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Geology and Water
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IGS - Geology and Groundwater Studies

Geology and Groundwater Studies Section

This section analyzes all parameters of geologic and hydrogeologic conditions, water resources budget relationships between supply and demand, economic mineral resources, geologic hazards, and defines the extent, recurrence interval, and impact of local and/or regional water development. Comprehensive data collection and investigative programs are developed and implemented to enhance the state's geologic and water resources databases. Site specific and areal information services are provided to well contractors, engineering firms, municipalities, and the private sector for water supply development and management, mineral extraction, construction projects, and other aspects of resource management . Data review and interpretation are provided to DNR's Environmental Services Division to assist in regulatory decisions relative to water withdrawal permits, well-interference problems, waste disposal sites, and other permitted facilities.  Research and applied studies are planned and implemented to investigate and monitor water quality degradation related to agricultural and industrial chemicals, leaking underground tanks, sanitary landfills, and waste-water lagoons.


DEBORAH J. QUADE, Section Supervisor, Research Geologist, M.S. (The University of Iowa)
(Deborah.Quade@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities:
Supervises twelve geologists that collect, analyze and provide earth and water science information, technical consultation and field investigative resources to all Iowans on issues related to groundwater availability, quality and sustainability, economic development and land use planning, mineral extraction, resource management and natural hazards. Manages staff affiliated with several state-wide programs: 1) Source Water (SWP) “Phase 1” assessments and non-targeted program for public water supplies. 2) Iowa Water Resources Management Plan addressing Iowa’s groundwater sustainability, water use, groundwater modeling and longer term sustainability planning 3) Iowa coordinator for USGS STATEMAP national geologic mapping program and 4) Geothermal Mapping to assess site suitability for development of heat pumps based on local geology. Plans and undertake field surface and subsurface studies of glacial and post-glacial deposits and soils in Iowa. Prepares related technical reports and maps for STATEMAP and other field investigations for land use planning, hazard assessment, and geologic resource assessment.
Current Projects: Surficial geologic mapping as part of the USGS STATEMAP program; field investigations of geology, hydrogeology and geomorphology of Holocene and Pleistocene sediments relative to water resource, environmental and land use investigations.
Research Interests: Surficial geologic mapping, fluvial geomorphology, environmental geology, geomorphology, shallow lake and wetland hydrogeology and Quaternary stratigraphy.
Professional Certifications:  Certified Well Contractor (Iowa).
Professional Affiliations: 
Iowa Groundwater Association; American Quaternary Association.


MICHAEL BOUNK, Geologist 2, Research Geologist, M.S. (The University of Iowa)
(Michael.Bounk@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities: Interprets water well cuttings and prepares graphic striplogs for entry into IGWS’ Geologic Sample Database (GEOSAM) which is a geologic site and sample tracking program. Conduct geologic mapping services related to sinkholes, caves and karst.
Research Interests:
Cave and karst development.
Professional Affiliations: Geological Society of Iowa, National Speleological Society, Iowa Academy of Science.


RYAN J.CLARK, Geologist 2, Research Geologist, M.S. (The University of Iowa)
(Ryan.Clark@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities: Interpretation of geologic and hydrologic data throughout Iowa via borehole logging information and field data; focusing on bedrock geologic features, stratigraphy, and aquifer characteristics. Conduct research and present findings regarding geologic and hydrologic aspects of Iowa to general and technical audiences. Perform field investigations, geologic mapping, logging of chip and core samples, and construction of lithic logs for GEOSAM. Assess environmental and hydrologic aspects of proposed water supply well sites for private and municipal clients in conjunction with the source water protection plan. Coordinate the research, modeling, and characterization of regional- and local-scale aquifer systems as part of the Water Resources Management Program. Develop understanding of the risks/rewards associated with Iowa's geothermal energy capabilities.
Current Projects: Source Water Assessment and Protection Program, Geothermal Assessment, NE Iowa Intrusive Complex (potential economic mineral deposits), Iowa Water Plan.
Research Interests: Bedrock geology and economic resources of Iowa, geothermal analysis, aquifer characterization.
Professional Affiliations: Licensed Professional Geologist (Illinois), Certified Groundwater Professional (Iowa), Chair of the U of Iowa Geoscience Alumni Advisory Board (GAAB), Iowa Groundwater Association.


CHAD FIELDS, Geologist 3, Research Geologist, M.S. (University of Northern Iowa)
(Chad.Fields@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities: Coordinator for Iowa’s Source Water Protection (SWP) “Phase 1” assessments and non-targeted programs. Tracking changes in Iowa’s public water wells, water use, and activity. Updating and revising source water delineations for Iowa’s groundwater public water supplies. Providing well accurate forecasts and water supply information to the general public. Improving well and aquifer information throughout Iowa. Publishing reports from various drinking water studies. 
Current Projects: Source Water, Proposed well forecasts, Geothermal Mapping, Iowa Groundwater Quality Database.
Research Interests: Nonpoint source impacts on surface water and groundwater; 2D and 3D groundwater modeling; statewide water quality trends, arsenic in groundwater.
Professional Affiliations: Geological Society of America; Iowa Groundwater Association.


J. MICHAEL GANNON, Geologist 3, M.S. (University of Arizona)
(Mike.Gannon@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities: Primary groundwater hydrologist in charge of both regional and local scale groundwater flow modeling. Main responsibilities at the survey include: drought impacts, groundwater sustainability, water use permit evaluation, well interference, mine dewatering, groundwater and surface water interaction, aquifer pump test design and analyses, source water and wellhead protection, groundwater exploration and planning, and groundwater quality evaluations.
Professional Affiliations: Professional Geologist (American Institute of Professional Geologists), Certified Groundwater Professional (Iowa), Professional Geologist (Wisconsin), Iowa Groundwater Association.


H. PAUL LIU, Geologist 3, Research Geologist, Ph.D. (University of Nebraska)
(Paul.Liu@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities: Collection, analysis, and interpretation of Iowa geologic and hydrogeologic data, especially on stratigraphy, paleontology, sedimentology, bedrock geology, and well construction. Conducting geologic and stratigraphic investigations and research including field, laboratory, and office studies. Producing, editing, and reviewing geologic maps, reports, and other professional publications. Identifying mineral, rock and fossil specimens. Providing, illustrating, and presenting general geologic information and research results to public and professionals.
Current Projects: USGS geologic mapping project (STATEMAP), especially bedrock geologic mapping in Iowa; Iowa water plan project; NSF supported project of the Middle Ordovician Winneshiek Lagerstätte and its depositional environment in northeast Iowa.
Research Interests: Iowa bedrock geology; Iowa Paleozoic and Cretaceous stratigraphy; invertebrate and microfossils especially on graptolites, sponges, arthropods, conodonts, and calcareous nannofossils; marine geology, paleoecology and sedimentology; GIS 3D mapping and analysis.
Professional Affiliations: Active participant in the Geological Society of America (national and regional meetings), Iowa Academy of Sciences, and Geological Society of Iowa; peer reviewer for geological journals


ROBERT M. McKAY, Geologist 3, Research Geologist, B.S. (Tulane University)
(Robert.McKay@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities:  Collection, analysis, and interpretation of Iowa geologic and hydrogeologic data, especially on stratigraphy, paleontology, sedimentology, bedrock geology, and well construction. Conducting geologic and stratigraphic investigations and research including field, laboratory, and office studies. Producing, editing, and reviewing geologic maps, reports, and other professional publications. Identifying mineral, rock and fossil specimens. Providing, illustrating, and presenting general geologic information and research results to public and professionals. Principal staff contact for inquiries related to economic mineral resources including limestone and gypsum resources, silica frac-sand, oil and gas drilling and permits, underground non-coal mine maps, natural gas storage projects and expansions.
Current Projects: USGS geologic mapping project (STATEMAP), especially bedrock geologic mapping in Iowa; Iowa water plan project; NSF supported project of the Middle Ordovician Winneshiek Lagerstätte and Decorah Impact Structure, and its depositional environment in northeast Iowa.
Research Interests: Iowa bedrock geology; Iowa Paleozoic stratigraphy; sedimentology; GIS 3D mapping and analysis.
Professional Affiliations: Member of the Geological Society of America and the Geological Society of Iowa.


ROBERT D. ROWDEN, Geologist 3, Research Geologist, M.S. (The University of Iowa)
(Robert.Rowden@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities: Providing new and updating current Source Water delineations for Iowa’s public water supplies; assist Contaminated Sites (Brownfields Program) and other IDNR sections with geologic and hydrologic site assessment and site information; development of Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages associated with STATEMAP program and major aquifer systems of Iowa (Water Resources Management program); data collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation and report and map preparation for various geologic and hydrogeologic investigations; conducts and coordinates field sampling; provides technical assistance and support to coworkers and students employed by the Iowa Geological & Water Survey; technical review of publications; cooperates with state and local agencies on geologic, water quality and water resources investigations; provides client services for well site problems, well searches, well forecasts, and water-supply/water-quality problems and addresses general information requests; review of site plans of various facilities and construction projects to assess potential environmental impacts; educating the public about the effects of non-point and point source contamination on surface water and groundwater resources; development of educational materials; acts as computer purchasing agent and network representative dealing with computer setup and installation and maintenance of hardware and software associated with Iowa Geological & Water Survey computer network; collection of shallow subsurface unconsolidated geologic samples and installation of shallow monitoring wells utilizing a Giddings drill rig; assists other drillers and Geophysics program staff in collecting information for the Geological & Water Survey; maintains the Iowa Geological & Water Survey website and the Iowa Geological & Water Survey portion of the IDNR Content Management System website.
Current Projects: Source Water Assessment and Protection Program; Brownfields geologic and hydrologic site assessments; development of GIS coverages associated with major aquifer systems (Mississippian, Silurian-Devonian, and Jordan) and water-quality and quantity of the aquifer systems within Iowa; bedrock mapping and shallow drilling associated with STATEMAP geologic mapping program.
Research Interests: Development of materials to educate the public about Iowa’s natural resources with emphasis on geology, groundwater and surface water; hydrologic investigations of impacts of non-point and point source contaminants on surface water and groundwater resources, with emphasis on monitoring surface water and groundwater discharge, water quality, and computation of flow-weighted contaminant discharge; interaction of surface water, groundwater and agricultural contaminants in karst terranes.
Professional Certifications: Certified Well Contractor (Iowa); Certified Hazardous Waste Site Worker (Iowa); MSHA (Part 46) 8 hour annual refresher course (Iowa).


KEITH E. SCHILLING, Geologist 3, Research Geologist, Ph.D. (University of Iowa)
(Keith.Schilling@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities:
Conduct research on water flux and nonpoint source pollution at the watershed scale, evaluate shallow groundwater flow and quality patterns in West Lake Okoboji and other lake restoration projects. Conduct research on floodplain processes in Lower Cedar River floodplain, Evaluate hydrologic and water quality effects of tile drainage at a watershed scale, evaluate hydrology of farmed and restored wetlands, collaborate on watershed modeling studies and analysis, use time-series analysis to examine water and nutrient patterns, quantify water and nutrient flux from agricultural landscapes, evaluate nutrient reduction strategies at local, state and national scales, assess lag times for water quality improvements.
Current Projects: Quantifying ecosystem services of farmed and restored wetlands, evaluating hydrology and nutrient export from agricultural landscapes in the Mississippi River basin, quantifying subsurface nutrient flux into West Lake Okoboji, evaluating floodplain processes at The Nature Conservancy sites in the Lower Cedar River floodplain, evaluating water and nutrient flux from drained landscapes in north-central Iowa, evaluating nutrient fluxes and concentrations patterns at Iowa river monitoring sites, evaluating hydrologic restoration at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.
Research Interests: Watershed assessment and analysis, groundwater flow and quality, surface and groundwater interaction, nonpoint source pollution, time-series analysis and floodplain and wetland processes.
Professional Affiliations: Iowa Ground Water Association, American Geophysical Union.


STEPHANIE A. TASSIER-SURINE, Geologist 3, Research Geologist, M.S. (University of Massachusetts)
(Stephanie.Surine@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities:  Researches and conducts field investigations on the Quaternary deposits and stratigraphy of Iowa, with a primary focus on the Pre-Illinoian glacial till units and development of the Iowan Erosion Surface. Collects, describes, and analyzes surface and subsurface geologic samples (both in the field and the laboratory) and interprets the results for use in surficial mapping, Quaternary stratigraphy, and hydrogeologic studies. Responsible for Quaternary database and sample management associated with these projects. Responds to information requests on the geology of Iowa and takes part in a variety of educational and outreach activities.
Current Projects: Surficial geologic mapping as part of the USGS STATEMAP program; field investigations of surface and subsurface geologic materials related to Quaternary stratigraphy and hydrogeology projects.
Research Interests: Quaternary stratigraphy and paleoenvironmental interpretations, surficial processes and mapping, hydrogeology, soils, and sedimentary geochemistry.
Professional Affiliations: Geological Society of America, American Quaternary Association.


PAUL VANDORPE, Geologist 3, Research Geologist, M.S. (Wayne State University)
(Paul.VanDorpe@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities: Provides client services for well searches, well forecasts, well variance requests, deep vs. shallow well determinations, waste water lagoon evaluations, water-supply problems, and other geologic requests; compiles and synthesizes hydrogeologic data for reports on the occurrence, quality, availability, and use of groundwater in Iowa; provides information on coal mine subsidence; serves on a variety of committees and boards: Iowa Groundwater Association and the Geothermal Heat Pump Regulation Committee (Chapter 48).
Current Projects: Studying the occurrences of arsenic in wells and groundwater as it relates to health in Cerro Gordo County. Updating GEOSAM Coal Project core logs.
Research Interests: Education; hydrogeology of Iowa's aquifers; database management; coal-mine subsidence; arsenic in Iowa’s groundwater resources; photography.
Professional Affiliations: Geological Society of Iowa; Iowa Groundwater Association; Iowa Academy of Science.


JASON VOGELGESANG, Geologist 2, Research Geologist, B.S. (The University of Iowa)
(Jason.Vogelgesang@dnr.iowa.gov)

Major Responsibilities:  Coordinate and conduct geophysical field investigations to determine subsurface geologic and hydrogeologic characteristics. Process, interpret, and present findings on electrical resistivity and electromagnetic geophysical data. Interpret geologic and hydrologic data throughout Iowa using geologic databases, field data, and GIS software. Compile geologic, hydrogeologic, and well data on aquifer systems for the Source Water Protection program and the Iowa Water Resources Management plan. Obtain, interpret, and integrate geophysical field data for Water Resources Management plan and Source Water Protection aquifer study areas. Assist with groundwater modeling efforts related to groundwater availability, quality and sustainability. Assist with management of the USGS National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation program; supervise student employees and compile geologic information. Provide assistance in management and quality control of the statewide geologic sample database, GEOSAM.
Current Projects: IGWS geophysical investigations, Iowa Water Resources Management plan, Source Water Protection program, National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation program, GEOSAM database, Geological Society of Iowa geologic outreach program.
Research Interests: Electrical resistivity and electromagnetic geophysical techniques and their relation to subsurface geologic and hydrogeologic characteristics; groundwater quantity and quality.
Professional Certifications: MSHA (Part 46) 8 hour annual refresher course (Iowa).