Category: Planning & Management
Wisconsin’s Central Sands is an important asset to the state from both recreational and agricultural perspectives. The region boasts more than 300 lakes and 800 miles of streams, which are valued by nature enthusiasts, recreationalists, and lakeshore properties. Agriculture is also burgeoning in the region, with 200,000 acres of cranberries, potatoes, and other high-value vegetables contributing an estimated economic impact of $6 billion and 35,000 jobs annually. This production is highly dependent on groundwater sources for supplemental irrigation. It has been widely hypothesized that increasing groundwater sourced irrigation is detrimentally affecting surface water lakes and streams, particularly during dry years. Presently, however, there is no formal groundwater mechanism to manage these competing demands. Season-ahead predictions of growing season precipitation and groundwater are explored as a potential benefit to local economic interests. We apply local-scale and large-scale hydroclimatic predictors to forecast precipitation and groundwater variability with modest skill in the Central Sands. Forecast value to farmers and area real-estate, particularly for climatological dry and wet years, are explored.
Colin McGuire– Research Assistant, UW - Madison, MADISON, Wisconsin