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Hydrologic landscapes are multiples or variations of fundamental hydrologic landscape units. A fundamental hydrologic landscape unit is defined on the basis of land-surface form, geology, and climate. The basic land-surface form of a fundamental hydrologic landscape unit is an upland separated from a lowland by an intervening steeper slope. Fundamental hydrologic landscape units have a complete hydrologic system consisting of surface runoff, ground-water flow, and interaction with atmospheric water. By describing actual landscapes in terms of land-surface slope, hydraulic properties of soils and geologic framework, and the difference between precipitation and evapotranspiration, the hydrologic system of actual landscapes can be conceptualized in a uniform way. This conceptual framework can then be the foundation for design of studies and data networks, syntheses of information on local to national scales, and comparison of process research across small study units in a variety of settings. The Crow Wing River watershed in central Minnesota is used as an example of evaluating stream discharge in the context of hydrologic landscapes. Lake-research watersheds in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Nebraska are used as an example of using the hydrologic-landscapes concept to evaluate the effect of ground water on the degree of mineralization and major-ion chemistry of lakes that lie within ground-water flow systems.
Additional Publication Details
The concept of hydrologic landscapes
Journal of the American Water Resources Association