Hydrologic data and groundwater-flow simulations in the Brown Ditch Watershed, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, near Beverly Shores and Town of Pines, Indiana

Scientific Investigations Report 2015-5141
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By:

Links

Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collected data and simulated groundwater flow to increase understanding of the hydrology and the effects of drainage alterations on the water table in the vicinity of Great Marsh, near Beverly Shores and Town of Pines, Indiana. Prior land-management practices have modified drainage and caused changes in the distribution of open water, streams and ditches, and groundwater abundance and flow paths.

Collected hydrologic data indicate that the majority of water entering Great Marsh flows from the southern dune ridge beneath Town of Pines, Indiana. Groundwater flow is intercepted by Brown Ditch in the eastern portion of the study area and Derby Ditch in the western portion of the study area. A smaller amount of groundwater from the northern dune ridge beneath Beverly Shores also contributed water to Great Marsh. Continuous groundwater-level data collected indicate that the predominant north-south groundwater-flow gradients vary during the course of the year due to increased levels of precipitation or during periods of drainage obstructions. Continuous surface-water discharge and surface-water elevation were measured at three USGS streamgages, one each on Brown, Kintzele and Derby Ditches. The monthly mean discharge statistics indicate that during the period of record— June 2012 to September 2013—streamflow in Kintzele Ditch was lowest during July 2012 and highest during April 2013. In Derby Ditch, streamflow also was lowest during July 2012 and highest during April 2013.

Periods of relatively high and low groundwater levels during August 1982, March 2013, and April 2014 were examined and simulated by using MODFLOW and companion software. Results from the simulation of conditions during March 2013 include that nearly 100 percent of all water entering the area simulating Town of Pines is from recharge. Of all the water simulated to enter the eastern and western portions of Great Marsh, nearly 20 and 18 percent, respectively, flows from Town of Pines to the western and eastern portions of Great Marsh. The dune ridges beneath Town of Pines and to a lesser extent beneath Beverly Shores are a major source of recharge to the surficial aquifer and Great Marsh.

Results from the simulation of the conditions of April 2014 include that, despite increases in the amount of water entering Great Marsh due to a beaver-dam-modified hydrologic condition, there is still virtually zero simulated groundwater flow from Great Marsh to Town of Pines. The volume of water simulated to be entering the zone representing Beverly Shores decreased by 0.43 cubic foot per second from the results of the March 2013 simulation. This simulated difference in water budgets can be attributed to increased simulated recharge in Great Marsh and Town of Pines. Effects of the inclusion of the beaver dam included the increase of the simulated water table and simulated inundated area upstream of the beaver dam due to the effects of ponding surface water.

Results from the simulation scenario that includes six proposed pool-riffle control structures in Brown Ditch under the hydrologic conditions of March 2013 indicate areas inundated by water are larger, including areas just to the north of the entrance of Brown Ditch into Great Marsh, and areas north of the confluence of Brown and Kintzele Ditches.

Results from the scenario simulating the increase of the Lake Michigan water level to the historical high of May 31, 1998, showed inundated areas of Great Marsh south of Beverly Shores enlarged on both sides of Lakeshore County Road with the greatest enlargement simulated to be southeast of the intersection of Lakeshore County Road and Beverly Drive. For the scenario simulating the decrease of the Lake Michigan water level to the historical low of December 23, 2007, results show little change from the original March 2013 inundated area.

The results of this study can be used by water-resource managers to understand how surrounding ditches affect water levels in Great Marsh and other inland wetlands and residential areas. The groundwater model developed can be applied to answer questions about how alterations to the drainage system in the area affects water levels in the public and residential areas surrounding Great Marsh. The modeling methods developed in this study provide a template for other studies of groundwater flow and groundwater/surface-water interactions within the shallow surficial aquifer in northern Indiana, and in similar hydrologic settings that include surficial sand aquifers in coastal areas.

Suggested Citation

Lampe, D.C., 2015, Hydrologic data and groundwater-flow simulations in the Brown Ditch Watershed, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, near Beverly Shores and Town of Pines, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015– 5141, 97 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20155141.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Groundwater and Surface-Water Resources
  • Simulation of Groundwater Flow
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrologic data and groundwater-flow simulations in the Brown Ditch Watershed, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, near Beverly Shores and Town of Pines, Indiana
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2015-5141
DOI 10.3133/sir20155141
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Indiana Water Science Center
Description xi, 97 p.
Country United States
State Indiana
Other Geospatial Brown Ditch Watershed, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table