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Timothy K Cowdery

Tim Cowdery has been a groundwater geologist in Minneapolis, MN since 1991.  Tim's research interests include glacial geology, groundwater/surface-water interactions, quantification of groundwater flows, groundwater instrumentation, and numerical modelling.

Tim Cowdery currently serves as Leader for the Hydrogeology Team of the National Hydrologic Geospatial Fabric project.  He also serves as a groundwater and database specialist for the Upper-Midwest Water-Science Center in Minnesota.

Tim has extensive experience in collecting groundwater data, including both instrumentation, telemetry, and correction automation.  His interests also include graphical presentation of scientific ideas and graphical design.

In 1992, Tim became the groundwater specialist for the Red River of the North National Water-Quality Assessment, conducting groundwater-quality research at many spatial scales in that basin.  He has designed and executed to several groundwater modeling studies at local and regional scales throughout Minnesota.  He has developed systems for automated groundwater data collection, telemetry, and processing and has used these data to estimate the spatial and temporal variability of groundwater recharge.

During 2002–2018, Tim managed the USGS' Glacial Ridge Hydrologic Assessment, a groundwater/surface water interaction study that documents changes in the hydrology of a large area in northwestern Minnesota that underwent extensive wetland and prairie restorations.  This project documented changes in hydrologic flows and quality resulting from the restorations.  He continues to manage several other projects involving groundwater modeling, water-quality sampling, groundwater recharge, and continuous groundwater-level measurement.  

During 2016–2020, Tim led a team constructing groundwater-flow models of the St. Louis River Basin as a whole and the area of historic iron-mining in detail.  These models will provide boundary flows for future inset groundwater-flow models in the area and quantified the effects of historic iron mining on baseflows in the St. Louis River.

Professional Experience

  • Tim has spent his hydrogeology professional career at the USGS in Minnesota as a project chief, groundwater specialist and team leader. He started as a student in 1991 and a permanent employee in 1992.

  • Groundwater Characterization Team leader, 2019–2020.

  • Glacial Ridge Hydrologic Assessment project chief, 2002–2018.

  • Minnesota Water-Science Center Groundwater Specialist for Data, 2013–2017.

  • Red River of the North National Water-Quality Assessment groundwater specialist, 1992–1997.

Education and Certifications

  • Master of Science degree in hydrogeology from the University of Minnesota in 1997.

  • Bachelor of Arts degree in geology from Carleton College in 1983.  Minor in East-Asian Studies.

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • Sigma Xi, the Scientific Honor Society, 1983-present

  • Geological Society of America,1993-present

  • Minnesota Groundwater Association, 1995-present

Abstracts and Presentations

  • Cowdery, T.K., 2021, Hydrologic Change in the St. Louis River Basin from Mining in Northeastern Minnesota: Abstracts, 64th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research, International Association of Great Lakes Research, Virtual meeting,    Accessed 15 December 2021.

Science and Products

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government