Estimating Seepage Rates of Streams, Ponds, and Lakes at the Camas National Wildlife Refuge

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The Camas National Wildlife Refugeprovides essential resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl including migratory birds. A variety of other animals, large and small, are found there, too. Since the refuge was established in 1937, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been responsible for managing this vital resource.

Traditionally, Camas Creek and groundwater inflow have fed the wetlands that birds and other wildlife rely on. Recent drought and changes to irrigation practices have resulted in lower groundwater levels and a loss of wetlands. To compensate, the FWS has increasingly relied on pumping groundwater to fill these wetlands.

This management technique is expensive and is not a viable long-term water management strategy for the USFWS.

We collected and analyzed new data to quantify seepage rates for selected stream sections, ponds, and lakes at the refuge. Camas National Wildlife Refuge managesa will use this information to evaluate alternative water management strategies.