Characterization of Groundwater Flow Processes in the Cedar Creek Watershed and the Cedarburg Bog in Southeastern Wisconsin

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Jackson P Graham, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, United States, Weon Shik Han, UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, United States, Daniel Feinstein, USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center, Middleton, WI, United States and David J Hart, Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States
The purpose of this study is to characterize the geology and groundwater flow of the bog as well as the surrounding area, notably the Cedar Creek Watershed, a HUC (Hydrologic Unit Code) 12 watershed. The watershed is approximately 330 km2, and borders the sub-continental divide separating the Mississippi River Basin from the Great Lakes Basin. The Cedar Creek watershed is composed of mostly agricultural and urban land with a significant stress of groundwater withdrawal for both irrigation and residential use. This watershed has importance due to the contribution to both the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan, and is integral in the study of regional groundwater flow of Southeastern Wisconsin. Furthermore, the Cedarburg Bog, located in the northeast corner of the Cedar Creek Watershed preserves diverse ecology and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Interior as a National Landmark. Groundwater is the primary driver for the diverse and unique ecology that is contained within the bog.

Within the Cedar Creek Watershed, well data and glacial geology maps (Mickelson and Syverson, 1997) were integrated to develop a 3-dimensional subsurface map and watershed-scale groundwater flow model using the LAK3 and the SFR2 package to simulate surface water-aquifer interactions. The model includes 10 zones of the glacial sediments and the weathered and consolidated Silurian Dolomite bedrock. The hydraulic conductivity and storage parameters were calibrated with 203 head targets using universal parameter estimation code (PEST). Then, a series of future climate scenarios, developed by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impact, were implemented to the USGS Soil-Water-Balance Code (SWB) to identify variations in recharge. The simulated recharge scenarios were adopted to predict the response of groundwater resources in the watershed and the Cedarburg Bog. Preliminary results produced from the MODFLOW model indicate the bog is acting as a recharge zone under current recharge conditions, approximately 12.7cm/year, with regional groundwater flow from the groundwater divide to Lake Michigan and a mean residual on calibration targets of 4.32m

Knowledge acquired from this investigation can be used to better inform local agencies of potential threats, as well as predict future changes within this groundwater system.