Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018CO344B

Investigating Bi-Directional Water Exchanges Across Intact and Degraded Floodplains

Institute: Colorado
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $4,934 Total Non-Federal Funds: $2,566

Principal Investigators: Tim Covino

Abstract: Increasingly, connectivity between rivers and their floodplains has been identified as a key provider of beneficial ecosystem services. Human activities have caused widespread floodplain disconnection and generated a need for restoration efforts that improve floodplain connectivity and function. This connectivity is often quantified as the bi-directional exchange of water between a river and its adjacent riparian corridor. This study seeks to improve quantification of the spatial and temporal variability of these exchanges across both intact and degraded floodplains. Exchanges will be measured through continuous stream and groundwater monitoring and by the use of salt tracer tests that quantify both gross and net water exchanges at sub-reach scales. Hydro-geomorphic, geospatial and ecologic variables controlling these exchanges will be investigated in order to develop redictive metrics of connectivity that can be utilized at larger scales than allowed for by tracer injections. These efforts aim to both support concurrent work investigating cumulative regional impacts of river-floodplain connectivity and provide tools that assist in the development and assessment of river-floodplain restoration efforts.