Wisconsin Groundwater Research and Monitoring Program
Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council
Wisconsin is recognized as a national leader in groundwater research, which is appropriate given how uniquely important this resource is for public health, the economy and the environment in this state. For example:
- Wisconsin leads the nation in the number of public water systems that rely on groundwater.
- Over 97% of agricultural irrigation water and more than one third of the water used for commercial and industrial purposes come from groundwater supplies.
- Many ecosystems in Wisconsin are strongly dependent on groundwater availability and groundwater quality.
Joint Solicitation for Groundwater Research and Monitoring Proposals
Wisconsin's reputation for groundwater research is largely due to the well-established joint solicitation process for groundwater research and monitoring projects. This approach streamlines proposal writing and the review process and improves communication among agencies and researchers. Discussions of some of the benefits derived from these projects and interagency collaboration are presented in the highlights of GCC-funded research section of the GCC Report to the Legislature.
The Joint Solicitation takes place annually. The call for proposals is sent to potential investigators in the fall and evaluation of proposals occurs until researchers are notified in spring. Work begins the following July 1.
- Groundwater research projects funded during FY 2024
Title Investigators Contract period Funding agency Impact of solar farms on groundwater recharge Steven P Loheide II (PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/23 - 6/30/25 DNR The role of water table fluctuations on PFAS mobility in groundwater Christopher Zahasky (PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/23 - 6/30/25 DNR Evaluation of the potential for arsenic release in two cones of depression in northeastern Wisconsin Erin Berns-Herrboldt (PI, UW-Green Bay) 7/1/23 - 6/30/24 DNR Long-term threat of geogenic contaminants to water quality and quantity in the Midwestern Cambrian Ordovician Aquifer System Matthew Ginder-Vogel (PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/23 - 6/30/25 UWS An experimental investigation on the leaching of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from contaminated soil Shangping Xu (PI, UW-Milwaukee), Yin Wang (Co-PI, UW-Milwaukee), Erin Berns-Herrboldt (Co-PI, UW-Green Bay) 7/1/23 - 6/30/25 UWS Risk from pathogens and exposure to antibiotic resistance genes in private wells in southwest WI Maureen Muldoon (PI, UW-Madison), Tucker Burch (AI, USDA), Joel Stokdyk (AI, USGS), Joe Bonnell (AI, UW-Madison) 7/1/23 - 6/30/25 UWS Understanding the quality and rate of recharge on uncultivated landscapes under natural and enhanced conditions Michael Cardiff (PI, UW-Madison), David J. Hart (Co-PI, WGNHS) 7/1/23 - 6/30/25 DATCP
- Groundwater research projects funded during FY 2023
Title Investigators Contract period Funding agency Biomanipulation of groundwater flooding Loheide, Steven, UW-Madison; Potter, Kenneth (Co-PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/22 - 6/30/24 UWS Aligning the Wisconsin Idea on water: Interpreting public perspectives and values Cardiff, Michael, UW-Madison; Genskow, Ken (Co-PI, UW-Madison); Shaw, Bret (Co-PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/22 - 6/30/24 UWS Characterization of disperse PFAS sources to groundwater using targeted and non-targeted analyses Remucal, Christina, UW-Madison; Shafer, Martin (Co-PI, WSLH and UW-Madison) 7/1/22 - 6/30/24 DNR Characterization of PFAS leachability from metal shredder residue Hicks, Andrea, UW-Madison 7/1/22 - 6/30/24 DNR Neonicotinoid groundwater leaching potential from potato and management impacts at field scale Arriaga, Francisco, UW-Madison; Ginder-Vogel, Matthew (Co-PI, UW-Madison), Siemering, Geoffrey (Co-PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/22 - 6/30/24 DATCP
- Groundwater research projects funded during FY 2022
Title Investigators Contract period Funding agency Impact of injectable particulate carbon on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) transport in groundwater Xu, Shangping, UW-Milwaukee; Yin Wang, (Co-PI, UW-Milwaukee) 7/1/21 - 6/30/23 DNR On-farm research and local partnership to reduce nitrate loading from agriculture in Pepin County Radatz, Amber, UW-Madison; Matt Ruark, (Co-PI, UW-Madison), Eric Cooley (AI, UW-Madison Division of Extension) 7/1/21 - 6/30/23 DATCP Advancing the use of nitrate findings to inform groundwater protection and improvement strategies Turyk, Nancy, UW-Madison Division of Extension; Jennifer McNelly, (Co-PI, Portage County) 7/1/21 - 6/30/22 DATCP Measurement of bacterial transport and immobilization in variably saturated geologic materials of WI Zahasky, Christopher, UW-Madison; Eric Roden (Co-PI, UW-Madison), Vy Le (AI, UW-Madison) 7/1/21 - 6/30/23 UWS Data-driven groundwater depth and risk forecasting in the Central Sands region of WI for sustainable management Huang, Jingyi, UW-Madison; Ankur Desai (Co-PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/21 - 6/30/23 UWS Assessment of biochar application to reduce nitrate leaching through agricultural vegetative treatment areas Sanford, Joseph, UW-Platteville 7/1/21-6/30/23 UWS
- Groundwater research projects funded during FY 2021
Title Investigators Contract period Funding agency Investigation of PFAS adsorption by selected Wisconsin aquifer sediments Yin Wang, UW-Milwaukee; Shangping Xu (Co-PI, UW-Milwaukee) 7/1/20-6/30/22 DNR Geophysics-informed transport and shallow bedrock topography in Northeast and Southcentral Counties in Wisconsin Dante Fratta, UW-Madison; David Hart (Co-PI, UW-Madison), Michael Cardiff (Co-PI, UW-Madison), Francisco Arriaga (Co-PI, UW-Madison), Jingyi Huang (Co-PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/20-6/30/22 DATCP, DNR Neonicotinoid contaminants in Wisconsin groundwater: relationships to landscape cropping system Russell Groves, UW-Madison; David Hart (Co-PI, UW-Madison), Michael Parsen (Co-PI, UW-Madison), Benjamin Bradford (AI, UW-Madison) 7/1/20-6/30/22 DATCP Investigating in-season cover crops for reducing nitrate loss to groundwater below potatoes Kevin Masarik, UW-Stevens Point; Jacob Prater (Co-PI, UW-Stevens Point) 7/1/20-6/30/22 UWS Valuing groundwater quality: A cost function analysis of Wisconsin water utilities James Price, UW-Milwaukee 7/1/20-6/30/22 UWS Source to sink evaluation of phosphorus in the hydrologic system in Wisconsin: Implications for lake eutrophication Sarah Vitale, UW-Eau Claire; Anna Baker (Co-PI, USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center), J. Brian Mahoney (Co-PI, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) 7/1/20-6/30/21 UWS Correlating bedrock folds and fractures to arsenic detection in drinking water, southeast Wisconsin Eric Stewart, UW-Madison; Esther Stewart (Co-PI, UW-Madison) 7/1/20-6/30/21 UWS Investigating sources of salinity associated with Ra and Sr in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system of eastern WI Matthew Ginder Vogel, UW-Madison; Patrick Gorski (Co-PI, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene), Sean Scott (AI, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene) 7/1/20-6/30/22 UWS
- Groundwater research projects funded during FY 2020
Title Investigators Contract period Funding agency Characterization of the geology and hydrogeology of the Rountree Formation in southwestern Wisconsin Eric C. Carson, UW-Madison/WGNHS 7/1/19 – 6/30/21 DNR Water security in Armenia, WI: Modeling for informed decision-making in a nitrate-impacted watershed Michael Cardiff, UW-Madison; Stephanie DeVries, WGNHS 7/1/19 – 6/30/21 DNR Impact of changing snow cover and frozen ground regimes on groundwater recharge Steven P. Loheide, UW-Madison 7/1/19 – 6/30/21 UWS Microbially-mediated oxidation of trace element-bearing sulfide minerals in sandstones of Trempealeau County, WI Eric Roden, UW-Madison; Matthew Ginder-Vogel, UW-Madison; James Zambito, Beloit College; Lisa Haas, UW-Madison 7/1/19 – 6/30/21 UWS Assessment of the source and mobility of phosphorus in the hydrologic system in western Wisconsin Sarah A. Vitale, UW-Eau Claire; J. Brian Mahoney, UW-Eau Claire; Anna C. Baker, USGS 7/1/19 – 6/30/20 DNR Integrative monitoring of neonicotinoid insecticides in baseflow-dominated streams on the Central Sand Plain William M. DeVita, UW-Stevens Point 7/1/19 – 6/30/21 DATCP Sublethal effects of chronic exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides on aquatic organisms Tisha King-Heiden, UW-La Crosse; Elisabeth Harrahy, UW-Whitewater 7/1/19 – 6/30/21 DATCP Aerial thermal imaging applied to Wisconsin 's groundwater, springs, thin soils, and slopes David J. Hart, UW-Madison/WGNHS; Susan K. Swanson, Beloit College; J. Elmo Rawling, UW-Madison/WGNHS 7/1/19 – 6/30/20 UWS, DATCP
- All groundwater research projects funded FY 1985 to FY 2024
Information on specific projects is available:
- UW Water Resources Institute searchable repository - final reports for projects funded by various state programs.
- UW Madison searchable database - project abstracts and final reports.
Funding sources and purposes of monitoring or research
UWS Groundwater Research
The UWS, through its UW–Madison Water Resources Institute (WRI), has received funding since FY 90 for groundwater research. Projects may be of a fundamental or applied nature on selected aspects of groundwater research in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences or law. Projects have been co–funded with DNR, Commerce, DATCP and the National Institutes for Water Resources program (US Geological Survey).
DNR Groundwater Monitoring and Research
The DNR has been funding groundwater “management practice monitoring” projects since FY 86. The intent of these studies, funded through the Groundwater Account of the Environmental Fund, was to identify appropriate management practices to reduce the impacts of potential sources of contamination. In recent years, the DNR has used funds from alternative state and federal sources, and has targeted funds at specific issues of concern, including arsenic, emerging contaminants (viruses, antibiotics) and groundwater quantity. Several of these projects have been co–funded with DATCP, Commerce and/or UWS.
DATCP Pesticide Research
From 1989 to 2002, DATCP funded research on pesticide issues of regulatory importance. This funding came from fees paid by pesticide manufacturers to sell products in Wisconsin. Several of these projects have been co–funded with DNR and/or UWS. Starting in FY 03, these funds have not been available for new research.
DSPS Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Research
While part of the Department of Industry, Labor, and Human Relations (DIHLR), the Division of Safety & Buildings received an appropriation from 1990 to 1993 to fund research on alternatives to current private sewage–system technology. In 1994, when the appropriation expired, the division continued the program with funding generated through plan review and licensing fees under the Department of Commerce through 2002. In total, eight projects were funded. Two projects were co–funded with DNR and UWS. The division is now part of the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).