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A distributed temperature sensing investigation of groundwater discharge to Haskell Lake, Lac du Flambeau Reservation, Wisconsin, July 27–August 1, 2016

August 18, 2020

Haskell Lake is a shallow, 89-acre drainage lake in the headwaters of the Squirrel River, on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in northern Wisconsin. Historically, this lake was an important producer of wild rice for the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (LDF Tribe); but, beginning in the late 1970s, the rice began to diminish and by the late 1990s, the lake no longer had harvestable stands. Restoring wild rice to Haskell Lake is a long-term priority for the LDF Tribe. A first step towards that effort is the cleanup of a petroleum-contamination plume in the shallow aquifer upgradient of the northern end of the lake. Knowledge of the downgradient extent of the plume and the locations where contaminated water is discharging to the lake is needed to inform cleanup efforts.

A cooperative study between the U.S. Geological Survey and the LDF Tribe was initiated to characterize the distribution of groundwater discharge to Haskell Lake in the areas downgradient of the contamination plume. A fiber optic distributed temperature sensing system was used to monitor temperatures at the sediment-water interface for a 7-day period in July and August 2016. Challenges during the investigation included data storage and power supply limitations, maintenance of calibration baths, accurate location of the cable in space, cable placement in weeds and soft sediment, the confounding effects of solar radiation, and contamination of the data by multiple sources of instrument noise. The problem of instrument noise was overcome by solving the fiber optic distributed temperature sensing calibration equation for two parameters that describe temporal variation in the source laser and the photon detectors that observe the backscatter. Early morning temperatures, when the influence of solar radiation via direct warming of the sediment-water interface is minimized, were used to evaluate groundwater discharge, similar to other studies. The results indicate a persistent, horizontal variation in temperature of as much as 5.5 degrees Celsius across the study area, with cooler temperatures interpreted to indicate spatially discrete preferential groundwater discharge. Results of the study can be used to determine locations for collecting lakebed pore water samples to better define the extent of contamination discharging to the lake.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title A distributed temperature sensing investigation of groundwater discharge to Haskell Lake, Lac du Flambeau Reservation, Wisconsin, July 27–August 1, 2016
DOI 10.3133/sir20205005
Authors Andrew T. Leaf
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2020-5005
Index ID sir20205005
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wisconsin Water Science Center; Upper Midwest Water Science Center

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