LAWRENCE — A groundwater data specialist at the Kansas Geological Survey received the first annual KGS Outstanding Support Staff Recognition Award. The KGS is based at the University of Kansas.
Brownie Wilson, KGS water data manager, was presented the award for his contributions to research on the state’s valuable groundwater resources. In particular, he develops maps and databases from information collected on the massive High Plains aquifer, the primary source of municipal, industrial and irrigation water for much of western and central Kansas.
The High Plains aquifer, which includes the extensive Ogallala aquifer and the Equus Beds near Wichita, has experienced significant groundwater level declines over the past 60 years due to increased usage. Its longevity has become one of the most pressing environmental and economic concerns in the state.
At the KGS, Wilson works closely with colleagues in the Geohydrology Section to analyze data and develop important insights into the future of the High Plains aquifer.
"Brownie has repeatedly demonstrated an outstanding performance in pursuit of his responsibilities and is highly deserving of this recognition," said Jim Butler, geohydrology section chief. "His work has truly made a difference in helping Kansans understand the current conditions of our groundwater resources as well as their likely future state."
Wilson transforms otherwise complex data on the aquifer and related resources into maps and other accessible formats. Local groundwater management districts, government agencies, municipalities, businesses, landowners and others can use those products to plan for water usage and manage groundwater resources.
Besides producing maps and analysis, Wilson speaks on the state’s water resources to groups and conferences throughout the state. He has also authored or co-authored numerous publications related to Kansas groundwater availability, use and management.
“Brownie does a great job of providing information to all sorts of audiences about one of the state’s most important resources,” said Rex Buchanan, KGS interim director. “People throughout the state appreciate his work.”
Before coming to the KGS in 2001, Wilson was an environmental scientist at the Kansas Water Office and the Division of Water Resources at the Kansas Department of Agriculture. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography from Kansas State University. His professional interests include geographic information systems (GIS) development, environmental database modeling, analysis of Kansas water rights and water-resource management.
Wilson was presented a cash award and certificate in a December recognition ceremony. The award, established in 2013, will be presented annually to a support staff member who has excelled in such areas as innovation, problem solving and leadership.
The Kansas Geological Survey, a nonregulatory research and service division of the University of Kansas, studies and provides information on the state's geologic resources, particularly rocks and minerals, oil and gas, and groundwater.