State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011NY162B
Title: Reach-Scale Patterns in Hyporheic Exchange at Pristine, Degraded and Restored Rivers
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/29/2012
Congressional District: 25
Focus Categories: Solute Transport, Groundwater, Hydrology
Keywords: hyporheic zone; stream restoration
Principal Investigators: Endreny, Theodore; Kroll, Chuck (SUNY ESF)
Federal Funds: $ 20,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 41,957
Abstract: New York is home to an estimated 100 natural channel design (NCD) restoration projects, with 10s of NCD projects planned for the 2011 season. To achieve water quality and fishery enhancement goals NY has paid more than $30 million for NCD projects (i.e.,restoration reaches extend 100s to 1000s of meters at a cost of $200 to $3000 per reach meter). Despite a national debate on the efficacy of NCD and informal observations that 30% of NY projects may have partly failed, NY has had no systematic and scientifically accepted assessment of NCD restoration performance. An assessment of NCD performance will help justify continued funding or modify project approaches. There is a research need to assess the performance of NCD and determine whether the NCD projects are meeting river water quality and fishery goals. The scientific community wants an assessment to document, inform and advance river restoration. We propose to use transient storage modeling (TSM) and residence time distribution (RTD) analysis to assess NCD performance. TSM and RTD analysis quantifies components of hyporheic exchange flux (HEF), where HEF is the mixing of water and solutes through the river and riverbed and an indicator of water quality and fishery functions. Our research statistically samples HEF metrics in NYs population of NCD restored reaches, and compares them with reaches classified as degraded (i.e., in need of restoration) and pristine (i.e., not in need of restoration, also called reference reaches).

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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