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Article

Characterizing Groundwater Interaction with Lakes and Wetlands Using GIS Modeling and Natural Water Quality Measurements

1
WSP USA, Duluth, MN 55807, USA
2
Harold Hamm School of Geology and Geological Engineering, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA
3
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St. Paul, MN 55155, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yi Jun Xu
Water 2021, 13(7), 983; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070983
Received: 13 January 2021 / Accepted: 31 March 2021 / Published: 2 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Characterizing Groundwater - Surface Water Interaction Using GIS)
Wetlands provide many benefits, including flood attenuation, groundwater recharge, water-quality improvement, and habitat for wildlife. As their structure and functions are sensitive to changes in hydrology, characterizing the water budgets of wetlands is crucial to effective management and conservation. The groundwater component of a budget, which often controls resiliency and water quality, is difficult to estimate and can be costly, time-consuming, and invasive. This study used a GIS approach using a digital elevation model (DEM) and the elevations of lakes, wetlands, streams, and hydric soils to produce a water-table surface raster for a portion of the Itasca Moraine, Minnesota, U.S. The water-table surface was used to delineate groundwatersheds and groundwater flow paths for lakes and wetlands, and map recharge and discharge rates across the landscape. Specific conductance and pH, which depend on the hydrological processes that dominate a wetlands water budget, were measured in the field to verify this modeling technique. While the pH of surface waters varied in the study area, specific conductance increased from 16.7 to 357.5 μS/cm downgradient along groundwater flow paths, suggesting increased groundwater interaction. Our results indicate that basic GIS tools and often freely available public-domain elevation datasets can be used to map and characterize the interaction of groundwater in the water budgets of lakes and wetlands, as exemplified by the Itasca Moraine region. Combining this with grid cell-by-cell water balance provides a means to estimate recharge and discharge, thereby affording a way to quantify groundwater contribution to and from lakes and wetlands. Applied elsewhere, this cost-efficient technique can be used to assess the vulnerability of lakes and wetlands to changes in land use, groundwater development, and climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater; watershed model; Itasca Moraine; GIS; lakes; wetlands; Minnesota; digital elevation model; surface water–groundwater interaction; analytical groundwater model groundwater; watershed model; Itasca Moraine; GIS; lakes; wetlands; Minnesota; digital elevation model; surface water–groundwater interaction; analytical groundwater model
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MDPI and ACS Style

Speldrich, B.; Gerla, P.; Tschann, E. Characterizing Groundwater Interaction with Lakes and Wetlands Using GIS Modeling and Natural Water Quality Measurements. Water 2021, 13, 983. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070983

AMA Style

Speldrich B, Gerla P, Tschann E. Characterizing Groundwater Interaction with Lakes and Wetlands Using GIS Modeling and Natural Water Quality Measurements. Water. 2021; 13(7):983. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070983

Chicago/Turabian Style

Speldrich, Brianna; Gerla, Philip; Tschann, Emma. 2021. "Characterizing Groundwater Interaction with Lakes and Wetlands Using GIS Modeling and Natural Water Quality Measurements" Water 13, no. 7: 983. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070983

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