Twin Cities WRS Seminar

County Geologic Atlases: Tools for land-use and water-resource management


Barbara Lusardi and Paul Putzier
MN Geological Survey and DNR

November 6, 2020


Groundwater is one of the most valuable, often overlooked, and misunderstood natural resources. Everyone uses water, and our common, everyday activities have an effect on its quality and availability. Our state is placing more demands on our groundwater and the challenge to balance use and protection will only increase over time. The County Atlas Program is one important tool for professional planners, resource managers and researchers to help make critical informed judgments.

A complete geologic atlas consists of Part A, geology, constructed by the Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) and Part B, groundwater, constructed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Each complete atlas provides comprehensive geologic and groundwater mapping and associated information useful for projects such as: water supply planning, land use decisions, resource development, resource protection, transportation planning, agricultural water supply, groundwater research/studies, and Environmental Impact Statements and more. The atlases can provide practical information such as “how deep do I need to drill my new water well?” The atlases also work at larger scales answering questions such as “where is the largest aquifer in this county?”

Jerry Spetzman, Administrator Chisago Lakes Lake Improvement District stated, “Chisago County uses the atlas to help inform land use policy decisions. Specific examples include: the Pollution Sensitivity of Near-Surface Materials map was used to help determine the location of a natural burial cemetery; the Bedrock Geology map was used to determine if sufficient quantities of ground water was available to cool a natural gas power plant; the sand distribution model was used to inform frac sand."

This WRS Seminar will provide an introduction to methodologies, the specific products available in each atlas, touch on examples of specific uses, and offer time to answer your questions.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 943 2193 2246
Passcode: 3x787i

Reminder - all WRS Seminars will be available via Zoom only, no in-person participation this semester.