Ground-water flow patterns and water budget of a bottomland forested wetland, Black Swamp, eastern Arkansas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4192




The U.S. Geological Survey, working in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, collected surface-water and ground-water data from 119 wells and 13 staff gages from September 1989 to September 1992 to describe ground-water flow patterns and water budget in the Black Swamp, a bottomland forested wetland in eastern Arkansas. The study area was between two streamflow gaging stations located about 30.5 river miles apart on the Cache River. Ground-water flow was from northwest to southeast with some diversion toward the Cache River. Hydraulic connection between the surface water and the alluvial aquifer is indicated by nearly equal changes in surface-water and ground-water levels near the Cache River. Diurnal fluctuations of hydraulic head ranged from more than 0 to 0.38 feet and were caused by evapotranspiration. Changes in hydraulic head of the alluvial aquifer beneath the wetland lagged behind stage fluctuations and created the potential for changes in ground-water movement. Differences between surface-water levels in the wetland and stage of the Cache River created a frequently occurring local ground-water flow condition in which surface water in the wetland seeped into the upper part of the alluvial aquifer and then seeped into the Cache River. When the Cache River flooded the wetland, ground water consistently seeped to the surface during falling surface-water stage and surface water seeped into the ground during rising surface-water stage. Ground-water flow was a minor component of the water budget, accounting for less than 1 percent of both inflow and outflow. Surface-water drainage from the study area through diversion canals was not accounted for in the water budget and may be the reason for a surplus of water in the budget. Even though ground-water flow volume is small compared to other water budget components, ground-water seepage to the wetland surface may still be vital to some wetland functions.

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USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water flow patterns and water budget of a bottomland forested wetland, Black Swamp, eastern Arkansas
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center [distributor],
v, 71 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.