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Ground-Water Levels in Huron County, Michigan, 2004-05

Open-File Report 2005-1082

Prepared in cooperation with Huron County, Michigan
By:
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Abstract

In 1990, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed a study of the hydrogeology of Huron County, Michigan (Sweat, 1991). In 1993, Huron County and the USGS entered into a continuing agreement to measure water levels at selected wells throughout Huron County. As part of the agreement, USGS has operated four continuous water-level recorders, installed from 1988 to 1991 on wells in Bingham, Fairhaven, Grant, and Lake Townships (fig. 1) and summarized the data collected in an annual or bi-annual report. The agreement was altered in 2003, and beginning January 1, 2004, only the wells in Fairhaven and Lake Townships retained continuous waterlevel recorders, while the wells in Grant and Bingham Townships reverted primarily to periodic or quarterly measurement status. USGS also has provided training for County or Huron Conservation District personnel to measure the water level, on a quarterly basis, in 25 wells. USGS personnel regularly accompany County or Huron Conservation District personnel to provide a quality assurance/quality control check of all measurements being made. Water-level data collected from the 25 periodically or quarterly-measured wells is summarized in an annual or bi-annual report. In 1998, the USGS also completed a temporal and spatial analysis of the monitoring well network in Huron County (Holtschlag and Sweat, 1998).

The altitude of Lake Huron and precipitation are good indicators of general climatic conditions and, therefore, provide an environmental context for ground-water levels in Huron County. Figure 2 shows the mean-monthly water-level altitude of Lake Huron, averaged from measurements made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at sites near Essexville or Harbor Beach, or both (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2003-05), and monthly precipitation measured in Bad Axe (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2003-05). In March 2003, a new low-water level for the period from 1991 through 2005 was measured in Lake Huron. There was almost no net change in the water level of Lake Huron from January 2004 through December 2005. In 2004, annual precipitation measured in Port Hope was about 3.7 inches above normal, but precipitation measured in Bad Axe was about 1.4 inches below normal. About 14.5 inches of precipitation was measured in Bad Axe during the 2004 summer growing season (May through August), which is about the same as was measured in Port Hope during the same period. Provisional precipitation totals for 2005 were 30.7 inches for January through November in Port Hope, and about 31.7 inches for the year in Bad Axe. About 10.6 inches of precipitation was measured in Bad Axe during the 2005 summer growing season, which is about 0.2 inches more than was recorded at Port Hope during the same period.

Two wells equipped with continuous-data recorders are completed in the Saginaw and Marshall aquifers in Fairhaven and Lake Townships, respectively. From January 2004 through December 2005, the net rise in the water level in the Fairhaven Township well was 0.71 ft, and the net rise in the Lake Township well was 0.98 ft. The Fairhaven Township well is drilled adjacent to Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron), and, as previously noted, there was almost no net change in the water level in Saginaw Bay over the same period. Hydrographs showing water levels are presented for the two wells equipped with continuous-data recorders. Continuous-data recorders were discontinued in the Grant and Bingham Township wells at the end of 2003 due to budget constraints. The decision of which two wells to discontinue was based on an analysis of the intrinsic value to Huron County of data from each well. The Grant Township well was selected for periodic or quarterly measurement at that time because it is completed in the glacial aquifer, which is little used for drinking water purposes or absent in much of Huron County. The Bingham Township well, which is completed in the Marshall aquifer, was selected for periodic or quarterly measurement because water levels in the well are often perturbed as a result of pumpage from nearby production wells and do not reflect baseline conditions within the aquifer.

Twenty five wells were measured on a periodic or quarterly basis in 2004-05. These wells are completed in the glacial, Saginaw, and Marshall aquifers, and the Coldwater confining unit. Although each quarterly measurement only provides a “snapshot” water level (measured in feet below land surface), the data adequately define the generalized water-level trend in the aquifer near the well. Water levels in 15 quarterlymeasured wells had a net rise ranging from 0.20 to 1.31 ft for the period from January 2004 to December 2005, while water levels in 10 of the wells had a net decline ranging from 0.07 to 0.99 ft over the same period (fig. 3; table 1). Period-of-record (the time period when water levels have been measured by U.S. Geological Survey or their cooperators) minimum depths to water (high-water levels) were measured in March 2004 in two quarterly-measured wells completed in the Marshall aquifer in Lake and Hume Townships. Period-of-record maximum depths to water were measured in September 2005 in three wells completed in the Marshall aquifer near Bad Axe. Water levels in those three wells recovered about 3 to 5 ft between September and December 2005. No period-of-record minimum or maximum depths to water were measured for the period from January 2004 through December 2005 in wells completed in either the glacial and Saginaw aquifers, or the Coldwater confining unit. Hydrographs showing water levels measured in each well are presented for the 25 wells measured on a quarterly basis.

Water-level trends measured for the period from January 2004 through December 2005 in other wells in Lower Michigan have similarities to those measured in Huron County wells. Several external factors influence water-level trends including proximity to nearby production wells, amount and timing of precipitation events, evapotranspiration and type of prevalent ground cover, proximity of aquifer to the surface, and hydraulic characteristics of overlying geologic materials.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Ground-Water Levels in Huron County, Michigan, 2004-05
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2005-1082
Year Published:
2006
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Michigan Water Science Center
Description:
iv, 16 p.
Time Range Start:
2004-01-01
Time Range End:
2005-12-31
Country:
United States
State:
Michigan
County:
Huron County