Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
Image of checksLearn more about groundwaterIntegrate groundwater into your planFind data and policies in your areaBrowse other resourcesChecks About this web site


The purpose of this web site is to make Wisconsin groundwater information and data accessible and usable, thereby encouraging government officials and planners to incorporate groundwater into their comprehensive-planning processes. Comprehensive plans that adequately address the range of groundwater issues will play a very important role in protecting the groundwater resources of their communities and the state.

Web site organization and content

This web site is organized into the four sections that are at the upper left side of every page: learn, integrate, find, and browse.

The Learn section is to help you learn more about how groundwater is used in Wisconsin and what scientific researchers have found about how groundwater moves and how it can be contaminated. This section also provides links to a number of fact sheets about planning for groundwater, a recent report about many groundwater issues in Wisconsin, and a few key reports about the connections between land, groundwater, and lakes and streams.

The Integrate section is designed to help you integrate groundwater into your comprehensive plan. It includes groundwater-specific recommendations for five steps of the planning process:

  1. Review pre-planning actions
  2. Inventory groundwater data and analyze trends
  3. Develop groundwater goals, objectives, and policies
  4. Prioritize policies
  5. Decide how to monitor progress

Step 3, in particular, includes a number of key components to planning for groundwater:

  • Topics to consider under each of the nine comprehensive planning elements
  • Wisconsin's top 5 groundwater planning and policy recommendations
  • Examples of actions taken at the local level that protect groundwater

The Find section provides an executive summary and full report about groundwater in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties including:

  • Susceptibility of groundwater to pollutants
  • Sources of drinking water
  • Groundwater quantity
  • Groundwater quality
  • Potential sources of contaminants
  • Money spent on cleanup
  • Groundwater protection policies

The Browse section contains:

  • References for the footnotes in the text
  • Links to web resources for data and information
  • Links to groundwater programs at state and federal agencies
  • Links to assist in locating groundwater and planning expertise


Types and sources - This web site provides summaries of, and access to, data and information on geology, general hydrology, and groundwater quantity and quality generated by state, local, federal, and independent sources. The data and information take the form of maps, reports, databases, and web resources. All data are from publicly accessible sources. This web site also provides guidance in incorporating groundwater information into comprehensive plans, and presents case studies of municipalities that have worked hard to understand their groundwater resources and develop groundwater goals, objectives, and policies. For more information on these data sources and planning resources, please visit the Browse Section of this web site.

Disclaimer - This web site has been developed as an aid to government officials and planners in Wisconsin for addressing groundwater in their comprehensive plans. The information and data contained in this web site comes from many sources; the accuracy of the information and data can not be guaranteed by the developers of the web site. It is recommended that users of the information and data consult the source to ensure its accuracy. There is no assurance that funding will be provided to maintain this web site; users can have no expectation that information and data will be updated. Confirming the accuracy and applicability of the information and data provided here is the responsibility of those using it. This web site contains recommendations, suggestions, and opinions that do not necessarily reflect those of the government agencies whose data and information have been included.


AC Abandoned Container
BRRTS Bureau for Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System
CAFO Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation
CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
CLUE Center for Land Use Education
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
ERP Environmental Repair Program
GIS Geographic Information System
ICPM Integrated Crop and Pest Management
LBS/ACRE Pounds per acre
LUST Leaking Underground Storage Tank
MCL Maximum Contaminant Level
mg/L milligrams per liter
Mgal/d million gallons per day
NO3-N nitrate-nitrogen
PECFA Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award
NRCS Natural Resource Conservation Service
µg/L micrograms per liter
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
VOCs Volatile Organic Compounds
VPLE Voluntary Party Liability Exemption
WDATCP Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection
WDNR Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
WGNHS Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey
WPDES Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System
WRR Waste Reduction Resources
WRWA Wisconsin Rural Water Association

The team responsible for developing the web site Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning is made up of the following individuals:

Center for Land Use Education

U.S. Geological Survey
Wisconsin Water Science Center

Lynn Markham Charles Dunning
Christine Mechenich Anne Moser
Raquel Miskowski Jennifer Bruce
  Cheryl Buchwald
  Elizabeth Woodcock
  James Rauman


Funding - Funding for development of this web site comes from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin System through the Joint Solicitation for Groundwater Research & Monitoring of Wisconsin's Groundwater Coordinating Council. Additional funds were provided by the U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Water Program. Project support was provided by the UW-Extension Center for Land Use Education and the USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center.

Advisory panel - An advisory panel was formed early in this project to address groundwater in comprehensive planning. This panel has been consulted at critical points in the development and review of this web site. The authors express their deep appreciation for the involvement of the individuals on the panel in supporting this effort.

Jerry Braatz, UW-Extension
Kenneth Bradbury, UW-Extension, WGNHS
Nancy Eggleston, Wood County
David Hart, WGNHS
Dana Jensen, Vandewalle & Associates
Sally Kefer, WDNR
Tom Larson, Wisconsin Realtors Association
Pam Lazaris, Planning Service & Solutions
David Lindorff, WDNR
Peter Manley, UW-Extension
Kevin Masarik, Central Wisconsin Groundwater Center, UW-Stevens Point
Edward Morse, Wisconsin Rural Water Association
Dave Neuendorf, UW-Extension
Paul Ohlrogge, UW-Extension
Jim Vandenbrook, DATCP
Ray Schmidt, Portage County
Aaron Schuette, City of Green Bay
Larry Ward, Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
Bobbie Webster, UW-Stevens Point

Other assistance

The authors have received valuable assistance from other individuals including Jeffery Helmuth, David Johnson, and Timothy Asplund, WDNR ; Jeffery Postle and Bruce Rheineck, WDATCP; Madeline Gotkowitz, UW-Extension, WGNHS; and Cheryl Buchwald, USGS.

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For assistance concerning comprehensive planning, please contact Lynn Markham, UW-Stevens Point.
For assistance concerning groundwater, please contact Charles Dunning, USGS.
Page contact: Webmaster, USGS
Page last updated: January 14, 2007