Groundwater Guardians Promote Groundwater Education and Preservation
Access to clean, drinkable freshwater is something easily taken for granted in Central Wisconsin. Since 1997, Marshfield Area Groundwater Guardians has promoted groundwater education and action, fostering accountability for clean, sustainable groundwater in the area.
What began as a Leadership Marshfield project in 1996 is now an active group of nearly 30 members.
“Groundwater Guardian” designation is given through a national program sponsored by the Groundwater Foundation in Lincoln, NE. Requirements of the Groundwater Guardian program include submitting an application and a plan for activities to promote protection of local groundwater resources.
“That first year, the group purchased a groundwater flow model which they used for
educational presentations, produced a video, and provided water education curriculum to area schools,” said Cathy Lotzer, Technical Services Manager at Marshfield Utilities.
Groundwater Guardian designation was awarded to the Marshfield Area in November of 1997 for the first time, and each year since then, Marshfield has also received this designation- 20 consecutive years in total.
“Our local group works to promote groundwater education and action, making us all part of the solution for clean, sustainable, groundwater,” explained Lotzer. “Marshfield sits upon a sole source aquifer. Municipal wells are quite shallow and therefore vulnerable to contamination. No other viable water resource options are available to residents. With this in mind, the group felt the most important thing they could do is educate the community on the importance of protecting the current water supply.”
In its 20 years of existence, the group has led many activities, including Water Festival
presentations at all local schools (one of which was videotaped for Discover Wisconsin), two community Rain Gardens, Rx-Round Up Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program (first in the state; now 10 years ongoing and over 10,000 pounds collected locally), and the Wisconsin Girl Scout Patch program.
“This group is important because we consist of concerned citizens who have a genuine desire to protect and conserve our local resources,” said Lotzer. “The group is legitimate in that we have support and sponsorship from our local water utility. Marshfield Utilities also recognizes the importance of this group and encourages staff participation in the group. They also promote group initiatives such as the pharmaceutical take-back program and chloride awareness program.”
“Everyone can help by using water wisely, practicing conservation, and being aware of the valuable resource beneath us,” said Lotzer. “Anyone interested in joining the group can contact me directly for information on future volunteer opportunities. We can all make a difference!”
Other suggestions include using native plants in landscaping, reducing chemical use,
managing waste, fixing leaks (toilet/faucet/septic system), taking shorter showers, limiting how long the faucet runs, reducing/reusing/recycling, trying natural alternatives (ie: cleaning solutions), and refraining from pouring gasoline, oil or other chemicals on the ground. Additionally, take expired/unwanted meds to the Marshfield Police Department and dropping them in the Rx Round-Up secure container.
Learn more here.