Richardson County is in the extreme southeast corner of Nebraska. It has an area of 545 square miles, and in 1960 it had a population of 13,903. The county is in the physiographic region referred to as the Dissected Loess-covered Till Prairies. Major drainage consists of the Big Nemaha River, including its North and South Forks, and Muddy Creek. These streams flow southeastward and empty into the Missouri River, which forms the eastern boundary of the county. The climate of Richardson County is subhumid; the normal annual precipitation is about 35 inches. Agriculture is the chief industry, and corn is the principal crop.
Pleistocene glacial drift, loess, and alluvial deposits mantle the bedrock except in the southern and southwestern parts of the county where the bedrock is at the surface. Ground water is obtained from glacial till, fluvioglacial material, terrace deposits, and coarse alluvial deposits, all of Pleistocene age--and some is obtained from bedrock aquifers of Pennsylvanian and Permian age.
Adequate supplies of ground water are in many places difficult to locate because the water-bearing sands and gravels of Pleistocene age vary in composition and lack lateral persistence. Perched water tables are common in the upland areas and provide limited amounts of water to many of the shallow wells, Very few wells in bedrock yield adequate supplies, as the permeability of the rock is low and water that is more than a few tens of feet below the bedrock surface is highly mineralized.
Recharge is primarily from local precipitation, and water levels in many wells respond rapidly to increased or decreased precipitation. The quality of the ground water is generally satisfactory for most uses, although all the water is hard, and iron and manganese concentrations, in some areas, are relatively high. Ground water is used mainly for domestic and stock purposes.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geology and ground-water resources of Richardson County, Nebraska