UW Extension

Springs Detective

Grace GrahamGrace Graham is an Associate Research Specialist at the Survey working on a statewide inventory of springs in Wisconsin. She will be working on this project for the next two years—until July 2017.

Ms. Graham has a BS in Environmental Geology from Beloit College. She calls herself a springs detective. Grace sifts through the Survey’s database of historical records showing where springs were found before, and follows up with phone calls and field visits. This inventory project is committed to mapping large springs, ones discharging over 110 gallons of water a minute.

Grace enjoys the routine quality of collecting field data, while always exploring and interpreting new places. At each spring, she takes a GPS position, sketches the site, measures flow rate, pH, conductivity, and temperature, takes a few photos, and describes the geomorphology of the spring area. This information is being compiled into an online map database–photos and site sketches will be attached to each spring point.

The DNR is responsible for evaluating the environmental impact a new high-capacity well might have on Wisconsin water resources–that includes evaluating the potential impact on springs. As permit applications for high capacity wells are being submitted, the data being compiled from the springs inventory project may be used during this reviewing process. The first step in assessing the potential impact on a spring is knowing where the spring is, and then understanding what geologic and hydrologic conditions control it.

Learn more about Wisconsin springs