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Modeling Riparian Restoration Impacts on the Hydrologic Cycle at the Babacomari Ranch, SE Arizona, USA

1
U.S. Geological Survey, Western Geographic Science Center, 520 N. Park Avenue, Ste. #102K, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
2
U.S. Geological Survey, Arizona Water Science Center, 520 N. Park Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
3
Lacher Hydrological Consulting, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
4
Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
5
BIO5 Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(2), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020381
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrologic Modelling for Water Resources and River Basin Management)
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Abstract

This paper describes coupling field experiments with surface and groundwater modeling to investigate rangelands of SE Arizona, USA using erosion-control structures to augment shallow and deep aquifer recharge. We collected field data to describe the physical and hydrological properties before and after gabions (caged riprap) were installed in an ephemeral channel. The modular finite-difference flow model is applied to simulate the amount of increase needed to raise groundwater levels. We used the average increase in infiltration measured in the field and projected on site, assuming all infiltration becomes recharge, to estimate how many gabions would be needed to increase recharge in the larger watershed. A watershed model was then applied and calibrated with discharge and 3D terrain measurements, to simulate flow volumes. Findings were coupled to extrapolate simulations and quantify long-term impacts of riparian restoration. Projected scenarios demonstrate how erosion-control structures could impact all components of the annual water budget. Results support the potential of watershed-wide gabion installation to increase total aquifer recharge, with models portraying increased subsurface connectivity and accentuated lateral flow contributions. View Full-Text
Keywords: restoration science; surface-to-groundwater; modeling; hydrologic budget; augmented recharge restoration science; surface-to-groundwater; modeling; hydrologic budget; augmented recharge
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Norman, L.M.; Callegary, J.B.; Lacher, L.; Wilson, N.R.; Fandel, C.; Forbes, B.T.; Swetnam, T. Modeling Riparian Restoration Impacts on the Hydrologic Cycle at the Babacomari Ranch, SE Arizona, USA. Water 2019, 11, 381.

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