Grace Graham is an Associate Research Specialist at the Survey working on a statewide study of springs in Wisconsin. She completed work on the Wisconsin Springs Inventory in July 2017, and she is continuing work on springs with long-term monitoring of reference springs. The reference springs are representative of Wisconsin’s geologic and hydrologic regions. Grace is monitoring them intensively to establish a baseline of physical, chemical, and ecological factors.
Ms. Graham has a BS in Environmental Geology from Beloit College. She calls herself a springs detective. Grace sifted through the Survey’s database of historical records showing where springs were found before, and followed up with phone calls and field visits. This inventory project mapped 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 took a GPS position, sketched the site, measured flow rate, pH, conductivity, and temperature, took a few photos, and described the geomorphology of the spring area. This information has been compiled into an online map database–photos and site sketches have been 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 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.