GROUNDWATER TRACING IN ORION, MARION AND EYOTA TOWNSHIPS OF OLMSTED COUNTY, MINNESOTA
Groundwater tracing research was initiated in the area due to environmental issues related to the presence of confined animal feedlots. Dye tracing has been successfully used to define connections between water running into sinkholes or losing streams and water emerging from springs, wells or along gaining reaches of streams in the karst of southeast Minnesota for 75 years. Dye traces have proven to be singularly effective tools in helping elevate discussions among communities, landowners and farmers about surface water-groundwater interactions. Information gained helps landowners implement strategies to minimize nutrient and bacteria losses into vulnerable karst aquifers.
We initiated five traces between 2014 and 2016. Four of the traces were positive, in that at least one connection was confirmed between the sinkhole input of the dye and a monitored spring or creek. The positive results are drawn as springshed maps illustrating these connections, and are overlain on a base map of the previous dye tracing work. The base springsheds map will be updated as new traces are completed and the map is available on-line at: