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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 over 30 years 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.

Deadline: October 30, 2020

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
Groundwater research projects funded during FY 2019
Title Investigators Contract period Funding agency
The impact of dissolved organic matter composition on the formation of disinfection byproducts in groundwater Christina Remucal, UW–Madison 7/1/18 – 6/30/20 UWS
Improving water and nitrogen use efficiency under changing weather variability in the Central Sands Christopher Kucharik, Matthew Ruark, UW–Madison 7/1/18 – 6/30/20 UWS
Dynamics of Arsenic concentration and speciation in Wisconsin private drinking water wells Shangping Xu, Yin Wang, UW–Milwaukee 7/1/18 – 6/30/20 UWS
Identification of naturally occurring fluoride and selected metals in northwestern Wisconsin groundwater Kelsey Prihoda, Thomas Markee, Christine Polkinghorne, UW–Superior 7/1/18 – 6/30/20 DNR
Geographic, hydrologic, and geochemical characterization of Ra contaminated groundwater in Wisconsin Matthew Ginder-Vogel, UW–Madison, Madeline Gotkowitz, UW–Extension, Florence Olson, DNR 7/1/18 – 6/30/20 DNR
Assessment of pesticide contamination in suburban drinking water wells in Southeastern Wisconsin Yin Wang, Shangping Xu, UW–Milwaukee 7/1/18 – 6/30/20 DATCP
Groundwater research projects funded during FY 2018
Title Investigators Contract period Funding agency
Linking groundwater and nutrients to monitor fen ecosystems using airborne imaging spectroscopy Eric Booth, Steven Loheide, David Bart, Philip Townsend, UW–Madison 7/1/17 – 6/30/19 UWS
Historic changes in groundwater use by trees in Wisconsin due to high-capacity groundwater pumping and climate variability Steven Loheide, UW–Madison 7/1/17 – 6/30/19 UWS
Mapping the base of the Cambrian aquifer through geophysical modeling of Precambrian topography, southern Wisconsin Esther Stewart, Madeline Gotkowitz, UW–Extension 7/1/17 – 6/30/18 UWS
New proxy-based hydrological reconstructions over the past five centuries in southwest Wisconsin Christopher Underwood, Evan Larson, UW–Platteville 7/1/17 – 6/30/19 UWS
Quantifying effects of crop rotation on nitrate loading using lysimetry and groundwater monitoring approaches Kevin Masarik, UW–Stevens Point 7/1/17 – 6/30/19 DNR
Multi-instrument stream surveys with continuous data for better groundwater/surface water understanding in Wisconsin Dave Hart, Susan Swanson, UW–Extension (WGNHS) 7/1/17 – 6/30/19 DNR
All groundwater research projects funded FY 1985 to FY 2019


Final reports

Information on specific projects is available:

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).

Example of GRAC-funded project on Microbial Source Tracking.

Report to the legislature