Ground-water levels in Huron County, Michigan, 2002-03
Open-File Report 2005-1082-A
Prepared in cooperation with the with Huron County, Michigan
- T.L. Weaver, S.P. Blumer, and S.L. Crowley
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 collect water-level altitudes (hereafter referred to as 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 will have continuous water-level recorders, while the wells in Grant and Bingham Townships will revert to quarterly measurement status. USGS has also provided training for County or Huron Conservation District personnel to measure the water level, on a quarterly basis, in 23 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 23 quarterly-measured wells is also summarized in the 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 groundwater 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 and Harbor Beach, and monthly precipitation measured in Bad Axe (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], 2002-04; Danny Costello, NOAA hydrologist, written commun., 2003-04). In March 2003, a new low-water level for the period of this study was measured in Lake Huron (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2003; 2004). The net decline in the water level of Lake Huron from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2003 was about 0.3 ft. Annual precipitation in 2002 was about 0.3 inches above normal, with much of it occurring during summer months. The provisional precipitation total for 2003 is about an inch below normal (NOAA, 2003, 2004; Danny Costello, NOAA hydrologist, written commun., 2003, 2004).
Four wells equipped with continuous-data recorders are completed in the glacial, Saginaw, and Marshall aquifers. Water levels in three of the four wells equipped with continuous-data recorders experienced a net decline over the period from January 2002 to December 2003, while the level in well H9r, completed in the Saginaw aquifer in Fairhaven Township adjacent to Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron), rose about 1.3 ft over the same period. Interestingly, the water level in Saginaw Bay declined about 0.3 ft over the same period. A period-ofrecord maximum depth to water was recorded in September 2003 in well H25Ar, completed in the Marshall aquifer in Lake Township. Hydrographs showing altitude of the water surface are presented for each of four wells equipped with continuous-data recorders.
Twenty three wells were measured on a quarterly basis in 2002-03. These wells are completed in the Saginaw and Marshall aquifers, and Coldwater confining unit. Although each quarterly measurement only provides a “snapshot” water level, the data adequately define the “generalized” water-level trend in the aquifer near the well. The water level in one quarterly-measured well completed in the Saginaw aquifer near Saginaw Bay, had a net rise for the period from January 2002 to December 2003, while levels in the other 22 quarterly-measured wells declined about 0.5 to 2.0 ft during the same period. A period-of-record minimum depth to water (high) was measured in 2002 in two quarterly-measured wells completed in the Saginaw aquifer, although the level in one of those wells had a net decline over the period from January 2002 through December 2003. Conversely, period-of-record maximum depths to water (low) were measured in 2002 in one well completed in the Saginaw aquifer and two wells completed in the Marshall aquifer; and in 2003, in 6 of 16 wells completed in the Marshall aquifer. Near period-ofrecord maximum depths to water were measured in 2003 in two additional wells completed in the Marshall aquifer. No period-of-record minimum or maximum depths to water were measured in 2002-03 in wells completed in the Coldwater confining unit. Hydrographs showing water levels measured in each well are presented for the 23 wells measured on a quarterly basis.
Water-level trends measured in 2002-03 in other wells in Lower Michigan have similarities to those measured in Huron County wells. Several external factors appear to 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.
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- USGS Numbered Series
- Ground-water levels in Huron County, Michigan, 2002-03
- Series title:
- Open-File Report
- Series number:
- Year Published:
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Publisher location:
- Lansing, MI
- Contributing office(s):
- Michigan Water Science Center
- iv, 18 p.
- Time Range Start:
- Time Range End:
- United States
- Huron County