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Mike Parsen with green foliage in the background

Mike Parsen

Hydrogeologist

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

I manage a number of hydrogeology projects at the Survey. My research uses data and models to evaluate the regional response of groundwater systems to changes in pumping and in recharge. I’ve been involved in developing groundwater flow models for Dane County, western Chippewa County, and the Little Plover River in the Central Sands area. These projects are practical applications of groundwater models that are supported by multi-year data collection. The models let me ask and answer questions like, “Will the water table fall if we add another pumping well?” or “Will the streams dry up if there is another drought?”

It is exciting to use models and large databases to understand Wisconsin’s water resource issues. Because of my day-to-day involvement with these projects, I have also developed an interest in water resource education and outreach. I want to be a part of making sure that Wisconsin’s citizens understand the groundwater resource issues that affect them.

The models and databases from my projects provide tools to make informed decisions about groundwater resources. 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.

 

Current projects

The longest-running project that I manage is the Wisconsin Groundwater-Level Monitoring Network. This project, begun in 1946, is jointly operated by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

This story map summarizes all of my projects:

Image link for Mike Parsen's projects story map

View Story Map

Read about my work

 

Collaborations

I collaborate with the following groups and agencies:

  • UW–Madison and within the Division of Extension
  • County Land Conservation Departments
  • S. Geological Survey—Upper Midwest Water Science Center, National Groundwater Monitoring Network, and Wisconsin Water Science Center,
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and
  • Department of Trade, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

 

Publications

Publications available to download

  • Zambito, J.J., Parsen, M.J., Haas, L.D., McLaughlin, P.I., 2019, Geochemistry and mineralogy of the Wonewoc-Tunnel City contact interval strata in western Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Open File Report WOFR2019-01, 33 p. 8 maps, and appendix (15 p.).
  • Parsen, M.J., Juckem, P.F., Gotkowitz, M.B., and Fienen, M.N., 2019, Groundwater flow model for western Chippewa County, Wisconsin—including analysis of water resources related to industrial sand mining and irrigated agriculture: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 112, 74 p.
  • Parsen, M.J., Mauel, S.W., and Streiff, C.M., 2018, Hydrogeological characterization of the Town of Lincoln, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Open File Report WOFR2018-05, 33 p. 8 maps, and appendix (15 p.).
  • Bradbury, K.R., Fehling, A.C., and Parsen, M.J., 2017, A groundwater flow model for the Little Plover River basin in Wisconsin’s Central Sands—user’s manual: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 111–Supplement, 30 p.
  • Parsen, M.J., Bradbury, K.R., Hunt, R.J., and Feinstein, D.T., 2016, The 2016 groundwater flow model for Dane County, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 110, 56 p
  • Bradbury, K.R., Parsen, M.J., and Fehling, A.C., 2016, The 2016 groundwater flow model for Dane County, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 110–Supplement, 31 p.
  • McDonald, C.P., Parsen, M.J., Lathrop, R.C., Sorsa, K.K., Bradbury, K.R., and Kakuska, M.T., 2015, Characterizing the sources of elevated groundwater nitrate in Dane County, Wisconsin: Final report to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for Wisconsin Groundwater Joint Solicitation Program, Project #218.
  • 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.

 

Conference presentations

  • Parsen, M.J., Hein, C.L., Voter, C.B., and Pruitt, A.H., 2020, Lake-groundwater interactions of Plainfield, Long, and Pleasant Lakes in the Central Sands of Wisconsin under rising water-level conditions. Wisconsin Section American Water Resources Association Annual Conference. Online format due to Covid-19.
  • Parsen, M.J., Hein, C.L., Voter, C.B., and Pruitt, A.H., 2019, Lake-groundwater interactions of Plainfield, Long, and Pleasant Lakes in the Central Sands of Wisconsin under rising water-level conditions. Water@UW-Madison Fall 2019 Poster Session & Reception, Madison, WI. November 20, 2019.
  • Parsen, M.J., and Streiff, C.M., 2017, Town of Lincoln Groundwater Study: A hydrogeologic characterization in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Section American Water Resources Association Annual Conference, Elkhart Lake, WI. March 9-10, 2017.
  • Parsen, M.J., McDonald, C.P., Lathrop, R.C., Sorsa, K.K., Bradbury, K.R., and Kakuska, M.T., 2015, Nitrate patterns, trends, and pathways in groundwater in south-central Wisconsin: A model-based evaluation: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 47, no. 7, p. 302.
  • Parsen, M.J., Gotkowitz, M.B., Fienen, M.N., and Juckem, P.F., 2014, Evaluating hydrogeologic impacts of frac sand mining and irrigated agriculture in western Chippewa County, Wisconsin Section American Water Resources Association Annual Conference, Wisconsin Dells, WI. March 13-14, 2014.
  • 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. 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 south central 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.

 

Professional affiliations

  • American Water Resources Association, Wisconsin Section, past president
  • Geological Society of America, member

 

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