Bondville Environmental and Atmospheric Research Site - Use Policy, Illinois State Water Survey

Climate and Atmospheric Science

BEARS - Use Policy


If you are interested in locating a project at our Bondville facility, here is some information that you can use. The Bondville site has:

  • a secure location, located 4 miles from the nearest small town (rural atmosphere),
  • all year access (snow removal occurs regularly) with a paved road into the site,
  • sites for trailers or portable buildings,
  • "boardwalks" for free-standing instruments and monitors,
  • a dry, interior room with ports of the outside, available for instruments that need located inside,
  • electrical power (both 110 and 220 voltage),
  • telephone service available,
  • high-speed internet to a central antenna (the site is connected over a radio connection to the town of Bondville),
  • scheduled visits by experienced service technicians are available (daily visits are available),
  • locations for short-term projects

Permission for access to and specific measurement activities at BEARS is granted by the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS). An ISWS Scientific Coordinating Committee sets policy and operational and safety rules for BEARS users. The objectives are

  1. to insure that siting criteria for each project are met,
  2. to see that no new project will create disturbance or interference with existing monitoring,
  3. to facilitate awareness among all site users of all activities at the site,
  4. to encourage interchange of data, and
  5. to provide for maintenance and facilities development to meet the scientific needs of all on-site projects.

Mike Caughey is the Scientific Coordinator for the site and Michael C. Snider is the Site Technician. Each project PI provides the Scientific Coordinator with a detailed project description, including siting criteria and possible interferences, a summary of project objectives, and a list of the data being collected. For ongoing projects, copies of progress reports and other publications based on the work are also compiled at ISWS. Clyde Sweet coordinates requests for access to data collected at BEARS, whether from ISWS or any other on-site projects.

A chain and padlock at the site entrance controls vehicle access. There is no security fence around the site, but vandalism has not occurred in the 18 years that ISWS equipment has been on site. Each project is responsible for any equipment losses that might occur from such things as vandalism, theft, power outages, or water damage. An unpaved access road traverses the University of Illinois Foundation (UIF) farm from the county road entrance on the east and forms the southern boundary of BEARS. A short gravel road runs north into BEARS, terminating near an underground room. Both roads are maintained and kept open all year. The underground room, 14 meters in diameter, is used as an emergency shelter, equipment storage, maintenance, and staging area. All electrical power and telephone lines are underground at BEARS. The 14-acre rectangle is planted in tall fescue grass that is kept mowed to a height between 4 and 12 inches. Some agencies having monitoring equipment at BEARS periodically send their own staff to the site for maintenance and QA/QC measurements. However, ISWS staff performs routine servicing and troubleshooting for most projects.

All activities at BEARS are funded by the projects using the site. An annual BEARS user operations fee is assessed to each project to provide general site support. This general site support includes:

  • Access road maintenance including snow removal, mowing and weed control
  • Maintenance and repair of the underground room
  • Upkeep of on-site electrical power grid and telephone lines (all underground service)
  • Payment of monthly bills for one emergency telephone (in the underground room)
  • Nominal electrical usage (up to 150 Kilowatt-hours/month) for each project
  • Salary expenses for the Site Technician and Scientific Coordinator
  • Vehicle expenses

The Site technician visits the site a minimum of three times per week to provide a general inspection of the site, which can include up to a 5-minute equipment inspection (status check, tape or filter change, sensor cleaning, etc.) for any project requesting such an inspection.

Individual projects must separately fund any electrical usage and further technical services needed beyond those covered under general site support. Experience with monitoring projects at BEARS has shown that annual electrical power usage per project varies from about $100 to $2,500 or more. Those projects using pumps and heating/cooling units use a lot of electricity. Similarly, some projects incur large telephone bills. Small users of the phone and electrical services are not required to subsidize larger users. The policy on user fees was thus set so that it covers only minimal use of utilities. Phone lines for individual sites are not covered by the basic fee and need to be paid for by individual projects. The same is true for on-site equipment maintenance and troubleshooting costs: the annual fee covers only minimal and routine inspections and operating interventions. Typically, additional funding is handled either by a contract with a cooperating scientist at ISWS, or direct payment by purchase order or government credit card to the BEARS operating fund for specific utilities or services provided by ISWS.

Many BEARS project directors desire long-term commitments for the site (many years). Thus, the fee policy was also structured to provide for this longevity, and to not be dependent on ISWS grant and contract-funded projects or general resources that are not under the control of the BEARS Coordinating Committee. As of FY94, BEARS became an entirely user-funded operation.

Direct inquiries about the site to:

Mike Caughey
Illinois State Water Survey
2204 Griffith Drive
Champaign, IL 61820-7463

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Illinois State Water Survey

2204 Griffith Dr
Champaign, IL 61820-7463

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