Project Title

Quantifying climatic controlled variation of groundwater recharge with a water budget approach for isolated ridgetops in the Daniel Boone National Forest

Presenter Hometown

Williamsburg, KY

Major

Geology

Department

Geosciences

Degree

Undergraduate

Mentor

Dr. Jonathan M. Malzone

Mentor Department

Geosciences

Abstract

Ridgetop wetlands are pools of water at relatively high-elevation, and they are an important hydrologic system in Eastern Kentucky. They are often geographically isolated and may be the only source of groundwater storage on a ridge, which can sustain forest health during drought. Total groundwater reserves are presently unknown, and observation of ridgetop wetlands has shown significant variation between seasonal wetting and drying times. The research objective was to map ridgetop groundwater availability by creating water budget models for different regions of the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF), which can demonstrate the influence climactic factors have on the amount of groundwater available to wetlands. Primary climactic data was collected at a daily time scale from the PRISM Climate Group database for 23 sites across the DBNF for an 11-year period. With these datasets, we constructed a water budget which calculated the total amount of water available for potential groundwater recharge after accounting for tree canopy interception (revised Gash model), runoff (curve number method), and evapotranspiration (Turc method). Precipitation amount and intensity vary due to latitude as well as proximity to man-made lakes, which cause variation in the budgets. The southeast corner of the DBNF showed .49 mm more water available per day than the driest location found in the east-central region. This yields an average difference of ~17 cm/yr. between the two regions. Since much of this difference comes during the spring when the ridgetops are recharging, there is a significant difference in the amount of water available between locations.

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Quantifying climatic controlled variation of groundwater recharge with a water budget approach for isolated ridgetops in the Daniel Boone National Forest

Ridgetop wetlands are pools of water at relatively high-elevation, and they are an important hydrologic system in Eastern Kentucky. They are often geographically isolated and may be the only source of groundwater storage on a ridge, which can sustain forest health during drought. Total groundwater reserves are presently unknown, and observation of ridgetop wetlands has shown significant variation between seasonal wetting and drying times. The research objective was to map ridgetop groundwater availability by creating water budget models for different regions of the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF), which can demonstrate the influence climactic factors have on the amount of groundwater available to wetlands. Primary climactic data was collected at a daily time scale from the PRISM Climate Group database for 23 sites across the DBNF for an 11-year period. With these datasets, we constructed a water budget which calculated the total amount of water available for potential groundwater recharge after accounting for tree canopy interception (revised Gash model), runoff (curve number method), and evapotranspiration (Turc method). Precipitation amount and intensity vary due to latitude as well as proximity to man-made lakes, which cause variation in the budgets. The southeast corner of the DBNF showed .49 mm more water available per day than the driest location found in the east-central region. This yields an average difference of ~17 cm/yr. between the two regions. Since much of this difference comes during the spring when the ridgetops are recharging, there is a significant difference in the amount of water available between locations.