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Public invited to Chippewa Co. groundwater study open house

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 March 18, 2014 to provide an update on the five-year study being conducted to evaluate the impact of industrial sand mining and irrigated agriculture 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 second year of the study, the researchers will discuss preliminary findings about the hydrogeologic system, along with information on pumping rates from high-capacity groundwater wells, and recharge estimates for the study area.

“We’re ready to provide an update to all stakeholders about the progress made over the past year,” says Mike Parsen, hydrogeologist with the WGNHS. “Once completed, study results will be of direct value to the public, mine operators, farmers, and local units of government.”

The event will be held at the Bloomer Middle School in the City of Bloomer, Wis. Informational displays will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. WGNHS and USGS research scientists will give a formal presentation from 7 to 9 p.m. with opportunities for questions. 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 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.

For a copy of the study proposal go to and click on the link “Chippewa County Groundwater Study.”

For additional information, contact Mike Parsen, hydrogeologist with the WGNHS at, (608) 262-9419, or Paul Juckem, hydrologist with the USGS at, (608) 821-3845.