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Mike Parsen


Contact: Phone (608) 262-9419 | Email mike.parsen@wisc.edu

Research interests

My research focuses on evaluating regional response of groundwater systems to changes in pumping and groundwater recharge. I’ve also developed an interest in water resource education and outreach due to the practical application of groundwater models and the need to engage Wisconsin citizens in better understanding the groundwater resource issues that affect them.

Due to the tremendous overlap between science and society, it is critical to clearly communicate scientific information to the general public, industry, government officials, regional planners, and other scientific researchers. As a hydrogeologist at the Survey, I work to better understand the groundwater resources of our state and effectively communicate this information to a larger audience.

Ultimately, my goal is to provide decision makers with the tools needed to make informed decisions about groundwater resources in their area. I work with homeowners concerned about rising water levels, engineers siting high-capacity wells, planning commissions seeking information about regional aquifer drawdown, and state legislators interested in learning more about the potential impacts of industrial sand mining on groundwater resources. We seek to provide high-quality, reliable information to meet the demands of decision makers across Wisconsin.

Current projects

My current research projects can be explored through this Story Map:

Image link for Mike Parsen's projects story map

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I regularly collaborate with colleagues within Extension at both the state and county level on issues related to geologic and groundwater resources. I maintain particularly close working relationships with the Land Conservation Departments in Dane and Chippewa counties due to ongoing projects in these parts of the state. The USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center is also a close collaborator due to their expertise and experience with groundwater modeling and calibration.

Selected publications

Publications available to download

  • Parsen, M.J., Bradbury, K.R., Fienen, M.N., Lynch, L.J. Updating the Wisconsin groundwater-level monitoring network. Wisconsin Section American Water Resources Association Annual Conference, Brookfield, WI. March 7-8, 2013.
  • Parsen, M.J. and Gotkowitz, M.G., 2013. Managing Chippewa County’s groundwater – today and tomorrow. Evaluating the impacts of industrial sand mines and irrigated agriculture on the county’s water resources. Fact sheet 7, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, 4 p.
  • Parsen, M.J. Wisconsin’s connection to hydrofracking – Frac sand mining. WisDOT annual freight railroad conference. Madison, WI. November 14, 2012.
  • Parsen, M.J. Impacts of frac sand mining in Wisconsin – Focus on groundwater. UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies’ Community Environmental Forum – Fracking: the Wisconsin Connection, Madison, WI. November 11, 2012.
  • Parsen, M.J. Groundwater and frac-sand mining: A perspective from Wisconsin. Mid-American Regulatory Conference Annual Meeting, Des Moines, Iowa. June 10-13, 2012.
  • Parsen, M.J., Bradbury, K.R., and Krause, J. Translating the hydrostratigraphy of Dane County, Wisconsin into a groundwater modeling framework. Wisconsin Section American Water Resources Association Annual Conference, Wisconsin Dells, WI, March 1-2, 2012.
  • Parsen, M.J. New science at the WGNHS: Borehole geophysics and the revised Dane Co. groundwater flow model. Wisconsin Groundwater Association Lecture Series, Madison, WI. January 24, 2012.
  • Parsen, M.J., Krause, J., Bradbury, K.R., and Hart, D.J. Evidence of fracture flow within the Wonewoc Formation in southcentral Wisconsin. Geological Society of America Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN. October 9-12, 2011.
  • Parsen, M.J., Bradbury, K.R., Feinstein, D.T., Hunt, R.J., Buchwald, C.A., Kennedy, J.L., Schoephoester, P.R., Mauel, S.W., Gotkowitz, M.B., Hart, D.J., and Fienen, M.N. Development of a revised groundwater flow model for Dane County, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Section American Water Resources Association Annual Conference, Appleton, WI. March 3-4, 2011.