07/01/2021 - 03/01/2023
- Michael J. Parsen, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Division of Extension, UW-Madison
- Jennifer L. McNelly, Portage County Planning and Zoning Department
- Carla R. Romano, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Division of Extension, UW-Madison
- Nathan D. Sandwick, Division of Extension, UW-Madison
- Kenneth R. Bradbury, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Division of Extension, UW-Madison
- Lynn Markham, Center for Land Use Education, UW-Stevens Point
Background/Need: Nitrate and neonicotinoids are two types of pollutants that can be found in groundwater. Nitrate contamination can occur naturally or as a result of human activities such as agricultural practices and waste disposal. Neonicotinoids, on the other hand, are a type of pesticide that is widely used in agriculture to protect crops from insects. Both nitrate and neonicotinoids have been linked to negative impacts on the environment and human health. The Central Sands region of Wisconsin is an area with high susceptibility to groundwater contamination and a high percentage of land use devoted to agricultural procedures. Since many residents of the Central Sands rely on groundwater resources for their drinking water, it is a priority for federal and state agencies and local governments to assess the state of groundwater contamination and reduce the levels of nitrate and neonicotinoids in groundwater.
To better coordinate efforts, in 2018 six counties in the Central Sands region of Wisconsin (Adams, Juneau, Marquette, Portage, Waushara, and Wood) decided to form the Central Sands Groundwater County Collaborative (CSGCC). While nitrate and neonicotinoids data points have been continuously collected for decades in the CSGCC region, no compilation of such data has been ever attempted. Creating a comprehensive and accessible database will help stakeholders in decision-making for protecting both the environment and public health.
Objectives: The main objective of our work was to compile nitrate and neonicotinoids data collected in groundwater of the Central Sands region of Wisconsin in a unique GIS database. We also aimed to identify spatial and temporal gaps in the data and evaluate which factors are primarily affecting groundwater contamination in the area.