In Napoleon, North Dakota, and areas surrounding nearby North and West McKenna Lake, a rising water table is causing damage to infrastructure and agricultural land to be taken out of production. Additionally, there are flooding concerns related to the high water levels of McKenna Lake and other concerns that the outlet and associated culverts may be of insufficient capacity. Barr was hired to find a long-term solution.
The shallow groundwater system and surface hydrology of North and West McKenna Lake and the surrounding watershed are interrelated and well-connected. The lakes sit atop the Napoleon Aquifer and are fed by surface-water tributaries as well as a tributary melt-water channel. Potential solutions to the problem may involve drainage or additional storage of surface water, groundwater drainage or pumping, or a combination modifying both the surface-water and groundwater systems. To accomplish the objectives of the study, Barr developed an integrated surface-water and groundwater model of the entire hydrologic system using the GSFLOW modeling software developed by the U.S. Geological Survey. This modeling approach allows the Logan County Water Resource Board to compare alternatives and their effectiveness at addressing groundwater and lake-level issues before investing in a construction project. Additionally, the modeling provides a basis for complying with the regulatory framework in North Dakota, particularly related to the rights of existing water appropriators.
Vice President Civil Engineer
Water Resources Engineer