UW Extension

Reference Springs for Research

“Springs are an accessible representation of the groundwater. It’s easier to sample a spring than to install a groundwater monitoring well,” says Professor Sue Swanson.

Dr. Swanson is a Research Associate at University of Wisconsin – Extension’s Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey who is on sabbatical from Beloit College. She is kicking off the first year of a 3-year statewide study of Wisconsin’s springs with Ken Bradbury and Dave Hart, hydrogeologists at the Survey.

Sue will set field procedures for this county-by-county inventory and will select six to eight “reference springs” for long-term monitoring.  The reference springs will be representative of Wisconsin’s geologic and hydrologic regions. Those springs will be monitored intensively to establish a baseline of physical, chemical, and ecological factors.

“If we can establish a baseline by sampling twice a year, then we can monitor these springs less frequently, say every few years, and still have a long term record to assess the effects of changes in land use, climate, or groundwater pumping.,” said Dr. Swanson.

Sue Swanson

Sue Swanson is a Professor of Geology at Beloit College.