UW Extension

Groundwater and stream flow in the Little Plover River


Professor Ken Bradbury, Assistant Director for Science at the Survey, is part of the team that is developing a state-of-the-art groundwater model for the Little Plover River.

The Little Plover River has been studied before. Why are we studying it again?

Maribeth Kniffin, a research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey says, “Groundwater use in the area has increased significantly and the Little Plover River is fed mostly by groundwater. We are creating a computer model to quantify the impact of all of the factors that affect the water resources of this area.”

Ms. Kniffin is helping to prepare that model as part of her PhD work at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

In the vicinity of the Little Plover River, the number of high capacity wells is increasing and land use and climate are changing. All of these things can affect water levels above and below ground. Managing our water resources requires us to understand which factors have the most impact, as well as which factors we can control. A detailed water budget and a comprehensive model are the tools we need to address these issues. The model is being developed in collaboration with a team of researchers at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Like a bank balance, a water budget includes deposits and withdrawals, and a groundwater model provides the accounting for that budget,” says Professor Ken Bradbury, Assistant Director for Science at the Survey.

The Little Plover River groundwater model will provide a tool for the science-based decisions needed to resolve water conflicts in the area. Dr. Bradbury will advise Ms. Kniffin as she develops the groundwater model.

For more information, go to http://fyi.uwex.edu/littleplovermodel/ or contact:

Maribeth Kniffin at kniffin@wisc.edu or Ken Bradbury at ken.bradbury@wgnhs.uwex.edu


Maribeth Kniffin is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.