Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


SWANSON, Susan, Beloit College, 700 College St, Beloit, WI 53511,

Capstone exercises in hydrogeology courses should provide opportunities for students not only to display a mastery of fundamental concepts, but also to apply their expertise to new, comprehensive, and realistic projects. The purpose of the capstone exercise for an undergraduate hydrogeology course at Beloit College is to develop a steady-state annual water budget that is representative of average lake conditions for Lake Belle View, a former millpond in southern Wisconsin. A dam, which created Lake Belle View along an oxbow of the Sugar River, was built in 1845 to power a saw mill. A larger hydroelectric dam was built in 1920. It included a millrace to allow water to flow from the lake to the river. Over time, the Village of Belleville grew around the 94-acre lake, so as the lake became degraded, dam removal was not a popular solution. Instead, the village chose to construct a separation berm directing the main flow of the Sugar River over a repaired dam and isolating the lake from the high nutrient and high suspended solids flow for large storm events. Modifications to the millrace structure were also made to allow it to act as the outlet control for the lake.

After a site visit that includes meeting village officials and engineers who worked on the restoration project, students are tasked with writing a water budget equation for Lake Belle View. Using actual field data collected by consultants, including well log data, precipitation records, and water level measurements, students calculate components of the annual water budget and a recommended outflow from the millrace structure to maintain a given lake level under average conditions. As part of the exercise, students refine skills in constructing conceptual models, interpreting field data, and synthesizing long-term hydrologic data from a variety of sources. They also gain a deeper appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of hydrologic restoration projects.