Coupling groundwater and riparian vegetation models to assess effects of reservoir releases

Abraham E. Springer, Julie M. Wright, Patrick B. Shafroth, Juliet Stromberg, Duncan T. Patten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although riparian areas in the arid southwestern United States are critical for maintaining species diversity, their extent and health have been declining since Euro-American settlement. The purpose of this study was to develop a methodology to evaluate the potential for riparian vegetation restoration and groundwater recharge. A numerical groundwater flow model was coupled with a conceptual riparian vegetation model to predict hydrologic conditions favorable to maintaining riparian vegetation downstream of a reservoir. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was used for this one-way coupling. Constant and seasonally varying releases from the dam were simulated using volumes anticipated to be permitted by a regional water supplier. Simulations indicated that seasonally variable releases would produce surface flow 5.4-8.5 km below the dam in a previously dry reach. Using depth to groundwater simulations from the numerical flow model with conceptual models of depths to water necessary for maintenance of riparian vegetation, the GIS analysis predicted a 5- to 6.5-fold increase in the area capable of sustaining riparian vegetation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3621-3630
Number of pages10
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume35
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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    Springer, A. E., Wright, J. M., Shafroth, P. B., Stromberg, J., & Patten, D. T. (1999). Coupling groundwater and riparian vegetation models to assess effects of reservoir releases. Water Resources Research, 35(12), 3621-3630. https://doi.org/10.1029/1999WR900233