RFG 2018 Conference


Interactive map of groundwater monitoring information in the United States

The National Ground-Water Monitoring Network compiles information from over 7,000 groundwater monitoring wells across the country, including Federal, State, and local groundwater monitoring networks. Although the image above only shows the contiguous United States, the interactive map also includes wells from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Water as One Resource

This course provides an overview of how groundwater and surface water interact, what the implications of these interactions on water resources are, and how water can be more effectively managed if an understanding of these interactions is incorporated.

State Responses to Induced Earthquakes

The surge in recent years of earthquake activity associated with some oil and gas operations, most notably in Oklahoma, has spurred a range of actions and responses from state geoscientists and regulators. States have taken measures to monitor these earthquakes and moderate the activities that may be causing them, particularly the deep underground injection of large volumes of wastewater. Many states with extensive oil and gas operations but little or no increased earthquake activity have also adopted practices to prevent and prepare for potential induced earthquakes in their area.

Estimated Annual Uranium Loads in the Arkansas River Entering Kansas 2012-2016

Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 3 (GMD3) requested that the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) estimate annual uranium loads in the Arkansas River entering Kansas and express the loads in pounds per year. The KGS estimated uranium loads for the last five years (2012-2016). The climatic conditions for these years ranged from drought (2012) to near normal (2013, 2014, and 2016) to slightly wet (2015) based on the 12-month December value of the Standardized Precipitation Index for the Arkansas River watershed in Colorado. Although the estimated uranium concentration for a year with lower flow is generally higher than for a year with greater flow, the relative differences in the average and median flows during 2012-2016 are greater than those for the uranium concentration among the years, thus the flow has a more important influence on the annual load. This suggests that higher flow years in the past, such as during the most recent high-flow period of 1995-2000 when average annual flows exceeded 300 ft3/sec, would have had substantially greater total uranium loads than for 2012-2016. However, some of those loads passed downstream out of the GMD3 area because the Arkansas River flows were great enough during most of 1995-2000 to sustain flow past Ford County. The flows entering Kansas during 2012-2016 remained within GMD3 and seeped into the alluvial and High Plains aquifers underlying the river channel or were diverted for irrigation in Kearny and Finney counties. Thus, the uranium accumulated in the aquifer groundwater, on sediments of the alluvial and High Plains aquifers, and in the soils underlying the ditch irrigated areas and other areas where groundwater used for irrigation has been affected by Arkansas River infiltration.

Equus Beds Groundwater Management District No. 2 Sustainability Assessment

The objective of this study was to assess the prospects for sustainability of the portions of the High Plains aquifer (HPA) in the Equus Beds Groundwater Management District No. 2 (GMD2) in south-central Kansas. For the purposes of this report, sustainability is defined as being achieved when spatially averaged water levels are stable with time, i.e. the average annual water-level change over an area is zero for a period of several years. Given the temporal variability in annual precipitation and groundwater use, there will be year-to-year rises and falls in spatially averaged water levels across GMD2. However, those changes will average out to zero over a period of several years if the aquifer is being pumped at a sustainable level. The specific purpose of this study was to determine the average annual water use that would produce stable areally averaged water levels over a given area.

High Plains Aquifer Index Well Program: 2016 Annual Report

This report provides a description of conditions as of late winter 2017. The report consists of (a) an update of the hydrographs for all of the index wells and for the expansion wells in the vicinity of the Scott and Thomas index wells (one well near the Scott index well and three wells in the vicinity of the Thomas index well); (b) an interpretation of the hydrographs from all of the index wells; (c) a discussion of the installation of the new index well in GMD4; (d) an update and interpretation of the hydrographs of the expansion wells in the vicinity of the Haskell index well; and (e) a discussion of climatic indices and radar precipitation data and their relationship to annual water-level changes at six of the wells and to water use in the vicinity of those wells.

Interactive map of hazardous waste cleanups in the United States

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides an interactive map of hazardous waste cleanups across the United States. The "Cleanups in My Community" map provides a huge amount of information on thousands of cleanups of many kinds. For every cleanup, users can access and download reports, assessments, compliance actions, and the EPA's assessment of the potential for any contaminated land to be used for renewable energy development.

2016 Critical Issues Forum: Addressing Changes in Regional Groundwater Resources: Lessons from the High Plains Aquifer

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Groundwater is often a "transboundary" resource, shared by many groups of people across town, county, state, and international boundaries. Changes in groundwater resources can create unique challenges requiring high levels of cooperation and innovation amongst stakeholder groups, from individuals to state and federal government.

The High Plains Aquifer (HPA), which spans eight states from South Dakota to Texas, is overlain by about 20 percent of the nation’s irrigated agricultural land, and provides about 30 percent of the groundwater used for irrigation in the country according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Work by the Kansas Geological Survey indicates that some parts of the aquifer are already effectively exhausted for agricultural purposes; some parts are estimated to have a lifespan of less than 25 years; and other areas remain generally unaffected (Buchanan et al., 2015).

The 2016 Critical Issues Forum was a 1-½ day meeting covering multiple aspects of groundwater depletion in the High Plains. Presentations covered the current state of the High Plains Aquifer and water usage from scientific, legal, regulatory, economic, and social perspectives. State-specific perspectives were provided from Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma, and a variety of issues were discussed surrounding communication, negotiation, policy, and the influence of climate change. Break-out sessions and participant discussions identified lessons learned and best practices from the High Plains Aquifer experience that might apply to other regions facing changes in the Earth system.

The Forum was hosted by the Payne Institute for Earth Resources at the Colorado School of Mines, and sponsored by the Geological Society of America, the National Ground Water Association, the American Institute of Professional Geologists, the National Association of State Boards of Geology, and the Association of American State Geologists.

For more information about the Forum, including the final report, please visit the 2016 Critical Issues Forum home page.

2016 Forum: Selected Footage

Interactive map of bioenergy potential across the United States

The U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework provides an interactive map of biomass production potential across the United States (at the time of writing, maps do not cover Alaska and Hawaii). The aim is to show how much biomass may be available for bioenergy production from the present day through to the year 2040.

Users can filter the map according to:


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