In 2015 the Benton SWCD cooperated with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in a pilot program monitoring DNR observation wells. The DNR has approximately 980 observation wells throughout Minnesota that are used to measure water levels in aquifers. Ten of these wells are in Benton County. The goal of this pilot program is to obtain a more accurate and timely picture of groundwater levels throughout the year. To accomplish this the DNR installed, or upgraded, data loggers in all of the DNR observation wells in Benton County.
Since the 1970’s the SWCD has been responsible for measuring water levels, and submitting them to the DNR monthly each summer, by manually measuring the distance to the groundwater with a tape measure. With the pilot program the SWCD downloads the data logger’s time series data and submits it to the DNR via the internet. This new system provides much more accurate data because the logger records the water levels hourly and can be made available more quickly. The data for the wells in Minnesota are available to the public at the following website: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/cgm/index.html