IN-KY Summer 2017 Newsletter

Release Date:

Highlights of the USGS activities and water-related science going on at the Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center and some of our amazing scientists that work for the USGS. 

SAVE THE DATE.....The IN-KY WSC Annual Cooperators and Science Showcase will be October 24 in Indianapolis and October 26 in Louisville.  Please plan to attend.

IN-KY Newsletter, Summer 2017 edition [PDF version]

USGS’s FY2018 Budget
Just thought I would give you an update on our proposed budget for FY18. The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request provides $922 million for USGS, a reduction of $163 million, or 15%, from our FY 2017 enacted level. The budget proposal reflects the new Administration’s commitment to reducing the size of the Federal Government and increasing efficiency to support national objectives and priorities. The budget proposal underscores a continuing commitment to our core mission that aligns with Administration priorities and focuses on conducting leading-edge research and providing impartial scientific data to stakeholders and decision-makers that promotes national health, safety, and prosperity. Scientific integrity is the USGS cornerstone, and we will maintain our commitment to excellence as we explore more efficient ways to do business. We will continue to work with our stakeholders and Congress to highlight the role USGS science plays in addressing a wide range of policy issues. It is important that we continue to educate policymakers about our mission and capabilities as they make decisions about the allocation of scarce resources. Funding reductions across the spectrum of our federal partners will very likely reduce reimbursable dollars the USGS receives.

 

USGS Funding History Graph
Funding History: Declining Buying Power

 

The graph (to the left) shows the loss of buying power USGS funding has in present dollars and that our proposed budget is back to FY2002 levels. The USGS will continue to conduct studies and assessments for our Nation’s energy, minerals, water resources, natural hazards, and ecosystems to support economic growth, land and water stewardship, environmental protection, national security, and public safety.

 

 

 

 

Jeff Frey presenting Leslie Arihood the USGS Dallas Peck award
Jeff Frey, IN-KY Deputy Director presenting Les with his USGS award at the Indianapolis office

 

USGS Award Winner

Congratulations to former Indiana Water Science Center employee Leslie D. Arihood who was selected for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Dallas Peck Outstanding Scientist Emeritus Award. This award recognizes significant contributions to the USGS mission by an individual while volunteering as a Scientist Emeritus. Les was co-author on the USGS report: “Maps of hydrogeologic information created from standardized water-well drillers’ records of the glaciated United States”: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5105, 34 p.

 

 

 

Employee Spotlight

Angie Crain on the Mississippi River
Angie Crain photo

 

Angie Crain is a Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center (IN-KY) in Louisville, KY. Angie began her professional career with the USGS in 1995 as a student intern in the Louisville Office working on water- quality projects. Since that time, she has served as principal investigator of many water-quality projects at the national, state, and local levels.

In 2004, she began serving as the Water-Quality Specialist for the Kentucky Office and currently serves as the IN-KY QW Specialist for both the Indiana and Kentucky Offices. She also served 2 years with the USGS Office of Water Quality as the Acting USGS Water Science Field Team—Water- Quality Specialist providing technical assistance to water-quality projects throughout the southeastern United States.

Angie received a B.S. degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from Purdue University, and a M.S. degree in Aquatic Biology from the University of Louisville. Besides work activities, she enjoys participating in Boy Scout/Cub Scout activities with her sons, reading, and spending time with her family.

 

 

Molly Lott - Field photo
Molly Lott photo

 

Molly Lott began working for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2011 as an student intern at the Murray, KY field office.  After graduating from Murray State University, with a degree in Environmental Geology, she accepted a full-time position as a Hydrologic Technician for the Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center (IN-KY) Louisville, KY office.

Molly is the Field Team Lead for four “Super Gage” sites, as well as two National Water Quality Network (NWQN) sites, --Wabash River at New Harmony, Indiana and Ohio River at Cannelton, Indiana. Additionally, Molly oversees the installation, operation, management and data collection for Kentucky’s Continuous Water Quality network. Molly has been involved in the collection of discrete and continuous Water Quality and Surface Water data for projects outside of the gaging network that has allowed her to gain a wide range of field experience. Although Molly’s career focus has taken an emphasis in water quality, one of the things she loves most about working for the USGS is the variety of work and new challenges it constantly brings.

Moving forward, Molly wants to continue to develop her leadership skills and knowledge of water quality and quantity issues through data interpretation. She also plans to help increase public knowledge of the USGS and the important work we do through public outreach, volunteering in the local community and environmental education.

 

Katrina Gelwick photo

 

Katrina Gelwick has been a Hydrologic Technician at the Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center (IN-KY), Indianapolis office since 2015.

Working in the Hydrologic Networks Section, she spends much of her time in the field gathering surface water data and maintaining Indiana’s world-class network of streamgages. During her time with IN-KY, she has been given many opportunities to expand her knowledge and skills in surface-water and groundwater monitoring and looks forward to learning more as her career advances.

Katrina Gelwick photo

Katrina began her career with the USGS in 2012 as an intern in the Volcano Hazards Program in Menlo Park, CA. Under the mentorship of Dr. Steve Ingebritsen, she participated in a monitoring campaign to gather long- term hydrothermal data at high-risk volcanoes throughout the Cascade Volcanic Arc. Her involvement in this project gave her invaluable experience in data management and analysis and introduced her to the joys of rigorous fieldwork. She wrapped up her internship in 2014 with her undergraduate thesis quantifying heat flow at California’s Medicine Lake Volcano.

After graduating, Katrina spent a year teaching students and supporting faculty in geographic information systems (GIS)-driven research at her alma mater, Oberlin College. From there, she found her way back to the USGS through the IN-KY Water Science Center, where she will be working until this summer.

Katrina will be relocating with her two cats in July 2017 to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania to begin her studies in a master's program in fluvial and tectonic geomorphology.

While she is sorry to be moving away from her IN-KY family, she is happy to be maintaining her personal ties with the Center and will continue to work remotely part-time as she completes her studies.

 

Dave Lampe has been a hydrologist in the Hydrologic Investigations Section at the Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center (IN-KY) since 2003. Dave is the Center’s National Water Information System (NWIS) Database administrator. He currently leads a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project that 

Dave Lampe at groundwater site

is evaluating the water budget of “green infrastructure” designed to reduce the amount of stormwater contributed to sewers in Gary, Indiana. He coordinates the collection, quality assurance and reporting of water  levels from the Indiana Volunteer Groundwater Monitoring Network in cooperation with partners at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Originally from the St. Louis metro east area, Dave attended Belleville Area College (now Southwestern Illinois College) and earned an Associate degree in Pre–Engineering Science. Dave moved on to the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. There he worked with the Illinois State Geological Survey Oil and Gas Section to develop a series of oil and gas well field maps. In 2001, Dave began his study of the geology and hydrology of Indiana in the Geology Department at Indiana University in Bloomington where he studied under Greg Olyphant. While at Indiana University, Dave worked at the Indiana Geological Survey’s Center for Geospatial Data Analysis. Dave graduated with his Master of Science degree in Geology in 2005.

Dave Lampe making groundwater field measurement

Dave has used computer models to simulate the groundwater flow system and interactions with restored and natural wetlands and other surface water within the Indiana

Dunes National Lakeshore and adjacent areas. Those results are being used by the National Park Service and other agencies to understand how restored and modified wetlands, engineering modifications to groundwater and surface water drainage, and fluctuations of Lake Michigan levels affect groundwater levels and groundwater flooding in adjacent areas. He has completed reports to characterize the hydrostratigraphy of the Lake Michigan basin, compiled national-scale water quality datasets for the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project Agricultural Chemical Transport (ACT) team, and managed data collection networks of groundwater monitoring wells within Indiana.

You can see more detail about Dave’s work at his USGS profile page.

 

 

 

Algae bloom on the Ohio River

National Water Quality Network Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Pilot Study

In collaboration with NWQN (National Water Quality Network) and the Kansas Water Science Center, the Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center (IN-KY), Louisville Office will be collecting a series of discrete water quality samples this summer for a pilot study on HABS or Harmful Algal Blooms in large rivers. "Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) are increasingly a global concern because CyanoHABs pose a threat to human and ecosystem health and cause economic damages. Toxins produced by some species of cyanobacteria (cyanotoxins) can cause acute and chronic illnesses in humans. Human illnesses associated with cyanotoxins have most commonly occurred after exposure through recreational activities or drinking water. Recent national and regional assessments have shown that cyanotoxins are commonly detected in the Nation’s lakes, reservoirs, small streams, and wetlands. CyanoHAB events occur on large rivers. However, studies conducted on large rivers have been in response to CyanoHAB events and there has not been a comprehensive assessment of cyanotoxin occurrence in the Nation’s large rivers.

The specific objectives of the proposed pilot study are to:

  • describe cyanotoxin occurrence
  • "assess potential for CyanoHAB occurrence in the Nation’s large rivers using a combination of traditional and emerging approaches." – Graham, Rowe, & Dubrovsky

If the USGS sees significant budget cuts, unfortunately, this pilot study could be a very short-term assessment of the large river conditions.

For additional information on this topic, you may contact Molly Lott (mlott@usgs.gov).

 

 

 

Thermal infrared imagery taken with drone

 

Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center “Advancing the Science” using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Subsurface agricultural drainage commonly referred to as “tile drains”, help to dry fields by providing a conduit through which soil water can rapidly move to nearby ditches or streams. This enables agricultural producers to access fields earlier in the spring and increases crop yields. Several counties report that subsurface drainage increased substantially around 2008 when corn prices were high. This increased drainage has the potential to significantly change local water-budgets by preventing soil-water from recharging groundwater. Additional concerns are the movement of nutrients and sediment to streams and changes to both the ecological and the human environment because of more rapid storm response and decreased baseflow in streams. However, the location and amount of tile drains installed remains a mystery as most tile systems are installed by farmers and remain undocumented. While visible imagery occasionally shows the tile drain network, planned data collection has proven more difficult and time consuming. The images (to the left), taken within 24 hours, indicate that thermal infrared imagery is successful at delineating the tile-drain network – clearly showing the subsurface drainage that can only be guessed at using the multi-spectral imagery. These images were used to ground truth the location of the tile drains and several tiles were found to have direct connections to the surface. These direct connections allow sediment and anything attached to the sediment such as phosphorus and pesticides to be rapidly transported to streams.

For additional information about the UAS program at the IN-KY WSC, contact Tanja Williamson  (tnwillia@usgs.gov) or Pete Cinotto (pcinotto@usgs.gov).

 

Real-Time Groundwater Well Information expands in Indiana and Kentucky

National Map of the Climate Response Network

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) measures more than 20,000 wells each year for a variety of objectives as part of federal programs and in cooperation with state and local agencies. Water- level data are collected using consistent data- collection and quality-control methods. A small subset of these wells meets the criteria necessary to be included in a “Climate Response Network” of wells designed to illustrate the response of the groundwater system to climate variations nationwide. In FY16, the Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center (IN-KY WSC) added eight real-time sites to the Network supported by the USGS Groundwater Resources Program.

The primary purpose of the Climate Response Network is to portray the effect of climate on groundwater levels in unconfined aquifers or near surface confined aquifers that are minimally affected by pumping or other anthropogenic stresses. The Climate Response Network Web site,  (https://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov ) is the official USGS Web site for illustrating current ground-water conditions in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Climate Response Network “home” page provides a visual snapshot of the groundwater conditions across the Nation. Site locations and groundwater levels are depicted using color-coded symbols. The symbol defines the type of measurement (periodic, continuous, or real time), and the colors depict the relation between the most recent measurement and the monthly percentiles calculated from the long- term record for the well. Only symbols of wells having at least 10 years of measurements in a given month are color coded to ensure that the calculated percentiles are representative of historical conditions.

Climate response network graph and table

The USGS maintains a network of wells to monitor the effects of droughts and other climate variability on groundwater levels. The network consists of about 200 wells monitored that are fully funded by the USGS Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program, supplemented by funded wells in some states monitored from state, local, regional, and tribal partners with USGS Cooperative Matching Funds, or with funded wells from other federal partners.

The water-level changes in the Climate Response Network should primarily reflect climatic variability and not human influences. The climate variations of interest are those that affect recharge on monthly and longer time scales; not barometric or tidal influences.

Climate response network graph

 

 

 

 

 

New Real-Time Streamgages added to the IN-KY WSC Monitoring Network

Eight real-time streamgages were installed at several new locations across Indiana and Kentucky over the past 9 months. These new real-time streamgages were installed in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Transportation, Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Stream in Indiana

Indiana

  • 03360652 - Bee Hunter Ditch at Linton
  • 033483827 - Big Duck Creek at 14th Street Park at Elwood
  • 03361605 - Brandywine Creek at Greenfield
  • 03348350 - Pipe Creek at Frankton
  • 05523865 - Carpenter Creek at Remington

Kentucky

  • 03299500 - Rolling Fork at New Haven
  • 03435105 - Red River at Dot
  • 03280790 - Trace Branch at Trace Branch Campground at Confluence

 

 

Stream gage on side of a bridge
Staff plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 IN-KY WSC Publication

  • Bayless, E.R., Arihood, L.D., Reeves, H.W., Sperl, B.J.S., Qi, S.L., Stipe, V.E., and Bunch. A.R., 2017, Maps of hydrogeologic information created from standardized water- well drillers’ records of the glaciated United States: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015– 5105, 34 p. [https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20155105]
  • Fowler, K.K., 2017, Flood-inundation maps for the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5166, 11 p.,  [https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165166]
  • Lampe, D.C., and Unthank, M.D., 2016, Performance evaluation testing of wells in the gradient control system at a federally operated Confined Disposal Facility using single well aquifer tests, East Chicago, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5125, 50 p.,  [https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165125]
  • Martin, Z.W., 2017, Flood-inundation maps for the St. Joseph River at Elkhart, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5179, 10 p.,  [https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165179]
  • Risch, M.R., DeWild, J.F., Gay, D.A., Zhang, L., Boyer, E.W., and Krabbenhoft, D.P., 2017, Atmospheric Mercury Deposition to Forests in the Eastern USA: Environmental Pollution, v. 228, p. 8-18,  [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.05.004]
  • Zhang, L.; Wu, Z.; Cheng, I.; Wright, L.P.; Olson, M.L.;Gay, D.; Risch, M.R.; Brooks, S.; Castro, M.S.; Conley, G.D.; Edgerton, E.S.; Holsen, T.M.; Luke, W.; Tordon, R.; and Weiss-Penzias, P., 2016, The estimated six-year mercury dry deposition across North America, Environmental Science and Technology, v. 50, no. 23, p. 12864-12873,  [http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.6b04276]