USGS scientist wins national award

Idaho Falls hydrologist Jason Fisher is receiving national attention for his work in monitoring underground water flows.

Fisher, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey/Idaho National Laboratory Project office, was awarded best groundwater report of 2013 for the development of software that improves the efficiency and accuracy of long-term groundwater monitoring of the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer.

The software helps determine which wells to exclude from the monitoring network because they add little beneficial data.

“It’s more efficient by identifying wells that are providing redundant data,” Fisher said. “By removing them from the network, the hope is this will create monetary savings … that can be put back into the network by digging new wells or (improving monitoring) at other existing wells.”

Fisher’s office monitors sections of eastern’s Idaho’s aquifer to track water flow, possible environmental contaminants and the water-level.

Fisher created the open-source software specifically for the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer, but he said the program is very adaptable.

“This isn’t site specific,” Fisher said. “A huge aspect of this study is it’s reproducibility … the techniques built into this are general enough … that it could be applied to other monitoring networks throughout the nation or the world.”