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Hydrogeological Characterization of a Rural Watershed: Silver River, Baraga County, MI

Lefevre, Megan L., Gina M. France, and John S. Gierke
Aqua Terra Tech Enterprise, Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

Increasing interest in watershed management has occurred since passage of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1977. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) is actively acquiring baseline hydrological and water quality information for watersheds in the L’Anse Reservation in Baraga County, Michigan. CWA funds were obtained to characterize the Silver River watershed, which is part of the Lake Superior Basin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A cooperative agreement was established between KBIC and a student “enterprise” group at Michigan Technological University called Aqua Terra Tech (ATT). Aqua Terra Tech was tasked with characterizing the hydrogeological conditions in the watershed and with development of a computer model of the surface and subsurface hydrology.

Seasonal home water well levels, shallow seismic refraction, and bedrock outcrops were measured, recorded and mapped by the students to create a hydrogeological database. The database was created using ArcView™, and it is composed of cultural base layers imported from the Michigan Tiger Spatial database as well as layers created specifically for the project. The data are incorporated into a hydrological model using Groundwater Modeling Systems™ software. The coupling of the GIS database with the hydrological modeling is a relatively new approach for regional groundwater modeling. The characterization results provide KBIC planners with specific information on how water flows in the Silver River watershed. The KBIC planners will use the information for considering implications of current and future community development on water quality.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90031©2004 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, October 3-5, 2004