Hydrological, chemical, and biological characteristics of a prairie pothole wetland complex under highly variable climate conditions : the Cottonwood Lake area, east-central North Dakota

Professional Paper 1675
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Abstract

Geologic deposits in the Cottonwood Lake area consist largely of silty, clayey glacial till that contains numerous fractures and small, randomly distributed sand and gravel deposits. The sand deposits can have a substantial effect on groundwater flow between wetlands in the area and can cause some to drain while others have relatively stable inflow. Direct precipitation and runoff from snowmelt are the primary sources of water to the wetlands and evaporation accounts for the largest loss of water from the wetlands. The wetlands in the study area have a range of functions with respect to their interaction with ground water. Some of the seasonal wetlands recharge ground water and others recharge ground water and receive ground-water discharge. The semipermanent wetlands receive ground-water discharge much of the time, but some have reversals of flow between them and the groundwater system nearly every year. Ground-water flow toward the wetlands is caused by recharge in the uplands and by focused recharge near the wetland perimeters. Flow from the semipermanent wetlands to the ground-water system occurs when the wetland water levels are higher than the contiguous water table, resulting in bank storage, and when evapotranspiration directly from the ground-water system causes seepage around the wetland perimeters. Substantial climate variability during the study period caused the wetlands to range from being completely dry to having such high water levels that some of the wetlands merged to become large lakes.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrological, chemical, and biological characteristics of a prairie pothole wetland complex under highly variable climate conditions : the Cottonwood Lake area, east-central North Dakota
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 1675
ISBN 0607894318
DOI 10.3133/pp1675
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) North Dakota Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center
Description xii, 109 p.