EPA Science Inventory

Hydrologic connectivity between geographically isolated wetlands and surface water systems: A review of select modeling methods

Citation:

Golden, H., C. Lane, D. Amatya, K. Bandilla, H. Raanan Kiperwas, Chris Knightes, AND H. Ssegane. Hydrologic connectivity between geographically isolated wetlands and surface water systems: A review of select modeling methods. ENVIRONMENTAL MODELLING & SOFTWARE. Elsevier Science, New York, NY, 53(1):190-206, (2014).

Description:

Rulings in 2001 and 2006 by the United States Supreme Court concerning the protection of Geographically Isolated Wetlands (GIWs) unveiled a critical area of research: quantifying the extent of potential hydrologic connectivity of GIWs to navigable waters and their effects at a variety of watershed scales. Although such work is imperative for future policy and decision making, few long-term data sets exist that can sufficiently elucidate these connections across diverse watersheds. We explore examples of potential mechanistic modeling tools that could be innovatively applied to further advance scientific understanding concerning: (1) The extent to which hydrologic connections between GIWs and navigable waters exist, and (2) How these connections affect surface water fluxes at the scale of watersheds. Different modeling approaches involve a variety of domain and process conceptualizations, and numerical approximations for GIW-related questions. We describe here selected models that require only limited modifications to model the interaction of GIWs and other surface waters. Determining the modeling approach necessary depends on the spatial scale and physiographic setting of the GIWs and on the type of question that the modeling is expected to answer. However coupled surface water-groundwater approaches exhibit the most promise for characterizing GIW connectivity under a variety of flow conditions. We also highlight current trends and future directions in modeling hydrologic connectivity of GIWs for research, policy, and management purposes. Developments in the related disciplines of remote sensing, hillslope and wetland hydrology, empirical modeling, and tracer studies will assist in advancing current mechanistic modeling approaches to most accurately elucidate connectivity of GIWs to surface waters and the effects of GIWs on downstream systems at the watershed scale.

Purpose/Objective:

Rulings in 2001 and 2006 by the United States Supreme Court concerning the protection of Geographically Isolated Wetlands (GIWs) revealed a scientific gap: understanding the extent of potential hydrologic connectivity of GIWs to navigable waters and their effects at a variety of watershed scales. This paper describes select examples of mechanistic modeling approaches that could be innovatively applied with minimal modifications (e.g., altering how the model is parameterized or linking to a separate model) to further advance scientific understanding concerning: (1) The extent to which hydrologic and hydraulic connections exist between GIWs and surface waters and (2) How these connections affect surface water fluxes - and consequently contaminant fluxes - at the watershed scale.

URLs/Downloads:

j.envsoft.2013.12.004   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 01/03/2014
Completion Date: 01/03/2014
Record Last Revised: 09/24/2014
Record Created: 01/03/2014
Record Released: 01/03/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 265935

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ECOLOGICAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH DIVISION

ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH BRANCH