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Effects of wetlands creation on groundwater flow

January 1, 1991

Changes in groundwater flow were observed near four Experimental Wetland Areas (EWAs) constructed along a reach of the Des Plaines River in northeastern Illinois. These changes were observed during monthly monitoring of groundwater elevation in nested piezometers and shallow observation wells before and after the wetlands were filled with water. A numerical model was calibrated with observed data and used to estimate seepage from the wetlands into the Des Plaines River. After the wetlands became operational, groundwater levels in adjacent wells increased by about 0.5m, while water levels in wells distant from the wetlands decreased. The increase in groundwater levels near the wetlands is a result of seepage from the wetlands. Numerical predictions of seepage from the wetlands are 60-150 m3 day-1 for two wetlands situated over sand and gravel and less than 1 m3 day-1 for two wetlands situated over clayey till. The difference in seepage rates is attributed to two factors. First, the hydraulic conductivity of the sand and gravel unit is greater than that of the till, and thus there is less mounding and a greater capacity for transmitting water beneath the wetlands overlying this deposit. Secondly, the wetlands located over till are groundwater flow-through ponds, whereas the wetlands over the sand and gravel are primarily groundwater recharge areas. The model was used to estimate that seepage from the wetlands will double groundwater discharge into the Des Plaines River and a tributary relative to pre-operational discharge from the study area. Overall, the wetlands have acted as a constant head boundary, stabilizing groundwater flow patterns. ?? 1991.

Publication Year 1991
Title Effects of wetlands creation on groundwater flow
Authors B.R. Hensel, M.V. Miller
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Hydrology
Index ID 70016390
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse