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Long-term changes in pond permanence, size, and salinity in Prairie Pothole Region wetlands: The role of groundwater-pond interaction

May 25, 2018

Study Region

Cottonwood Lake area wetlands, North Dakota, U.S.A.

Study Focus

Fluctuations in pond permanence, size, and salinity are key features of prairie-pothole wetlands that provide a variety of wetland habitats for waterfowl in the northern prairie of North America. Observation of water-level and salinity fluctuations in a semi-permanent wetland pond over a 20-year period, included periods when the wetland occasionally was dry, as well as wetter years when the pond depth and surface extent doubled while volume increased 10 times.

New hydrological insights for the study region

Compared to all other measured budget components, groundwater flow into the pond often contributed the least water (8–28 percent) but the largest amount (>90 percent) of specific solutes to the water and solute budgets of the pond. In drier years flow from the pond into groundwater represented > 10 percent of water loss, and in 1992 was approximately equal to evapotranspiration loss. Also during the drier years, export of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfate by flow from the pond to groundwater was substantial compared with previous or subsequent years, a process that would have been undetected if groundwater flux had been calculated as a net value. Independent quantification of water and solute gains and losses were essential to understand controls on water-level and salinity fluctuations in the pond in response to variable climate conditions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Long-term changes in pond permanence, size, and salinity in Prairie Pothole Region wetlands: The role of groundwater-pond interaction
DOI 10.1016/j.ejrh.2018.03.003
Authors James W. LaBaugh, Donald O. Rosenberry, David M. Mushet, Brian Neff, Richard D. Nelson, Ned H. Euliss
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies
Series Number
Index ID 70197258
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of Ground Water