Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014MT287B

Student Fellowship: Thresholds of Hydrologic Connectivity: Shallow Water Table Development at the Hillslope Scale

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $2,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $880

Principal Investigators: Emily Clark

Abstract: Improving forest and water resource management in headwater basins necessitates a greater understanding of relationships among topography, soil water redistribution, and runoff production. In semi-arid mountainous regions, hydrologic connectivity represents soil zone saturation and shallow groundwater development, linking uplands to stream networks. Hillslope contributing area and geometry have been identified as first order control for lateral soil water redistribution and the degree of hydrologic connectivity to streams. This project will investigate spatiotemporal patterns of transient saturation at the soil-bedrock interface and identify hillslope morphologic characteristics that regulate hollow storage, shallow water table development, and duration of hillslope-riparian-stream connectivity. Linkages between hillslope saturation dynamics and runoff generation will be established through empirical analysis of soil properties, water table time series and hydrograph response.