Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jim Goeke & the Ogallala Aquifer

The High Plains Ogallala Aquifer has been in the national news recently with the proposal by Trans-Canada to build a Keystone XL pipeline through an area in Nebraska overlying the aquifer. The aquifer extends over several states with Nebraska having the greatest depths of saturated thickness. This picture was taken last year at a Groundwater Guardian dinner. It includes: Jim Goeke, Tony, Elaine and Dayle Williamson. Jim retired this past spring from the University of Nebraska where he was a professor in the School of Natural Resources. He came to UNL in 1970 and is known as "Mr. Water".  As a hydrogeologist, Dr. Goeke gathered data for modeling unconfined aquifers in central and western Nebraska. Elaine and I consider him an old friend dating back to the early 1980's when I was working with Dayle Williamson at the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. On one occasion Jim escorted Elaine, Dayle and I on a tour in the Sandhills where we saw places that few people have the privilege of visiting. Jim has testified at public hearings recommending the rerouting of the XL pipeline away from the Ogallala Aquifer. Those of us who have studied the Sandhills appreciate the fragile nature of the vegetative cover and hope the National Decision Makers will respect Dr. Goeke's excellent knowledge of the Aquifer and accept his recommendations.

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