As part of the USGS Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets project and the NSF Long-Term Ecological Research work, a parameter estimation code was used to calibrate a deterministic groundwater flow model of the Trout Lake Basin in northern Wisconsin. Observations included traditional calibration targets (head, lake stage, and baseflow observations) as well as unconventional targets such as groundwater flows to and from lakes, depth of a lake water plume, and time of travel. The unconventional data types were important for parameter estimation convergence and allowed the development of a more detailed parameterization capable of resolving model objectives with well-constrained parameter values. Independent estimates of groundwater inflow to lakes were most important for constraining lakebed leakance and the depth of the lake water plume was important for determining hydraulic conductivity and conceptual aquifer layering. The most important target overall, however, was a conventional regional baseflow target that led to correct distribution of flow between sub-basins and the regional system during model calibration. The use of an automated parameter estimation code: (1) facilitated the calibration process by providing a quantitative assessment of the model's ability to match disparate observed data types; and (2) allowed assessment of the influence of observed targets on the calibration process. The model calibration required the use of a 'universal' parameter estimation code in order to include all types of observations in the objective function. The methods described in this paper help address issues of watershed complexity and non-uniqueness common to deterministic watershed models. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.