Groundwater-Driven Wetland-Stream Connectivity in the Prairie Pothole Region: Inferences Based on Electrical Conductivity Data
Ali, G., Haque, A., Basu, N.B., Badiou, P., Wilson, H. (2017). Groundwater-Driven Wetland-Stream Connectivity in the Prairie Pothole Region: Inferences Based on Electrical Conductivity Data. Wetlands, [online] 37(4), 773-785. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13157-017-0913-5
Plain language summary
Similarities and differences in water chemistry were evaluated as a measure of how likely wetlands and a stream were to be connected by water at a study site in the Prairie Pothole Region of Manitoba. An index of connectivity was developed based on water chemistry differences and indicated that storage or water in large wetlands and runoff are important in defining when wetlands connect to the stream. Further refinement of the index is recommended.
This study examined the potential for electrical conductivity (EC) to serve as an indicator of groundwater-driven wetland-stream connectivity in the Prairie Pothole Region. Focus was on the Broughton’s Creek Watershed (Manitoba, Canada) where thirteen wetlands and a creek were monitored in 2013–2014. A connectivity index (CI), computed by incorporating EC data in a hyperbolic solute export model, identified a potential for both shallow and deep groundwater-driven wetland-stream connectivity to occur, although shallower connections were rarer. Both raw EC and CI values were strongly correlated to wetland volume capacity, indicating the importance of storage and flow generation processes for wetland-stream connectivity potential. The proposed CI was instrumental in reaching that conclusion, making it a simple yet physically-based metric of wetland behavior that should be tested in multiple environments to confirm or infirm its validity.