Featured collection introduction: Connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters

Journal of the American Water Resources Association
By: , and 

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Abstract

Connectivity is a fundamental but highly dynamic property of watersheds. Variability in the types and degrees of aquatic ecosystem connectivity presents challenges for researchers and managers seeking to accurately quantify its effects on critical hydrologic, biogeochemical, and biological processes. However, protecting natural gradients of connectivity is key to protecting the range of ecosystem services that aquatic ecosystems provide. In this featured collection, we review the available evidence on connections and functions by which streams and wetlands affect the integrity of downstream waters such as large rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries. The reviews in this collection focus on the types of waters whose protections under the U.S. Clean Water Act have been called into question by U.S. Supreme Court cases. We synthesize 40+ years of research on longitudinal, lateral, and vertical fluxes of energy, material, and biota between aquatic ecosystems included within the Act's frame of reference. Many questions about the roles of streams and wetlands in sustaining downstream water integrity can be answered from currently available literature, and emerging research is rapidly closing data gaps with exciting new insights into aquatic connectivity and function at local, watershed, and regional scales. Synthesis of foundational and emerging research is needed to support science‐based efforts to provide safe, reliable sources of fresh water for present and future generations.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Featured collection introduction: Connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters
Series title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.12630
Volume 54
Issue 2
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 287
Last page 297
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