North-Central Section - 50th Annual Meeting - 2016

Paper No. 36-14
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


BORTOLAMEOLLI, Drake1, DEGNER, Benjamin2 and JOL, Harry M.1, (1)Department of Geography and Anthropology, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Avenue, P.O. Box 4004, Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004, WI 54702-4004, (2)Geology Department, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 101 Roosevelt Ave., Eau Claire, WI 54701,

Rib Lake is a north-central Wisconsin village located on a 131-Hectare lake, which once served as a holding pond for the Rib Lake Lumber Company. The company processed 1.47 billion board feet of lumber during its 70 years of operation (1882-1948). Along with the saw mill, there was a major tannery; both the tannery and mill would dump their byproducts into the lake. The practice of dumping into Rib Lake created a thick layer of waste (sawdust, bark, slabs, logs, tanning residues and animal waste) on the lake floor. The industrial organic sediment is responsible for yearly algal blooms, which is severely affecting the fish population, which in turn affects the recreational potential and associated tourism. Logs buried in the industrial organic waste are of high value due to their rareness and old age. These rare logs are far more valuable than a typical log of the same size. Through the extraction of the logs, the village would be able to sell them in order to fund for a lake cleanup program.

Data was gathered from probing into 130 hole locations on the frozen Rib Lake surface in the northern section of the lake. A Microsoft Excel file was created containing latitude and longitude coordinates, depth to the waste, depth to the bottom of the lake and depth to potential logs for each one of the probing locations. Using several ESRI GIS tools, multiple maps were created illustrating the depth to the lake bottom, the location of logs and a three-dimensional (3D) rendition showing how thick the industrial organic waste is. Using the probe information and data obtained through the use of ground penetrating radar surveys (50 and 100 MHz frequency antennas), the data sets showed the thickness of waste to be between 1.5 and 10 meters and the depth to the lake bottom to be between 3 and 10 meters.