In-stream geomorphic structures as drivers of hyporheic exchange


Journal Article

[1] Common in-stream geomorphic structures such as debris dams and steps can drive hyporheic exchange in streams. Exchange is important for ecological stream function, and restoring function is a goal of many stream restoration projects, yet the connection between in-stream geomorphic form, hydrogeologic setting, and hyporheic exchange remains inadequately characterized. We used the models HEC-RAS, MODFLOW, and MODPATH to simulate coupled surface and subsurface hydraulics in a gaining stream containing a single in-stream geomorphic structure and to systematically evaluate the impact of fundamental characteristics of the structure and its hydrogeologic setting on induced exchange. We also conducted a field study to support model results. Model results indicated that structure size, background groundwater discharge rate, and sediment hydraulic conductivity are the most important factors determining the magnitude of induced hyporheic exchange, followed by geomorphic structure type, depth to bedrock, and channel slope. Model results indicated channel-spanning structures were more effective at driving hyporheic flow than were partially spanning structures, and weirs were more effective than were steps. Across most structure types, downwelling flux rate increased linearly with structure size, yet hyporheic residence time exhibited nonlinear behavior, increasing quickly with size at low structure sizes and declining thereafter. Important trends in model results were observed at the field site and also interpreted using simple hydraulic theory, thereby supporting the modeling approach and clarifying underlying processes. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hester, ET; Doyle, MW

Published Date

  • March 1, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 3

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0043-1397

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1029/2006WR005810

Citation Source

  • Scopus