Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017KY265B

The ecological importance of perched aquifers and their hydrologcial connectivity to ridge top ephemeral wetlands in Daniel Boone National Forest

Institute: Kentucky
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Jonathan Malzone

Abstract: The investigators have recently identified ephemeral wetland-aquifer systems on ridge tops in the Daniel Boone National Forest that serve as important ecosystems preserving native plant and amphibian biodiversity in Kentucky. This type of ecosystem is threatened across the United States due to lack of regulation, human disturbance, and climate change. The groundwater dynamics of ridge top ephemeral wetlands have not been well studied. Because the groundwater dynamics of ephemeral wetland-aquifer systems control key environmental variables such as drought resistance and hydroperiod, it is imperative that the importance of groundwater be quantified. The objective of this research is to quantify the ecological role of aquifers connected to ephemeral wetlands in Daniel Boone National Forest by delineating the temporal extent of connected aquifers, quantifying the groundwater surface water exchange rate between wetland and aquifer and quantifying the evapotranspiration rate of groundwater.