Our understanding of impacts on groundwater quantity and quality is informed by ongoing monitoring efforts. Portage County is involved in a number of different monitoring strategies that address different aspects of groundwater quality and quantity.
Groundwater Quantity Monitoring
USGS Hydrograph Wells
Located within and adjacent to Portage County are nine long-term groundwater level monitoring wells, referred to as "hydrograph wells". Portage County monitors three hydrograph wells. Tracking groundwater elevation over many years provides a way to understand the relative status of the water table across the County and provides a place to begin to understand the impacts of different types of development on groundwater resources over time.
Stream & Lake Level Monitoring
In 2015, the Portage County Planning and Zoning Department in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), worked to establish a citizen water level monitoring program that monthly monitors stream baseflow and lake levels at sites chosen by UW- Stevens Point, WDNR, and Portage County.
The purpose of the monitoring project is to increase the number of monitored water bodies and monitoring frequency through a low-cost effort by engaging the resources of trained volunteers. This data will help to show the current status of groundwater and surface water levels throughout the County in areas not previously monitored. This program has not only been implemented in Portage County but in five other counties in the central sands region including Waushara, Wood, Waupaca, Marquette, and Adams. All other counties have been collecting stream and lake levels since 2013 in the same exact manner as Portage County.
Monitoring efforts in Portage County would not be possible without the assistance of our many citizen volunteers! Our volunteers measure both lake levels and stream base flows at sites throughout the County on a monthly basis. Each volunteer is provided with training and the materials that they need.