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Modeling riparian restoration impacts on the hydrologic cycle at the Babacomari Ranch, SE Arizona, USA

February 25, 2019

This paper describes coupling field experiments with surface and groundwater modeling to investigate rangelands of SE Arizona, USA using erosion-control structures to augment shallow and deep aquifer recharge. We collected field data to describe the physical and hydrological properties before and after gabions (caged riprap) were installed in an ephemeral channel. The modular finite-difference flow model is applied to simulate the amount of increase needed to raise groundwater levels. We used the average increase in infiltration measured in the field and projected on site, assuming all infiltration becomes recharge, to estimate how many gabions would be needed to increase recharge in the larger watershed. A watershed model was then applied and calibrated with discharge and 3D terrain measurements, to simulate flow volumes. Findings were coupled to extrapolate simulations and quantify long-term impacts of riparian restoration. Projected scenarios demonstrate how erosion-control structures could impact all components of the annual water budget. Results support the potential of watershed-wide gabion installation to increase total aquifer recharge, with models portraying increased subsurface connectivity and accentuated lateral flow contributions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Modeling riparian restoration impacts on the hydrologic cycle at the Babacomari Ranch, SE Arizona, USA
DOI 10.3390/w11020381
Authors Laura M. Norman, James B. Callegary, Laurel Lacher, Natalie R. Wilson, Chloé Fandel, Brandon T. Forbes, Tyson Swetnam
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water
Series Number
Index ID 70202362
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center