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A hydrologic landscapes perspective on groundwater connectivity of depressional wetlands

December 21, 2019
Research into processes governing the hydrologic connectivity of depressional wetlands has advanced rapidly in recent years. Nevertheless, a need persists for broadly applicable, non-site-specific guidance to facilitate further research. Here, we explicitly use the hydrologic landscapes theoretical framework to develop broadly applicable conceptual knowledge of depressional-wetland hydrologic connectivity. We used a numerical model to simulate the groundwater flow through five generic hydrologic landscapes. Next, we inserted depressional wetlands into the generic landscapes and repeated the modeling exercise. The results strongly characterize groundwater connectivity from uplands to lowlands as being predominantly indirect. Groundwater flowed from uplands and most of it was discharged to the surface at a concave-upward break in slope, possibly continuing as surface water to lowlands. Additionally, we found that groundwater connectivity of the depressional wetlands was primarily determined by the slope of the adjacent water table. However, we identified certain arrangements of landforms that caused the water table to fall sharply and not follow the surface contour. Finally, we synthesize our findings and provide guidance to practitioners and resource managers regarding the management significance of indirect groundwater discharge and the effect of depressional wetland groundwater connectivity on pond permanence and connectivity. 
Publication Year 2020
Title A hydrologic landscapes perspective on groundwater connectivity of depressional wetlands
DOI 10.3390/w12010050
Authors Brian P. Neff, Donald O. Rosenberry, Scott G. Leibowitz, David M. Mushet, Heather E. Golden, Mark C. Rains, Renee Brooks, Charles R. Lane
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water
Index ID 70215153
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis; WMA - Earth System Processes Division