Our current understanding of wetlands is insufficient to assess the effects of past and future wetland loss. While knowledge of wetland hydrology is crucial, groundwater flows are often neglected or uncertain. In this paper, groundwater inflows were estimated in wetlands in southwestern Wisconsin using traditional Darcy's law calculations and three independent methods that included (1) stable isotope mass balances, (2) temperature profile modeling, and (3) numerical water balance modeling techniques. Inflows calculated using Darcy's law were lower than inflows estimated using the other approaches and ranged from 0.02 to (0.3 cm/d. Estimates obtained using the other methods generally were higher (0.1 to 1.1 cm/d) and showed similar spatial trends. An areal map of groundwater flux generated by the water balance model demonstrated that areas of both recharge and discharge exist in what is considered a regional discharge area. While each method has strengths and weaknesses, the use of more than one method can reduce uncertainty in the estimates.
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Groundwater inflow measurements in wetland systems