Seeking solutions to groundwater contamination in agricultural communities: Strategic study of factors influencing contaminant transport from the land surface into aquifers

PI: Jill Coleman Wasik


Coleman Wasik is an associate professor in the Department of Plant and Earth Science at UW–River Falls. Her research interests include how human activity impacts the transport of nutrients and other contaminants through natural systems. The ultimate goal of her work is to understand how human activities benefit from natural processes while also lessening their impacts on natural systems.

Groundwater contamination is a threat to dairy farms in Wisconsin for a variety of reasons. This project will study contaminant leaching and transport under different cropping and nutrient management practices. The goal is to develop precise land management recommendations for dairy farmers in western Wisconsin based on soil conditions and aquifer susceptibility. The work will leverage the close collaboration that has developed over the past two years between the Plant and Earth Science Department and the Western Wisconsin Conservation Council. The council provides cost-share funding for alternative cropping and nutrient management practices thus providing this project with a group of landholders interested in studying the benefits and consequences of different field management strategies. The research conducted will also provide preliminary data about regional aquifers that will be used to develop proposals for other funding sources.