Groundwater connectivity of upland-embedded wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region

Wetlands
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Abstract

Groundwater connections from upland-embedded wetlands to downstream waterbodies remain poorly understood. In principle, water from upland-embedded wetlands situated high in a landscape should flow via groundwater to waterbodies situated lower in the landscape. However, the degree of groundwater connectivity varies across systems due to factors such as geologic setting, hydrologic conditions, and topography. We use numerical models to evaluate the conditions suitable for groundwater connectivity between upland-embedded wetlands and downstream waterbodies in the prairie pothole region of North Dakota (USA). Results show groundwater connectivity between upland-embedded wetlands and other waterbodies is restricted when these wetlands are surrounded by a mounding water table. However, connectivity exists among adjacent upland-embedded wetlands where water–table mounds do not form. In addition, the presence of sand layers greatly facilitates groundwater connectivity of upland-embedded wetlands. Anisotropy can facilitate connectivity via groundwater flow, but only if it becomes unrealistically large. These findings help consolidate previously divergent views on the significance of local and regional groundwater flow in the prairie pothole region.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Groundwater connectivity of upland-embedded wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region
Series title Wetlands
DOI 10.1007/s13157-017-0956-7
Volume 38
Issue 1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 13 p.
First page 51
Last page 63
Country United States
State North Dakota
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