A group of groundwater hydrologists from the MSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, ecologists from MSU Department of Entomology, and scientists and planners from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI), and the US Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) are teaming up to protect Michigan's groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

Visualizing subsurface geology and hydrology of fen sites in the groundwater modeling & visualization lab at MSU

The group is developing data-intensive computer models to enable scientists and planners at TNC and FWS to visualize the subsurface, understand the invisible, and quantify the complex regional groundwater flow systems at three valuable groundwater fen sites in Jackson County and Lenawee County. The study takes advantage of a sophisticated statewide hierarchical groundwater modeling system developed at Michigan State University - a system that is dynamically linked to data from Michigan's statewide Wellogic database, environmental site databases, and a network of statewide GIS databases including high resolution national hydrography datasets (NHD) and the digital elevation model (DEM).

The models will be applied to delineate contributing recharge areas to the groundwater fens and identify dominant factors controlling seepage fluxes at the sites. The longer term goal of the project is to develop a high fidelity modeling system that is accurate at both the regional and local scales, enabling TNC and FWS to evaluate in detail and holistically their management practices and develop scientifically sound approaches, both hydrologically and ecologically, in protecting Michigan's Mitchell's satyr.

The project participants include scientists from MSU, TNC, US FWS and MNFI.

From left to right: Doug Landis, Rodolfo Villegas, and Chris May showing the fen site management at their respective sites



Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
3546 Engineering Building, Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1226
Phone: (517) 355-5107; Fax: (517) 432-1827