by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation
|Jim Goeke at the Platte River near North Platte, 2002|
Jim Goeke said he always knew he wanted to be a scientist, but when asked why he chose hydrogeology, his answer was "Thirst." Fall football practices and games throughout high school and college made him appreciate the countless bottles of water needed to sustain him.
Years later, Jim would become one of the foremost experts on Nebraska's groundwater. He was part of the founding of The Groundwater Foundation in 1985, and last week was elected to the Foundation's board of directors.
"The Groundwater Foundation is thrilled to have Jim on our board," said Groundwater Foundation President Jane Griffin. "As a hydrogeologist, His vast groundwater knowledge, expertise, and experience will be invaluable to the Foundation's mission."
Jim joined the University of Nebraska in 1970, after earning a Bachelors Degree from the University of Wisconsin and Masters Degree from Colorado State University. As a University of Nebraska professor and proud member of the University's Conservation and Survey Division (CSD, the state's geological, water, and soil survey), Jim was responsible for the CSD/U.S. Geological Survey test hole drilling program to delineate the Ogallala Aquifer. Over 1,100 test holes later, he has an intimate familiarity with the Ogallala formation and its water riches.
According to his biography from the University's School of Natural Resources, Jim's main research interests dealt with groundwater and groundwater management, particularly under conditions of scarcity. He worked to gather data to model unconfined aquifers in the central Platte region and stream-aquifer research in the Republican River Valley. He served as the University's liaison to the Nebraska Well Drillers Association, and worked with USGS on the High Plains Regional Aquifer System Analysis (RASA) and the High Plains National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA).
Jim retired from the University in 2011 and became a professor emeritus.
Jim has been active in education and outreach, given countless presentations about Nebraska's groundwater to schools and community groups, and has a long history of involvement with The Groundwater Foundation. In 2001, he received the Maurice Kremer Groundwater Achievement Award from The Groundwater Foundation, among his many accolades.