in 2000 to "recognize individuals or groups affiliated with the section who have made exceptional contributions to enhance the quality of water resources in Wisconsin".

Dave has been very involved in the Section serving as treasurer for two consecutive terms (1994 through 1998). During his tenure the organization actually made money (!). Dave has also been local arrangements chair for three state meetings including 2002. In addition to being active in AWRA, Dave has been involved in organizing the Midwest Groundwater Conference.

Dave has worked as a hydrogeologist in Wisconsin since joining the DNR in 1980. He has worked in the Solid and Hazardous Waste program and the Groundwater section. While his accomplishments are many, it is his total commitment to the resource that has always impressed those who have worked with Dave. Some highlights and publications from Dave's career include:

Dave is also a person who works hard at keeping other agencies and organizations working together toward the common goal of protecting Wisconsin's water resources. An example of this is the time he has spent working with UW Extension on workshops for senior and junior high school teachers. Teachers are provided a free groundwater "sand tank"; model and training by DNR and Extension staff, supported by funds from the Wellhead Protection program.

From his nomination letter: In the office, Dave is the person we ask if we need a 'quick review' of a document or if we don't know the history behind past legislative or department decisions. I hope that you will consider Dave for this award as I think he exemplifies someone whom is dedicated to protecting and enhancing Wisconsin's Buried Treasure. Way to go, Dave!

Student Presentation Award Winners

Students were well represented during the meeting, with a total of 14 oral presentations and 7 poster presentations out of about 60 attending. Thanks to the generosity of WGWA, we were able to recognize four student award winners for this year. Each of them received $50 for their efforts, a token sum to be sure, but nevertheless well deserved. Thanks to all of our poster judges and platform judges for their difficult task of choosing the award winners.

Poster Award Winner

Soo Hong Min, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW-Madison for Mechanisms of Cadmium Removal by Base Treated Juniper Fiber

Lignocellulosic fibers have been examined for potential use as inexpensive heavy metal removal sorbents. However, their sorption capacities are relatively low. Due to this drawback, chemical modifications have been performed to some lignocellulosic fibers. In this study, juniper, Juniperus monosperma, was chosen as an appropriate cadmium sorbent to conduct chemical modification because of their inexpensiveness and high metal sorption capacity.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of chemical modification on cadmium sorption and the viability of base treated juniper fiber (BTJF) as a sorbent for the removal of cadmium from water. The effect of initial cadmium ion concentration, agitation time, and pH on sorption by base treated juniper fiber (BTJF) was investigated in batch experimental studies. The equilibrium and kinetics data were interpreted.

The equilibrium sorption data were better represented by the Langmuir model than by the Freundlich model. Despite decrease in specific surface area from 0.2864 to 0.2450 m2/g, cadmium sorption capacity was greatly improved from 7.75 mg/L to 21.1 mg/L after base treatment. These results suggested that the monolayer sorption, due to ion exchange, would not be disturbed by reactions between sorbed cadmium. A pseudo-second order rate equation describing the kinetics of cadmium onto BTJF at different initial cadmium concentrations were also studied. The rate constant, the equilibrium sorption capacity, and the initial sorption rate were determined. From these parameters, an empirical model for predicting the sorption capacity of cadmium was derived.

Platform Award Winner

Paul F. Juckem, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, UW-Madison for Conceptual Groundwater Model of the Coon Creek Watershed, Wisconsin;


Driftless Area hydrogeology is controlled by high relief and layered rock where sandstone and carbonate aquifers are separated by confining units. Aquifers are well connected to surface water, with groundwater contributing nearly three fourths of the total stream flow in the region. Previous studies in the Driftless Area have documented a reduction in flood magnitude and an increase in baseflow since the early 1900s, indicating that the properties that control the distribution of flow between surface and groundwater have been modified. An improved understanding of the flow system has emerged as part of a larger goal to investigate the effects of land management change on hydrologic trends in the Coon Creek Watershed.

A conceptual model for the Coon Creek Watershed was developed based upon field data and refined after model calibration. Infiltration measurements show that agriculturally active areas have reduced infiltration rates, and infiltration rates on hill slopes are consistently higher than infiltration rates on ridge tops and valley bottoms. Streamflow data demonstrate that tributaries that originate at relatively higher elevations tend to have more baseflow per area than tributaries that originate below a key confining layer. The water level in a ridge top well that is open to several aquifers is nearly 500 ft below land surface, yet cascading water from upper formations can be heard in the open hole and is evident in geophysical logs of the well. The conceptual model for groundwater flow in Coon Valley may be applicable to the rest of the Driftless Area, and knowledge gained by investigating the effects of land management change may be relevant to agriculturally dominated regions throughout Wisconsin.

Poster Award Winner

Dawn M. Chapel, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin - Madison for Hydrogeology of LaCrosse County, Wisconsin


Understanding the hydrogeology of the Driftless Area in southwest Wisconsin is critical for groundwater protection and management in the area. A steep topography of ridges and valleys composed of alternating layers of sandstone, shale, and dolomite contributes to the complexity of the area. As part of the Wisconsin Source Water Protection Program (SWAP) for La Crosse County, we are attempting to understand these complexities.

In La Crosse County, ridges rise approximately 500 feet above the valley bottoms and are composed of multiple sandstone aquifers separated by finer-grained aquitards. Data collected for water-table and potentiometric maps for the county, along with geophysical and flow-meter logging of one ridge-top test well and two valley-bottom flowing wells, indicate strong downward hydraulic gradients along ridges and strong upward gradients in valleys. Water-level elevations of groundwater range from 1150 feet (asl) along ridges to 630 feet (asl) along the Mississippi River valley. On the ridges, downward vertical gradients between aquifers range from 0.20 ft/ft to 1.40 ft/ft. Such steep vertical gradients suggest that some of the uppermost sandstone aquifers may contain permanently or seasonally perched groundwater systems.

One 800-foot deep ridge-top test well was drilled through multiple sandstone aquifers. In this well, water stands at about 500 feet below the land surface. However, water continues to cascade down the borehole up to 200 feet above this point, suggesting that overlying formations are saturated. Saturation of these formations is also indicated by the numerous springs originating near upper tributary streams; the springs appear to be located at aquifer/aquitard contacts.

Geophysical logging of flowing wells in the towns of Stoddard and Chaseburg indicate strong upward gradients. The Stoddard flowing well is 375 feet deep and cased to the bottom of the borehole and flows at the land surface at approximately 7 gpm. Other flowing wells throughout the Coon Creek valley, Kickapoo River valley, and along the Mississippi River valley suggest that groundwater discharge is an important component of flow in local streams of the Driftless Area.

Understanding the nature of such strong groundwater vertical gradients in the Driftless Area will help us to better delineate areas of groundwater and surface-water contribution for municipal wells in La Crosse County as part of the Wisconsin SWAP project.

Platform Award Winner

Jeff Stelzer, College of Natural Resources, UW - Stevens Point for Effect of Lake Drawdown on Shallow Groundwater Flow and Chemistry in Tri-Lakes, Adams County, Wisconsin


The Tri-Lakes are a series of impoundments in Central Wisconsin that were developed in the 1970's for recreational purposes. Shortly after development, the residents perceived that there were problem levels of aquatic plant and algae growth within the lakes. A watershed level study was initiated to investigate various nutrient sources that may be stimulating vegetative growth including surface water inflow, groundwater, and existing sediment release. This portion of the study focused on the physical and chemical characteristics of groundwater flowing in and out of the lake systems.

Groundwater studies took place during both full and drawn-down reservoir levels. The primary objectives of this study were to: 1) Estimate groundwater, nutrient, and water budgets; and: 2) Compare groundwater inflow and outflow patterns.

The alternating cycles of fall draw-down and refill in the spring results in episodic recharge of groundwater by lake water and vice versa. This draw-down is also affecting nutrient loading to the lake system as nutrients are released from anaerobic lake sediments. This situation is widespread among the lakes due to organic soils being buried during lake construction. In addition, nutrients from agriculture, septic, and lawn fertilizers may enter the lake system when groundwater flow to the lakes is induced by draw-down. Reactive phosphorus and ammonium concentrations in groundwater peaked at 2.1 mg/L and 43.6 mg/L, respectively, indicating that the transport of nutrients to the lakes may be significant.