CSGCC Projects


Groundwater Quality Gap Analysis

Project Purpose: Advancing the use of nitrate and neonicotinoid findings to inform groundwater protection and improvement strategies by counties.

Project Objectives:

  • Understand current groundwater conditions by evaluating existing data and reports
  • Identify areas where data exists and is missing, identify “hot spots”.
  • Develop a sampling strategy to collect water quality information across the counties in the Central Sands region.
  • Develop strategies to inform residents using private well water about the need for routine drinking water testing and what to do if water test results are unsafe for consumption.

Questions This Project Will Answer

  1. What data and tools on nitrate and neonicotinoids are available in the Central Sands Region?
  2. What do these tools and data tell us about the groundwater quality?
  3. Are the data and tools adequate to identify the most effective and strategic management options or is further data and work necessary?

Project Timeline

This is a timeline for the project. The project timeline is 14 months, so the project will be completed by November 2022. There will be opportunities for public involvement throughout the project.

More on the Groundwater Gap Analysis

In 2020, the CSGCC received funding from DATCP for this project. Much of the work will be done by the Counties. The grant funds were used to hire a post-doctoral research assistant to collect and compile existing data and research on nitrates and neonicotinoids in the Central Sands Region. This project is not an effort to collect any new data or provide recommendations on specific best management practices to address the issue. Rather this is an assessment of work that has already been done so that it can help us make better informed decisions moving forward. There has been lots of research completed over the past 30 years but that work has never been compiled or assessed at one time.

The result will be a centralized database of information and a bibliography of existing data that can be used to assess where there is sufficient data and where data may be missing. This analysis will help develop a greater understanding about what is known about groundwater quality in the Central Sands. This will help local managers decided where to best allocate resources for future sampling efforts. It will also give us an opportunity to develop strategies that help inform residents using private well water about the need for routine drinking water testing and what to do if water test results are unsafe for consumption. The project includes communication and public outreach opportunities and the development of communication strategies for the future.

Project Partners:

Funding for the project has been provided by the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

The Core Project Team

  • CSGCC Counties
  • Wisconsin Geologic and Natural History Survey (WGNHS)
  • UW-Madison and UW-Stevens Point Extension

In addition, an advisory committee for this project includes representatives from:

  • UW-Madison
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • US Geologic Survey (USGS)
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